In 2013 the MEFT launched the National Policy on Community Based Natural Resource Management. Related to this, Guidelines for the Management of Conservancies and Standard Operating Procedures were published in August 2013. Since that time, the Ministry’s CBNRM staff has continued to carry out consultative meetings in conservancies to ensure a clear understanding of the guidelines and how the Standard Operating Procedures are to be implemented. The Guidelines include clear compliance requirements for conservancies, both in terms of governance and wildlife management, and provide a powerful tool for managing conservancies and promoting appropriate returns to members.
The Directorate of Forestry
The Directorate of Forestry has the power to gazette a community forest and to regulate its operation. The Directorate is responsible for the harvesting and trade of timber. Forestry was incorporated into the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in 2020. This decision allows Namibian plant resource management to be more closely integrated with the conservation of other natural resources. A similar integrated approach was already operating within the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme, as many community forests are integrated with communal conservancies either partially or entirely and thus serve the same communities.
Traditional authorities play a very important role in communal areas. In most conservancies, the active involvement of traditional authority representatives ensures a positive relationship. Where this is not the case, conflicts often arise over resources and returns. In the case of community forests, the Forestry Act stipulates that a forest may only be registered with the consent of the traditional authority, thus facilitating collaboration from the outset.
Regional Councils and Land Boards
Regional councils and land boards are responsible for a variety of government regulations including land allocation. By ensuring good communication with them, community conservation organisations enable improved coordination of activities and land use planning.
Community water management
Under the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the Water Resources Management Act of 2004 provides the legal framework for communities to manage their water supply. Water point user associations embrace all users of a particular water point and are managed by water point committees elected from amongst the members.