28 February 2013

Namibia: Poor Legislation Hampers Landscape Conservation in Namibia

WEAK legislation on landscape conservation in Namibia is one of the challenges facing the country in conserving biodiversity beyond national park borders, says Michael Sibalatani, the head of the Namibia Protected Landscape Conservation Areas Initiative (Nam-Place).

Some farmers, he says, still do not understand the importance of landscape conservation and the benefits they can derive from it.

Sibalatani gave a talk about the landscape conservation project in Windhoek last week.

Protected Landscape Conservation Areas are defined as clusters of different land units potentially under different tenure, which have land-uses compatible with biodiversity conservation.

The rationale behind these conservation areas is to adopt a landscape-level conservation that goes beyond traditionally protected area boundaries or communal conservancies by viewing landscapes as ecological blocks.

Sibalatani said other barriers to landscape conservation in Namibia are the absence of partnerships for landscape management, inadequate governance framework for landscape level management and insufficient focus on market transformation and incentive measures.

He explained that Nam-Place is a four-year project which began in August 2011 and so far five landscape demonstration sites have been identified.

These are the Mudumu Landscape, Greater Waterberg Landscape, Windhoek Green Belt Landscape, Greater Sossusvlei Namib Landscape and the Greater Fish River Canyon Landscape.

Nam-Place is a project of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, with financing from the Global Environment Facility and with the United Nations Development Programme as the implementing agency.

The goal of the project is to ensure that Namibia's biodiversity and ecosystem values are conserved and provide sustainable benefits flows at local, national and global levels.

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