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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Countries often face situations where biodiversity is not positioned on the national agenda and, in that scenario, developing financial mechanisms or mobilizing resources will be much more difficult than when biodiversity is in the mainstream of the country. Safeguarding diverse ecosystems ensures invaluable services essential for sustainable development and improvements in human wellbeing.
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.
Researchers and practitioners have extensively discussed the potential of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategies to help or harm forest-based communities, but less attention has been paid to the gender dimensions of this conservation intervention. Safeguard policies aim to ensure that REDD+ does not harm women, but interventions that do not seek to address gender imbalances at the outset could end up perpetuating them.
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.