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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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.
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.
We will highlight experiences doing research in the Makira Natural Park, northeastern Madagascar that investigated the ecosystem provisioning service value of wildlife as food and botanical ethnomedicines. Understanding the monetary value of faunal and floral biodiversity in this region may help to understand the local conservation psychology and what motivates people to harvest beyond the limits of sustainability. Specifically, our results provide an estimate of the cost of offsetting economic losses to local populations from the enforcement of conservation policies.
To ensure the balance between development and conservation, government at national and local levels, businesses and local population must develop and implement suitable tools including policies, guidelines and plans. The development of these tools must be participatory for all stakeholders to own and use them efficiently. The value of PAs must be ascertained and incorporated into these tools in order to make wise trade-offs between conservation and development.
In alignment with national EIA regulations, and IFC performance standards on sustainability and the biodiversity conservation, Ambatovy and Qit Madagascar Mining have combined environmental and social impact assessments, a mitigation hierarchy and adaptive management to achieve “no net loss,” and preferably a net gain, for biodiversity.The mitigation hierarchy includes the processes of avoidance, minimization and restoration, with offsetting, to compensate for residual impacts.