Namibia is recognized as a global leader in conservation and nature-based rural development. Its State-run Community-Based Natural Resource Management Program (CBNRM) is a successful example of decentralizing natural resource management and recognizing the rights and development needs of local communities.
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Ibis Rice is a scheme, active since 2007 in three Protected Areas in Northern Cambodia, whereby communities are incentivized to protect critical habitat through sales of a high-quality agricultural product. Under the scheme, farmers that abide by the rules, including agreed land-use plans and no-hunting laws, are able to sell their rice through the village committee, which is legally mandated to administer the land-use plan.
The UNDP supported GEF financed project “Strengthening the Protected Area Network” (SPAN; from 2005-2012) used a number of strategies to secure sustainable financing for Namibia’s protected areas (PAs). The project undertook and successfully used a comprehensive economic analysis of the PA system to make the business case for increased investment in PAs. In addition it developed a concession management system compatible with the Government of the Republic of Namibia’s conservation and development objectives, significantly increasing the budget available for park management.
‘Wildlife-Friendly Ibis RiceTM’ is grown in the paddy fields of Preah Vihear province, on Cambodia’s Northern Plains. The Ibis RiceTM project aims to protect critically endangered birds and mammals, and prevent further loss of their habitat, which is being replaced by large and small-scale agriculture. Small-scale farmers from fifteen villages receive a price premium on their rice, in exchange for implementing conservation agreements. These limit the conversion of wetland areas to rice fields, and ban hunting of rare water birds.
The ongoing UNDP supported, GEF financed project “Namibia Protected Landscape Conservation Areas Initiative (NAM-PLACE)” establishes partnerships between national parks and private landholders, communal conservancies, and forests adjacent to the parks in an innovative approach to landscape-level habitat protection. These partnerships allow for the removal of fences, which increases territory accessible by wildlife and decreases pressure on the park habitats.
The solution proposes to work with the Cambodian government to help reposition its protected area system as part of the means for realizing, rather than hindering, development objectives, in particular as they relate to poverty alleviation. Conservation International (CI) has completed a preliminary assessment that indicates 68 percent of Cambodia’s critical natural capital is still intact. Approximately 42 precent is covered by its protected area system.
The biodiversity assets of Southern Africa are globally recognized as exceptional. The protection of these unique landscapes, and their associated flora and fauna, is a high priority on the political and sustainability agenda. The Diamond Route project demonstrates that, regardless of the industry, businesses need not impose a limit on their efforts to contribute positively to the creation, expansion, conservation, management and restoration of Southern Africa's natural capital base.
Through eco-tourism the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), park authorities, business and community partners are protecting globally significant populations of endangered species in northern Cambodia. These enterprises also generate enough revenue for local people to change their behavior to more wildlife friendly ways, while also increasing their wealth. Communities manage eco-lodges and employ their members as service providers like guides.