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State coughs up N$220m for parks protection

Mon, 11 July 2016 16:52
by Rodney Pienaar

The government spends about N$220 million on the protection of national parks countrywide on an annual basis, despite continued cases of poaching which have seen endangered species being killed in the country’s national parks.
 Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia has 20 national parks and the day to day protection and running of the national parks are done by the staff of the ministry.
Persons living in the protected areas are also educated to protect the parks through community involvement as they are inhabitants and care-takers of the parks The Villager understands.
“By day to day management that include water management for game, fence maintenance, wildlife protection, park road maintenance, park tourism development, veld fire management, at the moment N$220 000 000 is being spent annually but more is needed,” Shifeta said.

He added that through involvement in the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) of the Ministry the community is educated to preserve national parks for the future generations.
CBNR programmes promotes wise and sustainable management of natural resources, encouraging biodiversity conservation by creating the necessary conditions for sustainable use.
Through the work of the CBNRM partners, the MET has successfully been protecting national parks and wildlife since independence
According to Pohamba, communities in the Bwabwata National Park BB has formed the Kyaramacan Association (KA), which is a CBNRM organization working with the government and NGOs to protect wildlife and also for benefits from wildlife to communities.
The state is also involved in preserving the national parks by employing park guards while national parks are one of the major tourist attractions in Namibia.
Namibia was a tourist destination for 1,029,437 visitors from other African countries, and 221 811 visitors from Europe in 2014 alone.
The Namibian tourism sector attracts tourists to its wildlife, landscapes and cultures, amongst others.
However, the national parks are major tourism attractions, with the Etosha National Park garnering most of the visitors and the Skeleton Coast being the second-most visited.
The contribution is captured in the Tourism Satellite Account, which is compiled by the Namibia Tourism Board and indicates that in 2012, the tourism industry contributed N$3, 8 million to the GDP of the country at 3.8%. The industry created 22 857 jobs, indicating 5.1% of the total employment
Tourism activities also contribute to indigenous people’s sustenance in the country.
It is with this in mind that in 1996, the Nature Conservation Ordinance Number 4 of 1975 was amended to allow for the establishment of conservancies in communal areas, and through that, user rights were given to rural Namibians living in conservancies to benefit from the resources and wildlife on these lands
The policies put in place have resulted in more joint venture lodges than any other destination.
In the process, MET has created thousands of jobs for people, but real income-earning opportunities are in traditional homes.
These opportunities in turn bring income and jobs for communities in some of the poorest areas of the country.
At the same time, the income gained by conservancies provide an incentive for the continued wise management of wildlife and other natural resources as communities wish to maintain that income flow into the future.
It should be emphasized that conservancies are not areas for wildlife and tourism only.
They bring additional opportunities for rural people to manage wildlife and tourism alongside their normal activities of livestock management and crop-growing.
In other words, indigenous biodiversity production systems continue to be applied.