Investment vital for Namibia’s biodiversity

The mobilization of financial resources for investment in the environment is vital and requires huge amounts of capital to ensure the sustainable utilization of the Namibia’s biodiversity.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF), Mr. Benedict Libanda, highlighted this in his presentation on Mobilizing Financial Resources for Environmental Investment at the sixth After-work-talk of the Environmental Economics Network of Namibia (EENN) in Windhoek on 29 September.

Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF), Benedict Libanda.

Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF), Benedict Libanda.

Mr. Libanda said for Namibia to achieve its vision for the Namibian parks by 2030, an amount of N$113 million is required annually, while the Community-Based Natural Resources Management programme needs an additional N$70 million annually to achieve transformation and sustainable development.

Furthermore, the country’s water infrastructure requires an investment of N$4,6 billion for the next three years. Because of climate change, the incremental cost of crop production would amount to N$40 billion over the next five years.

The EIF mobilizes funding for the maintenance of an endowment fund, which would generate sustainable revenue.

He said the EIF has implemented a five-year strategic plan to mobilize resources for climate financing and creating bilateral partnerships with the private sector.

Implementing an environmental levy on chemical products, oil and e-waste is also one of the initiatives the EIF has come up with to mobilize resources. Libanda said the EIF wants to prioritize climate financing, pursue strategic partnerships, build capacities and enhance skills for its employees.

At the moment the EIF has 28 staff members. They work in a new sector for which their capacity should be developed. The EIF is an accredited agency in Namibia with the aim of sourcing funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The GCF provides funding for projects aimed at addressing climate change through both mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

The EIF also gives grants and concessional loans to businesses and initiatives aimed at the sustainable use of Namibia’s biodiversity, such as eco-tourism, green technology, natural resources management and research.

In the last four years the EIF provided 64 grants to initiatives, which created 386 permanent and seasonal jobs.

He said the business plan for the EIF entails environmental, social and economic responsibilities with the aim of financial returns. The demand for both grants and concessional loans is much bigger than the EIF’s financial resources . The fund receives many business plans but unfortunately not all requests for funding can be entertained.

Some of the attendees at the sixth After-work-talk of the EEEN held recently in Windhoek.

Some of the attendees at the sixth After-work-talk of the EEEN held recently in Windhoek.

On a question as to whether EIF is known over Namibia, Mr. Libanda said the EIF tries to be visible in all the regions of the country, but becoming known in the rural area is a challenge. EIF staff though, monitor and evaluate funded projects and businesses, wherever they are, on an as and when basis.

On a question what would happen to a funded project that stagnates, Libanda pointed out that struggling projects would be attached to experienced organizations, for support with expertise and guidance. Such projects could also be assisted by the restructuring their loan agreements to ease the pressure.

The EENN is a non-profit network of environmental economists, other relevant experts and interested people, with the aim of promoting coherence and balance among ecological, social and economic systems as well as to exchange ideas and expertise with young environmental economists.

The Resource Mobilization for Biodiversity Conservation (ResMob) project supports the EEEN. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is currently implementing the ResMob project with the assistance of GIZ, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.