Minister underlines importance of improving capacity to mobilize more resources
The Resource Mobilization for Biodiversity Conservation (ResMob) Project after kicking off its inception in 2014, is well on its way to drafting a strategy for the mobilization of sustainable revenue streams to maintain and conserve Namibia’s natural biodiversity. The ResMob Project’s current preparatory phase involves various meetings with stakeholders and contributors, as well as reviewing various documents as part of the process to produce a ResMob strategy – the first deliverable.
According to Dr. Michael Humavindi and Mr. Jonas Nghishidi, the appointed consultants who are assisting the project to develop the strategy, the process needs to adhere to:
- Outputs supported by empirical work (literature review),
- A highly interactive and participatory process (appropriate financing instruments), and
- A broader and inclusive approach (assessing 200 financing options).
The eventual ResMob strategy will culminate into the drafting and submission of a Memo for consideration by Cabinet – the second deliverable.
The development of new and the revision of the existing market-based environmental revenue streams involves the identification of the most promising financing mechanisms. Some of the possible mechanisms that would be looked into are:
- Payments for Ecosystem Services,
- Biodiversity offsets,
- Plastic bag levies,
- Tourism entrance fees,
- Enhanced public funding (Optimised Treasury allocations)
- Environmental financing products from DFIs,
- Green financing from contractual savings such as GIPF,
- Optimisation of ODA flows (despite the risk of World Bank Income Classification), and
- Optimisation of Natural Resource Rent pricing.
In addition, the ResMob Project hosted its third Stakeholder Dialogue in Windhoek on the 23rd November 2017. A short video on the importance for the mobilization of financial resources for biodiversity conservation, as well as a number of articles on the projects stakeholder engagements, training interventions and awareness raising can be viewed and read on the website. With the assistance of contracted experts four reports have been drafted, which have been or are being uploaded to the website in PDF, also under Publications. They are: Baseline for Biodiversity expenditure in Namibia; Inventory of ecosystem services for Namibia, Feasibility of Natural Capital Accounts in Namibia; and Feasibility of Water Accounts in Namibia. Further reports will be available for downloading in due course.
Four Policy Briefs on, The Value of Biodiversity; biodiversity expenditure review; Key ecosystem services in Namibia; and The value of trophy hunting; have been posted in PDF on the website under Publications. An important part of the ResMob Project is to communicate all the developments, news, reports and meeting to stakeholders. Hence the implementation of this website.
At the Dialogue, the Minister of Environment of Tourism, Hon Pohamba Shifeta, reiterated that Namibia should improve its capacity to mobilize more resources for biodiversity conservation, specifically to enable the country to implement the objectives outlined it its Second National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. In his address (delivered by the Environmental Commissioner, Theo Nghitila) he referred to Namibia having launched its first National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP 1) in 2001 as the cornerstone of its efforts to conserve biodiversity. Although this acted as an important tool for biodiversity financing, the NBSAP 1 review found that implementation had been limited in some areas due to funding and communication constraints.
He reminded stakeholders that parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, including Namibia, agreed and committed to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. “This is by no means a simple task. But with collective effort and dedication, I believe that we can make substantial progress toward this noble goal. Loss of biodiversity, due to anthropogenic activities, is as you all know is one of the key national environmental challenges we are facing today.
”Habitat conversion, invasive alien species, pollution, over- exploitation of our natural resources, illegal wildlife poaching and trade are some of the key factors leading to the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
“What we really need to do now is to address the root causes of biodiversity loss. Various studies have been undertaken through the ResMob Project to reveal the value of biodiversity and mainstream its value into planning and decision making. The challenge we now have is to translate the findings of these studies results into action at local, regional and national levels.”
He referred to the 12th Conference of the Parties in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea in October 2014, where it was stated that the parties should “Mobilize domestic financial resources from all sources to reduce the gap between identified needs and available resources at domestic level, for effectively implementing by 2020 national biodiversity strategies and action plan (NBSAP)”.
Minister Shifeta pointed out that Namibia should utilize the full range of options in this regard, which would include public sector, bilateral and multilateral sources, market-related mechanisms such as levies as well as private sector financing and partnerships. He said he is further aware of capacity constraints being a major concern. Biodiversity financing and economics are very much likely to grow in importance in the coming years.
“Let us be prepared and pro-active to capacitate our economists and students in this field. I am pleased to note the collaboration of the Project with the University of Namibia, Namibia University of Science and Technology and the training provided so far. However, we should be conscious that this project, like many of our natural resources, is a finite resource. We will need to build on and scale up the good work that the Project has done so far.”
He called on stakeholders to maximize the Project’s impact that by its conclusion at the end of 2018, Namibia is capacitated and has the required systems, structures and measures in place to ensure that the natural capital is systematically valuated regularly and integrated into Namibia’s various planning and budgeting frameworks. “This will assist us to fully integrate biodiversity into our planning for development, poverty alleviation, land use, sustainable use of natural resources and climate resilience.”
The ResMob Project is jointly being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in partnership with German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). The project, which will run until September 2018, is being financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
Minister Shifeta’s address was concluded with an expression of thanks to the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) for its ongoing support to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The direct support of this Project to the Environmental Economics sub-division is greatly appreciated, he said.
A number of Environmental Economists, ResMob Project and EENN members delivered addresses on various topics, with stakeholders participating in a World Café as well as a panel discussion. The presentations for this event can be found here.