The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) has made a contribution of N$6 million to the conservation relief, recovery and resilience facility aimed to assist the sector, which is currently hard hit by the impact of Covid-19.
The funds will be used to support communal conservancies and community forests to cover their operational costs of ensuring biodiversity conservation. This will include support towards salaries, anti-poaching activities, natural resource equipment, and human wildlife conflict.
Nedbank Namibia also contributed N$1 million to the fund, while the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) donated N$1.26 million.
Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta established the facility aimed to contribute significantly towards efforts to fight Covid-19. EIF CEO Benedict Libanda yesterday said they look forward with optimism to lead the implementation of the conservation relief, recovery and resilience facility. Libanda noted the fund recognises the important role that community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) plays in Namibia’s rural livelihood and development at large.
“The CBNRM concept is simple: local people benefit from the use of wildlife and tourism resources in their area by forming a community-based organisation, which manages those resources. About 60% of Namibians are reliant on natural resource use for their livelihoods. About 230 000 people live within the CBNRM areas.
In 2018, the communal conservancies facilitated more than 4 900 jobs, with the majority employed as game guards and in the tourism and hospitality industry, representing about N$65-N$80 million in wages and salaries. “All these economic benefits have been eroded by Covid-19, threating household food security, unsustainable utilisation of natural resources, and poaching,” Libanda said. UNDP resident representative Alka Bhatia yesterday during the launch of the conservation and resilience facility, said they have been supporting Namibia to prepare for, respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing particularly on the most vulnerable. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Covid-19 response is framed around three objectives. These are, helping Namibia to prepare for and protect people from the pandemic and its impacts, to respond during the outbreak, and to recover from the economic and social impacts in the months and years to come.
For the efforts under ‘prepare’- UNDP is supporting Namibia to strengthen the health systems, including supporting the government with the procurement of much needed medical supplies (needed by the Namibia Institute of Pathology) and leverage digital technologies to solutions. For the efforts under ‘respond’- UNDP is helping Namibia to work across key sectors to slow the spread of the virus and to provide social protection for vulnerable populations, promoting a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response to complement efforts in the health sector. “Here, we are working with the civil society organisations such as the development workshop of Namibia (Dw-N), in tackling the health impacts in informal settlements where most of the vulnerable groups are at high risks. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought home forcefully the interconnectedness between healthy ecosystems or environments and a sustainable economy,” Bhatia maintained. Under the recovery aspect- UNDP is supporting Namibia to assess the social and economic impacts of Covid-19 and take urgent recovery measures to minimise long-term impact, particularly for vulnerable and marginalised groups, and to help societies to recover.