Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme
  • Topic: Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
  • Location: Namibia
  • Date of completion: 1996
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  • This voluntary initiative came from Green economy policies, practices and initiatives

Description/achievement of initiative

Namibia's Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme (1996) is a combination of policy and legal reforms, which includes the granting of resource rights to local members of communal conservancies.
Source: World Resources Institute (2011) A Compilation of Green Economy Policies, Programs, and Initiatives from Around the World. The Green Economy in Practice: Interactive Workshop 1, February 11th, 2011

Namibia's establishment of conservancies - legally gazetted areas within the state's communal lands - is among the most successful efforts by developing nations to decentralize natural resource management and simultaneously combat poverty. It is one of the largest-scale demonstrations of Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRM) and the state-sanctioned empowerment of local communities. Conservancies are run by elected committees of local people, to whom the government devolves user rights over wildlife within the conservancy boundaries. This has provided the incentive to sustainably manage wildlife populations to attract tourists and big game hunters. Technical assistance in managing the conservancy is provided by government officials and local and international NGOs.

The benefits of the programme are as follows:

  • Over 95,000 Namibians have received benefits of some kind since 1998 including jobs, training, game meat, cash dividends, and social benefits such as school improvements or water supply maintenance funded by conservancy revenue;

  • 547 full-time and 3,250 part-time locals employed via tourist lodges, camps, guide services, and related businesses such as handicraft production;

  • Women's livelihoods and status have improved within the conservancies. Women fill more than half of the full and part-time jobs generated by conservancy businesses;

  • Conservancies represent 14% of total land area as of 2007;

  • Increased populations of elephant, zebra, oryx, springbok, and black rhino due to reduced poaching on conservancy lands;

  • Managing land primarily for wildlife has reduced cattle overgrazing in many areas.

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