February 17, 2020
Ellanie Smit, The Namibian Sun
The Community Conservation Fund of Namibia (CCFN), launched last week, will take Namibia's flagship conservation programme to the next level.
The creation of this fund is aimed at reducing the community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) sector's dependence on external donor funding. According to a joint statement issued by CCFN, it takes into account the fact that Namibia has been designated as a medium-income country, which has resulted in some donors withdrawing from the country.
“As a result, funding partners for the CBNRM programme have over the last few years declined, making the programme vulnerable to collapse should such funding sources end.”
The statement says the organisation was therefore established as a sustainable funding mechanism to ease the problem of limited funding, creating a sustainable finance framework for a suite of important long-term support services to conservancies and community forests.
Funding windows of the CCFN would be the Minimum Support Packages (MSP) which aim to provide critical support services throughout the lifespan of the individual conservancies, the Payments For Eco-Systems, which would reward custodians who take care of the environment, as well as the Human-Wildlife Conflict, which promotes sustainable co-existence between humans and wildlife.
In his overview of the operations of the CCFN, the organisation's CEO, Tapiwa Makiwa, emphasised the importance of capitalising the CCFN Endowment Fund from all sources as this creates the much-needed basis of a readily available pot of funds that can be wisely invested and used according to the needs of the programme into perpetuity.
He said the CCFN had equipped itself with a sound investment strategy and a team of experts from local and international investment firms that would ensure that the Fund is a success.
As part of CCFN's Human-Wildlife Conflict funding window, the German government via the KfW Development Bank announced the inception of a N$ 72.5 million grant for human-wildlife conflict, specifically targeted at communal conservancies in Namibia. The Namibian government through the environment ministry, CCFN and other partners has also committed various contributions to ensure that the project is a success.
Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said at the launch that the Fund creates an enabling platform which enables fellow Namibians to collectively bring together resources and contribute to their own cause and invest in the future of generations to come. “I would also like to challenge the local Namibian population and corporates to play their part in these common endeavours. A well-balanced ecosystem coupled with rural development is a benefit to all Namibians.
He appealed to potential contributors to follow the example set by the German government in supporting the CCFN, its work and the conservation drive of Namibia.
Human-Wildlife Conflict Escalates
Shifeta further urged all local and foreign interested parties to consider supporting the capitalisation of the Endowment Fund so as to entrench the CBNRM Programme's sustainability and preserve its success. He said statistics show that Namibia has seen an increase in human-wildlife conflict incidents over the last few years due to various factors, drought being one of them.
According to Shifeta the first active project that the CCFN will embark on is designed to address this very challenge.
He also urged the institution and its management to strongly guard against any malpractices and actively subscribe to the core values identified within the founding documents of the entity, which are transparency and integrity.
“We have no doubt in the ethics of the board and management selected. However, as the responsible line ministry let me assure you that we will be watching and we want to see the impact the fund will make to improvement of community livelihoods and no personal gains.”
The German ambassador to Namibia, Herbert Beck, said Namibia is one of the leading countries in Africa when it comes to the management of its natural resources.
“While it is a pleasure to take the lead in supporting this new funding instrument of the CCFN, it is evident that more money is needed in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fund and the programmes it supports. I therefore take this opportunity today to encourage other bilateral and multilateral partners as well as the private sector to invest in Namibia's community conservation by supporting the CCFN.”
The project is expected to run four years and the targeted beneficiaries are the registered communal conservancies mainly in central, west, east and northern Namibia, Kyaramacan Association and their members, who are negatively impacted by HWC caused by key species such as lion, elephant, hyena, wild dog and crocodile.
The total number of conservancies is expected to reach a ceiling of approximately 90 to 100 within the next three to four years, while more and more of the currently registered conservancies are reaching levels of financial sustainability as their wildlife populations recover and partnerships with private sector prosper, according to the statement.