Community conservancies urged to develop accountability

Ongwediva-Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has urged community conservancies to develop accountability and good governance for development and operation.

Shifeta said that developing accountability in conservancies is one of the most important aspects of conservancy development.

He was speaking during a meeting of the Regional Conservancy Chairpersons Forum for the north and central regions at Ongwediva yesterday.

The minister said community conservancies are expected to contribute benefits to their members through the utilisation of wildlife and tourism development in their areas.

He said the ministry is concerned there is no equitable benefit to members in some conservancies.

We re now addressing the issue of good governance and compliance with constitutional and benefit distribution plans.

He said in order for a conservancy to serve the interests of local residents the conservancy committee needs to be accountable to residents.

Accountability means the committee cannot take whatever decisions it wants to. It must ensure its decisions have the support of the majority of residents, he elaborated.

He said if the committee consistently takes decisions that are not in the interest of residents, then members must be able to take appropriate action against the committee.

Shifeta said that decisions taken by the committee must be open and transparent, the finances well managed, and there is no corruption and conflict of interest in decision-making and distribution of benefits.

Poor management of finances in some conservancies is a worrying concern and needs to be improved now, he said.

The minister said conservancies need to have mechanisms in place to reduce the level of human-wildlife conflict to ensure that benefits of conservation management far outweigh the costs and build on significant successes in managing human-wildlife conflict.

I call upon all of you to interrogate the current strategies of the Revised Human Wildlife Conflict Management Policy as will be presented, and play a part in the implementation of these strategies.

He said conservancies have a bigger role to play in the fight against poaching.

You are on the ground and can therefore see what is happening and possibly prevent that.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia