Pandemic puts pressure on conservation

24 September 2020 | Environment

STEFFI BALZAR

WINDHOEK



The German organisation for international cooperation, GIZ, has granted financial support to 25 conservancies since May, as part of its Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) project.

According to GIZ, the beneficiaries are communities most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in various conservancies, mainly due to the slump in tourism. The CBNRM project is managed by the ministry of environment, forestry and tourism in partnership with GIZ on behalf of the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development.

“The CBNRM project provided around N$6.8 million for the conservation relief, recovery and resilience facility (CRRRF) of the tourism ministry to directly support nature conservation,” GIZ said in a statement.

Since May, the funds have been paid out to the conservancies every quarter over a period of a year. The CRRRF ensures that communities in conservation areas can continue with their activities.

The aim is to secure jobs, reduce human-wildlife conflict, maintain anti-poaching measures and improve water infrastructure.

According to GIZ, the conservancies that received emergency aid from the CRRRF should be divided into three categories: Conservation areas that have lost their main source of income due to the slump in tourism; conservation areas that have not reported any expenditures in the past three years, but live in proximity to protected species (rhinos, lions and elephants) and have reported human-wildlife conflict; and conservancies that do not fall into either of these categories, but are assigned particular importance for the protection of biological diversity.



60% of Namibians dependent

“Approximately 230 000 people live in conservancies in Namibia and are crucial for the protection of wildlife and the generation of income for rural communities,” GIZ said.

At least 60% of Namibians are dependent on the use of natural resources for their livelihood. “In 2018, conservancies created more than 4 900 jobs, with most of the employees working as game rangers or in tourism,” GIZ said. Covid-19 wiped out these sources of income for the time being, which necessitated this urgent action.

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