By Hilary Mare
GERMANY will fund N$107 million of the total N$136 million needed in the development of three new park management stations in Khaudum and Nkasa Rupara National Parks in North East Namibia.
The remaining N$29 million will be funded by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET).
The stations are being built at Khaudum and Sikeretti in Khaudum National Park, and Shisinze in Nkasa Rupara National Park.
The German Development Bank (KfW) provides support for the development of the parks as part of the support to the focal area of ‘Natural Resource Management’ – one of the three main German-Namibian cooperation areas.
The support is also in line with the North East Parks Programme that was initiated in 1995 by the MET to foster both nature conservation and socio-economic development in the Kavango and Zambezi regions. Within the framework of their bilateral development cooperation efforts, the Namibian and German governments have long realised the substantial contribution national parks bring to economic development.
“A total of 61 staff houses are being built, plus attractive entrance gates and visitor receptions, offices and workshops. The new houses will be a massive improvement on the present situation, where staff currently lives in old barracks and wooden shacks and will enable MET to recruit more qualified staff and improve their park management capacity,” explained the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
These new park management stations complement the three other park stations that were built by previous phases of the Namibia National Parks Programme (or NamParks) at Mahango, Susuwe and Ngenda in Bwabwata and Mudumu National Parks.
The efforts of the Namibian- German cooperation to develop the four parks (Khaudum, Bwabwata, Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara) are steadily improving the effectiveness of park management. This in turn is having a positive effect on wildlife numbers and the experience of visitors, which bring considerable benefits to the region in general and to local communities in particular.
Tourism concessions and hunting projects undertaken by neighbouring and resident communities in the north east are generating more than N$17.5million per year in local benefits, which are directly linked to the successful management of these parks. The north eastern parks are a model for the Integrated Park Management approach to conservation. MET manages the parks as open systems with due consideration and participation of neighbouring and resident communities and other stakeholders. Through their active collaboration and subsequent benefits, the communities have a vested interest in the protection and wellbeing of the parks. Examples of joint management projects include the Mudumu North Complex and Mudumu South Complex, which were established by MET, and consists of conservancies, community forests, Government, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders.
The promotion of sustainable tourism, which is directly linked to national parks, is an effective strategy to enhance growth and employment and thereby to reduce poverty. Germany has therefore committed a total of approximately N$400 million (€30 million) for its past and present support to MET’s development and management of Namibia’s national parks.
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