The launch of this much needed conservation fund takes Namibia’s flagship conservation programme to the next level. The creation of this fund is aimed at reducing the community based natural resources management (CBNRM) sector’s dependence on external donor funding support, taking into account Namibia’s designation as a Medium Income Country, resulting in some donors’ departing the country. As a result, funding partners for the CBNRM programme have over the last few years declined, making the programme vulnerable to collapse should such funding sources end.
The organization was thus established as a sustainable funding mechanism to ease the problem of limited funding, creating a sustainable finance framework for a suite of important long-term support services to conservancies and community forests. Funding windows of the CCFN would be the Minimum Support Packages (MSP) which aims to provide critical support services throughout the lifespan of the individual conservancies, the Payments For Eco-Systems, which would reward custodians who take care of the environment, as well as the Human Wildlife Conflict, which promotes sustainable co-existence between humans and wildlife.
In his overview of the operations of the CCFN, the organization’s CEO, Mr Tapiwa Makiwa emphasized the importance to capitalize the CCFN Endowment Fund from all sources as this creates the much needed basis of a readily available pot of funds that can be wisely invested and used according to the needs of the programme into perpetuity. He noted that the CCFN had equipped itself with a not only a sound Investment Strategy but also a team of expertise from local and international investment firms that would ensure that the Fund is a success.
As part of CCFN’s Human Wildlife Conflict funding window the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany via the KfW Development Bank, announced the inception of a N$ 72.5 million (approx. € 5 million) grant for Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC), specifically targeted at communal conservancies in Namibia. The Namibian Government through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, CCFN and other partners has also committed various contributions to the project, to ensure that the project is a success.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, who officially launched CCFN said the Fund creates an enabling platform which enables fellow Namibians to collectively bring together resources and contribute to their own cause and invest in the future of generations to come. “I would also like to challenge the local Namibian population and corporates to play their part in these common endeavours. A well-balanced eco-system coupled with rural development is a benefit to all Namibians,” he urged. Additionally, he appealed to various potential contributors to follow the example set by the German Government in supporting the CCFN, its work and the conservation drive of Namibia. Echoing the sentiments shared by the CCFN CEO, the Minister urged all local and foreign interested parties to consider supporting the capitalization of the Endowment Fund so as to entrench the CBNRM Programme’s sustainability and preserve is success.
The German Ambassador Herbert Beck said, Namibia is one of the leading countries in Africa when it comes to the management of its natural resources with and for the benefit of the people. He however, recognizes the challenges and needs for further support: “While it is a pleasure to take the lead in supporting this new funding instrument of the CCFN, it is evident that more money is needed in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fund and the programs it supports. I therefore take this opportunity today to encourage other bilateral and multilateral partners as well as the private sector to invest in Namibia´s Community Conservation by supporting the CCFN.”
The HWC project is expected to run for four (4) years and the targeted beneficiaries are the registered communal conservancies mainly in central, west, east and northern Namibia, Kyaramacan Association and their members, who are negatively impacted by HWC caused by key species such as lion, elephant, hyena, wild dog and crocodile.
The total number of conservancies is expected to reach a ceiling of approximately 90-100 within the next 3-4 years, while more and more of the currently registered conservancies are reaching levels of financial sustainability as their wildlife populations recover and partnerships with private sector prosper.
The Chairperson of the CCFN board Mrs Hilma Weber gave a vote of thanks to WWF Namibia for funding CCFN’s inception and operational cost.“ You took part of the financial burdens in ensuring that CCFN was born and nurtured into a fine organisation. Your technical and financial support is highly cherished” she noted. In the same vein she thanked the WWF US office, the WWF network in general for the support and the commitments they have made to support Namibian CBNRM and the CCFN. Appreciation was also given to ACACIA for the initial seed funding of US$ 1 million for the endowment Fund. Lastly, she expressed gratitude to resident corporates such as Pointbreak and FNB that had led the way locally in supporting the Fund’s launch and urged fellow local corporates to join in.