Namibia's communal conservancies and community forests are self-governing entities legally recognised by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) and receive training and support from the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO). Each conservancy and community forest has a constitution and elects a management committee. Conservancies and community forests work to conserve and protect the environment, and to earn revenue from the sustainable use of natural resources.
The State of Community Conservation in Namibia website was created to share the CBNRM story more widely and in an accessible format.
Namibia's communal conservancies and community forests are legally recognised, selfgoverning entities, each with a constitution and an elected management committee. They work to conserve and protect the environment and to earn revenue from the sustainable use of natural resources. There are also two community associations within national parks, and six regional conservancy associations which act as representative umbrella organisations for conservancies in their area.
Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism
The mission of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is to promote biodiversity conservation in the Namibian environment through the sustainable utilisation of natural resources and tourism development for the maximum social and economic benefit of its citizens.
Namibia has 20 state-run protected areas covering about 17 per cent of the country's land surface. These include national parks with a wide variety of wildlife in habitats that range from desert, through savannah landscapes, to riverine areas.
The Ministry is also responsible for tourism concessions, where private sector operators and adjacent communal conservancies operate lodges, camps and tours, while conserving the natural environment and protecting its wildlife.
Three transfrontier conservation areas are facilitated jointly by the MEFT, in collaboration with partner countries, recognising that conservation and wildlife should have no boundaries.
The protected areas conserve biodiversity and ecosystem by protecting some of the country's most important habitats and species of national and global significance. The country's commitment to biodiversity conservation is reflected in the Constitution. Article 95 (1) provides the foundation for the formulation of policies, legislation and programmes aimed at safeguarding the country's biodiversity and ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations
NACSO is a networking organisation that coordinates the work of its members in partnership with the MEFT and other government ministries. Full and associate members give direct support to conservancies in the form of training, advice, technical and logistical support, and advocate for sustainable development and links to the tourism industry.
NACSO Associate Members
Three working groups provide technical expertise:
- the Natural Resources Working Group (NWRG),
- the Institutional Development Working Group (IDWG), and
- the Business, Enterprises and Livelihoods Working Group (BELWG).
These are flexible constellations of NACSO members and partners that pool expertise and resources to provide effective support to conservancies which are gazetted and fall under the legal responsibility of MEFT.
About this report
Almost half of Namibia is under conservation management. Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, when conservation was written into the Constitution, state protected areas have grown to include the entire coastline and adjacent desert areas, and communal conservancies and community forests have come into being, accounting for about a fifth of the land area.
Since 2004, when the first State of Community Conservation Report was published, NACSO has documented and assessed the development of conservation in communal conservancy areas. In recent years, together with the MEFT, data on wildlife populations, conservancy governance and rural enterprises based upon wildlife has been systematically gathered and presented in an annual report, backed by firm scientific data.
Now, the State of Community Conservation is reviewed in this web site format, where comprehensive data, past and present, is available to researchers and conservationists worldwide. This site will grow to present new information and to reflect more facets of community conservation in Namibia. However, an annual printed report will continue to be available and widely distributed.
Community conservation in Namibia has been generously funded by many donors over the years, all of which are listed under Funding Partners – Past and Present. These donors include major national and international development agencies, as well as smaller donors supporting specific programmes.
This website and the annual Community Conservation Report is very much a collaborative effort. Conservancies and other community conservation organisations gather data throughout the year. This is then returned to them in poster form and used in adaptive conservancy management. The data is also supplied to the NACSO working groups to enable evaluation and reporting on programme achievements and challenges at a national level. Although they are far too numerous to mention individually, all MEFT contributors and staff, community conservation organisations and their staff are gratefully acknowledged for their contributions to this site and the report. We would also like to thank all enterprises, private sector partners, NGOs and individuals who provide additional data and information.