Namibia scoops another global award

02 February 2015 | Tourism

Namibia’s conservation success story has bagged yet another international award. The country ended joint second with Turkey at the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism. Amsterdam won first prize. The UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism, held on January 28, are the flagship awards for the global tourism sector, recognising knowledge creation, dissemination and innovative solutions. The awards recognised 14 finalists’ organisations from 12 countries that have led innovative tourism initiatives in public policy and governance, enterprises, non-governmental organisations and research and technology. Namibia was a finalist in the non-governmental organisations category. The country received an award for Conserving Wildlife and Empowering Communities in Namibia, thanks to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. The UNWTO Award winners were chosen and evaluated by an international jury committee formed by tourism policy makers, practitioners, academia and previous UNWTO Award laureates. According to a media release by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) partners with local non-government organisations, the government and the tourism private sector to bring income to rural communities and empower Namibians to manage and benefit from their wildlife. “WWF promotes Namibia as a conservation travel destination attracting conscientious travellers. This award must be seen in the context in which WWF Namibia operates,” the ministry says. Namibia’s success story comes from its programme for community-based conservation of wildlife. The Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme has helped the country to set the scene for a conservation strategy. According to the ministry the sustainable use of wildlife resources is the result of good conservation and good wildlife management. “Today the Namibian efforts towards conservation are a global success story that echoes across the continents and is seen as an example of how, by commitment, dedication and community empowerment, a nation and its biodiversity base can be transformed, leading to the greatest wildlife recovery story ever told.” The Namibian Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme is now widely regarded as an innovative and successful people-oriented approach to conservation. “We have become recognised as a leader in this field. We have restored the link between conservation and rural development by enabling communal areas farmers to derive a direct income from the sustainable use of wildlife and tourism activities,” the ministry said. WINDHOEK ELLANIE SMIT