Namibia Committed to Biodiversity Conservation

Over the past five years the government has invested an average of about 2 percent of its total expenditure in biodiversity conservation with the aim to safeguard and maintain the health of the national ecosystem at all costs.

About 70 percent of the Namibian population depends directly on natural resources for their livelihoods – income, food, grazing land, medicinal plants, animal products, fuel and shelter.

Hence, the government remains committed to the conservation of healthy ecosystems and wishes that the 2 percent spent over the last five years will be increased with the assistance of the newly launched Resource Mobilisation for Biodiversity Conservation (ResMob), a first of its kind project.

Launching the project on Wednesday the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said quantifying the value of biodiversity and nature to the economy would be a powerful tool to assist government in this regard.

He said it is not only the preserve of government to mobilise resources for biodiversity conservation, adding that the activities of the private sector through the consumption of water and electricity alone often negatively affect the environment.

Therefore, Shifeta called on all captains of industry also to help government by increasing their contributions to biodiversity management.

Ecosystems are being increasingly threatened and degraded by unsustainable practices, such as mining, over-fishing, over-grazing, deforestation and the inefficient use of water, while climate change is expected to intensify the country’s existing vulnerability to droughts and floods. These all have substantial impacts on the economic potential of rural areas and the livelihoods of people and are possible serious barriers to development.

Meanwhile, Kauna Schroder, Coordinator for Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Management in the ministry highlighted the importance of the project among key stakeholders to raise awareness of biodiversity conservation.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in partnership with GIZ – commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety – is jointly implementing the ResMob project.

It is expected the project will support and complement the activities of the environmental economic divisions in their attempts to put a value on Namibia’s natural capital and ingrate these values into national accounting systems.

This will aid Namibia in integrating biodiversity in planning for development, poverty alleviation, land use, sustainable use of natural resources and climate resilience.

It also aims to result in a cabinet-approved resource mobilisation strategy for biodiversity conservation.

Namibia launched its first National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP1) in 2001, as part of its efforts to conserve biodiversity.

Although this acted as an important tool for biodiversity financing, the NBSAP review found that implementation had been limited in some areas due to funding constraints.

The overarching aim of ResMob is to improve Namibia’s capacity to mobilise resources for biodiversity conservation, specifically to enable it to implement the objectives outlined in NBSAP2.

Source : New Era