21 February 2013

Namibia: Environment Fund Dishes Out Millions to Conservation Projects

THE Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) has so far sponsored 18 environmental and conservation projects to the tune of N$7,4 million, the environment and tourism minister has revealed.

Uahekua Herunga said about 3 200 individuals have benefited from the EIF grants, with at least 138 people employed on the supported projects. He was speaking at the first anniversary celebration of the EIF held in Windhoek this month.

The EIF gives grants to projects aimed at supporting environmental sustainability and natural resources in Namibia.

Since the launch of the fund in February last year, over 255 project proposals were received with a combined value of N$89 million.

"Today, we celebrate a principle we should remember that is the sustainable use of natural resources for development, for example when you give people a stake in resources where they live. In return, here is what you get: You get sustainability, you get efficiency, you get wealth and equity," said Herunga.

At the event this month, the EIF gave 10 grants to environmental and conservation projects, ranging from communal conservancies and community forests to recycling, renewable energy, tourism and responsible mining.

Those funded included the Uukolonkadhi Community Forest, which got N$550 000, the Mariental Reeds Project (N$330 510) and the Olushandja Livestock Marketing Committee (N$341 000).

Environmental Commissioner Teofilus Nghitila said the EIF has achieved a lot and it is the only fund in Namibia dedicated to the protection of the environment.

* Absalom Shigwedha is a Namibian freelance environmental journalist.

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