The NACSO Constitution sets out the principles for a partnership of institutions, both government and NGO (including parastatal, community, business and other sectors), that closely collaborate to practice, promote, and support community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) activities in Namibia.
It is not intended that the Association will dictate the activities of any member organisation, but will rather operate in a facilitative, collaborative, supportive and synergistic capacity, and will respect the rights of individual member organisations, within the spirit of NACSO, to pursue their own fundraising and programme initiatives.
NACSO is a voluntary association, with the aims of promoting, supporting and furthering the development of community-based approaches to the wise and sustainable management of natural resources, thereby striving to advance rural development and livelihoods, to promote biodiversity conservation, and to empower communities through capacity building and good governance to determine their own long-term destinies.
The two main organisational components of the organisation are a small Windhoek-based Secretariat, and the working groups which deal with natural resource management, improved livelihoods, and good governance of conservancies through institutional development.
In October 2022, Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) had an exciting week of learning, sharing, and planning with its members and other key stakeholders. During this week, NACSO launched its new strategic plan for 2023-2026. The strategy is guided by the following goals:
- Sustaining a well-functioning Members’ Association capable of executing its mission
- Developing leaders at all levels
- Enhancing coordination, collaboration, learning, and sharing
- Expanding the impact of CBNRM beyond wildlife
In 2001 NACSO developed its first five-year strategic vision for CBNRM in which it set out an overall goal and set of objectives to guide the organisation's activities. Since then major changes have taken place within the National Conservancy CBNRM Programme, with 86 conservancies now being registered. The programme initially focused on wildlife but has expanded its natural resource management to include indigenous plants, holistic rangeland practices, and forest products. There are now 43 registered community forests and there are growing links between conservancies and community forests, many of which overlap. The CBNRM programme is now a multi-faceted conservation and rural development programme that manages natural resources across large areas of Namibia, enables improved livelihoods and income diversification for rural communities, and strengthens management systems and democratic structures in communal conservancies and community forests.
The NACSO Five Year Strategic Plan for the period 2011–2015 was designed to meet the new challenges of the expanded national programme, and to assist in the implementation of the vision and objectives for the National Conservancy and Community Forest CBNRM Programme.