Biodiversity and wildlife are key economic drivers

Conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity together with wildlife are key economic drivers that could play major roles in boosting a country’s socio-economic development.

This was the overall message of Ms. Lizanne Nel, Manager: Conservation with the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association, when she addressed the seventh After-work-talk of the Environmental Economics Network of Namibia in Windhoek on 15 November.

Ms. Lizanne Nel, Manager: Conservation with the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association, highlighting the topic ‘Biodiversity conservation – friend of foe to economic development?’

Ms. Lizanne Nel, Manager: Conservation with the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association, highlighting the topic ‘Biodiversity conservation – friend of foe to economic development?’

In highlighting her presentation: “Biodiversity conservation – friend of foe to economic development?”, Ms. Nel said biodiversity should perhaps be repositioned in policy frameworks. Biodiversity should be appreciated in terms of its contribution to conservation, socio-economic development (GDP & job creation), competitive land use, as a rural economic driver, savings in expenditure and food security.

She referred to Operation Phakisa which the South African Government launched in 2014, and modelled on the Malaysian “Big Fast Results” methodology. It operates on a results-driven approach to development, involves various sectors such as business, labour, academia, civil society and government. Furthermore, it serves as a collaboration to develop delivery action plans, setting targets and ongoing monitoring. The challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality are addressed, with delivery accelerated in key areas.

Wildlife and its socio-economic potential has been targeted as one such area. “The Wildlife sector’s growth per annum has outperformed the General Gross Domestic Product in South Africa over the last number of years.” In 2014 this sector’s growth was measured at 9.3% compared to the national GDP of only 1.52%.

On top of that the Wildlife Sector showed a stable growth in jobs compared to Agriculture. Indeed, it provided three times more jobs and salaries are three times higher than in Agriculture.

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Decision-makers learn about economic valuation of ecosystem services

The Resource Mobilization for Biodiversity Conservation (ResMob) Project presented a five-day training session on the economic valuation of ecosystem services at the Hardap Resort at Mariental this week.

The ResMob project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and GIZ, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Decision-makers, members of parliament, technical experts and key stakeholders that have considerable interest in economic valuations methods as well as selected members of the Environmental Economics Network of Namibia and some students from the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) attended the training session from 31 October to 4 November.

In Namibia, nature counts because ecosystems and their biodiversity underpin the country’s economy and human well-being and need to be conserved.

The natural capital is a basic necessity for all. About 70 percent of Namibia’s population directly relies on it for their livelihood.

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The value of Biodiversity

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.

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