Getting climate change smart

Conservancies in the far north of the country will benefit from a new project which will assist in preparing communities for the impact of climate change and make conservancies more self-sufficient.

26 April 2018 | Environment

The Oshana governor, Clemens Kashuupulwa, has welcomed the climate smart conservation project which is being implemented by the Namibia Development Trust (NDT) at community-based organisations in the north-central area of the country.

With N$4.3 million from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the NDT is implementing a governance and smart climate project to nine CBOs in the Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Omusati regions through to December this year.

The project is aimed at building capacity in community-based conservancies and forests by making them self-reliant through the implementation of climate change smart agricultural interventions. At the project launch at Ondangwa last week, Kashuupulwa lauded the initiative saying it will help communities to respond smartly to climate change.

“Climate change has negatively affected the lives of our communities. Recently we experienced a long severe drought which has negatively affected the farmers in our regions. Currently the flooding in some parts of the north is another challenge. I am informed that the project we are launching today will assist communities to respond smartly to climate change by implementing climate change smart agricultural interventions,” Kashuupulwa said.

Speaking at same occasion, the NDT's executive director Ronny Dempers said they would like to see community-based organisations that are capable and able to manage themselves and become fully self-sustaining.

“What has attracted us to work with conservancies and community forests is the enabling environment created by our government which has given birth to conservancies and community forests. NDT is also part of a family of practitioners that are promoting the Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM),” Dempers said.

He said CBNRM is an incentive-based approach which relies on the principle that communities will look after their resources as they benefit from them directly.

He said the project is aimed at strengthening the ability of the six north-central conservancies and three community forests to meet the requirements of environment and agricultural ministries, to enhance the income generating opportunities of these conservancies and to reduce community vulnerability. Other targets include identifying mitigating measures against human-wildlife conflict and promoting and strengthening integration between community forests and conservancies in the north-central areas.

“There exists a strong willingness and commitment to conserve natural resources but people, even those employed by the conservancies and community forests, are doing this voluntarily because the conservancies and community forests are not generating enough to be able to pay the allowances to these staff members. What has also been highlighted in the conflicting approach is the promotion of different land uses, for example community forests and small-scale farming in some parts,” he said.

The nine beneficiaries include six communal conservancies including King Nehale in Oshikoto, Iipumbu Ya Tshilongo in Oshana, Uukwaludhi and Uukolonkadhi conservancies in Omusati and Okongo in Ohangwena. The three community forests of Uukolonkadhi, Okongo and Omufituwekuta are also included.

Kashuupulwa urged beneficiaries to jealously guard the knowledge, skills and the empowerment which they will gain from the project.

“More importantly go and actively roll out the implementation and assist our government to deliver quality services through guided initiatives, policies and laws that you have developed,” Kashuupulwa said.

He also urged all the development partners involved to professionally execute the project and ensure that conservancies and community forests are better shaped to strengthen their institutional ability and smartly adapt to climate change.

ILENI NANDJATO

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