N$1 billion spent on biodiversity upkeep …as government expenditure is forecast to fall

An estimate figure of N$1 billion has been invested so far on the the protection and maintenance of Namibia’s biodiversity as the country pushes ahead with nature conservation.

Data dating back to between 2015/16 shows that the government of Namibia’s expenditure is estimated to have spiked to N$831 million after which it is expected to decline to N$804 million between 2020/21.

Information made available to The Villager by the Resource Mobilisation for Biodiversity Conservation, or ResMob for short, shows that the tourism, agriculture and fisheries ministries account for more than 90 percent of government’s biodiversity expenditure between the periods, 2007/08 to 2020/21. 

Speaking at a stakeholder dialogue in the capital, tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta said parties to the Convention on Biodiversity, which Namibia is a part of, have agreed and committed to halting biodiversity loss by 2020.

“This is by no means a simple task. But with collective effort and dedication, I believe that we can make substantial progress towards this noble goal,” he said. 

He said one of the key challenges Namibia was grappling with at the moment is the loss of biodiversity due to anthropogenic activities. 

This pertains chiefly to, environmental pollution and pollutants originating in human activity.

The minister said, ‘Habitat conversion, invasive alien species, pollution, over-exploitation of our natural resources, illegal wildlife poaching and trade are some of the key factors leading to the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”

With government expenditure thus expected to wan, ResMob said this projected reduction suggests that the range of biodiversity related activities supported by the government of Namibia are likely to decline. 

ResMob also laments the fact that government has continued to not prioritise biodiversity preservation, as is evident in the fourth National Development Plan which was mute on the topic.

This has also been bolstered by the decline of the proportion of GRN expenditure on biodiversity out of total expenditure since 2010/11. 

ResMob says, “Investing in biodiversity is not only the mandate of government, it also requires a collective effort. This includes private investment, particularly by direct beneficiaries. e.g. the tourism industry including communities, but also from international donors because the biodiversity of Namibia and some of the ecosystem services generated contribute towards global well-being”

Shifeta said that he was aware that capacity constraints are a major concern, yet biodiversity financing and economics is a field which is likely to grow in importance in the coming years.

“Let us be prepared and proactive to capacitate our economists and students in this field. I am pleased to note the collaboration of the (ResMob) project with the University of Namibia and the Namibia University of Science and Technology,” said the minister. 

The ResMob project is a joint implementation venture between the tourism ministry in partnership with the Germany Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and will run until September 2018.