German government and a delegation of the European Union (EU) officially handed over funds to Namibian government for tourism boosting and wildlife conservation, in light of the negative effects of the Corona-virus pandemic which has caused the tourism industry to close for an indefinite period.
The funds were handed over on Wednesday. Germany provided the bulk of the funds, N$250 million (€ 13 million), and the EU gave N$22 million a (€ 1,17 million). Minister of environment, forestry and tourism Pohamba Shifeta noted that the funds are meant for Conservation Relief, Recovery and Resilient Facility to address the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking at the grant handover , the minister Shifefa said the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Kaza TFCA) neighbours (Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe) are experiencing a similar impact of the covid-19 lockdown.
“In the Kaza region, conservancies are experiencing hardship through the non-existence of wildlife and hunting tourism. National parks in the region are in need of management and operations support to maintain proper natural resource management,” said Shifefa.
Ellen Gölz, from German embassy, said the current global decline in tourism is hitting Namibia hard, with the effect felt acutely by nature-based tourism companies. “The MEFT and the government as a whole have already undertaken efforts to mitigate the negative impacts and help secure jobs and conservation successes. One of our focal areas of cooperation is the support of sustainable management of natural resources,” highlighted Gölz. EU ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila said the grant by the EU is funded under the European Union’s bilateral cooperation programme ‘Enhancing Participatory Democracy in Namibia’.
“This programme largely aims to strengthen and enhance the interaction between the government, parliament and civil society organisations, and thus to contribute to an enabling environment for CSOs in Namibia,” said Antila.
The two EU-funded projects in support of Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) in Namibia will be made available through the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Namibia Development Trust (NDT) and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC). The Namibia Natural Foundation (NNF) will receive N$9,65 million (€ 510,000) to strengthen the Namibian CBNRM programme through the Nacso secretariat and to IRDNC and NDT N$12,49 million (€660,000) to improve participation of conservancies in the design and implementation of CBNRM policies and programmes in Namibia.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent -Namibia