About 25 economists and environmental experts from line ministries as well as members of the Environmental Economics Network of Namibia participated in a 3-Day specialist training on methods and examples of the Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (TEEB) Namibia Country Study.
The training was offered by the ResMob Project, an initiative jointly implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the GIZ, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and nuclear Safety (BMUB).
The training sessions were delivered by Dr. Jane Turpie and Gwyn Letley from Anchor Environmental Consultants, Cape Town, South Africa, with the assistance of experts from the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF). The sessions were hosted at Protea – Frustenhof Hotel in Windhoek from 13th to 15th June.
The main objective of the course was to give participants new skills for the integration of environmental economic tools in their professional field, in particular regarding different economic valuation methodologies.
Thus, the workshop focused on:
- Presenting basic environmental economic concepts, principles and terminology that underlie ecosystem valuation;
- Explaining commonly used economic methods for valuing ecosystem services;
- Identifying why, when and how ecosystem valuation can be useful for particular policy purposes; and
- Showing how the results from ecosystem valuation studies can be applied in a range of decision-making contexts.
- Apart from theoretical knowledge, the course relied on some technical inputs and interactive elements. The methodological focus was on providing a structured exchange of experience and working through case studies from the recently completed study for Namibia on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).
- With reference to environmental policy instruments, the course discussed case studies on “Optimal pricing of state protected areas”, “Incentives for sustainable practices and conservation in Namibia’s freehold rangelands” and “Payments-for-ecosystem services in Namibia’s communal conservancies.”
- In general, the training looked to be highly policy-orientated rather than attempting to equip participants with technical skills of applying ecosystem valuation methods which would require a more comprehensive training.
TEEB is an international initiative that provides a structured approach to valuation, and thus, supports informed decision making in line with a country’s policy priorities. A TEEB country study first identifies the ecosystem services most relevant to the country before conducting an in-depth study that will both valuate these services as well as make informed recommendations on how to best maintain and enhance these ecosystem services.
A previous study undertaken by the Namibia Nature Foundation Inventory of Ecosystem Services in Namibia identified the key ecosystem services in Namibia and assessed the trends and drivers of change of their delivery. The second stage of the study determined that ecosystem services in Namibia, including tourism, groundwater, wood, inland fisheries and game, which generate an excess of N$13 billion per annum. However, it also showed that many of these services face substantial threats.
Subsequent research identified mechanisms to support the continued supply of these services and the value they provide. To develop effective policy strategies, the analysis was disaggregated by land tenure type in order to reflect the unique challenges and opportunities each face in incentivizing and financing conservation. The study focused on the following priority sectors:
- National parks (public land),
- Community conserved areas (communal land)
- Private farmlands (freehold land).
It is intended that the methodologies, findings and recommendations from these study components inform and be mainstreamed into relevant planning systems nationwide.