Grant projects to enhance conservancy governance

The European Union (EU) recently approved 2 grants to organisations working to improve governance in Namibia’s Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) sector.

Since the development of the national policy on CBNRM in 2013, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed guidelines and standard operating procedures for conservancy management, in order to help conservancies to comply with common standards. There are however qualitative differences between conservancies' performance and management. Furthermore, communities' institutional and managerial capacities are often limited and impede them from reaching their full potential, which in turn may have negative consequences for both rural development and conservation efforts.

In recent years, the governance of conservancies and other CBNRM structures has come under increasing scrutiny and support is needed to improve transparency and community involvement in decision making and accountability within CBNRM. In this context, the EU decided to provide support to improve governance of the national CBNRM Programme and to improve the participation of CSOs in governance and development.

The first grant (€ 798,000.00) which is equivalent to N$ 14,818,860.00 has been awarded to a consortium consisting of the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Namibia Development Trust (NDT) and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), who will focus on improving equitable benefit distribution through enhanced accountability of management structures and active community inclusion in decision making. This will involve working with conservancies and their members to develop a good governance culture, improving conservancy management capacities and working with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to support better monitoring and adaptive management in relation to governance.

The second grant (€ 436,817.70) which sums up to N$ 8,111,704.70 has been awarded to Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia, to improve the management/leadership, community participation and visibility of the most marginalised and vulnerable indigenous San conservancies (Nyae Nyae and Na#-Jaqna).

All these organisations are members of NACSO whose collective goal is to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, to bring together technical expertise and resources, to address systemic issues in the CBNRM programme.

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