Communal conservancies must be accountable – Shifeta

The Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta says that communal conservancies must be accountable for funds they generate from tourism activities and not misuse it.

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

“Community conservancies committees are expected to contribute benefits to their members through the utilisation of wildlife and tourism development in their areas. The ministry is concerned there is no equitable benefit to members in some conservancies. We are now addressing the issue of good governance and compliance with constitutional and benefit distribution plans,” he says.

He adds that in order for a conservancy to serve the interests of residents the conservancy committee needs to be accountable to them.

Shifeta also says that accountability means the committee cannot take whatever decisions it wants to.

“Committees must ensure its decisions have the support of the majority of residents. 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. Decisions taken by the committee must be open and transparent, the finances well managed, and that there is no corruption and conflict of interest in decision-making and distribution of benefits,” he says.

He adds that 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.