Inauguration of three new Namibian National Park stations
Three new state-of-the-art park management stations have just been completed in Nkasa Rupara and Khaudum National Parks in the north eastern regions of Namibia, namely Zambezi and Kavango East. These new park management stations represent the latest phase of the Namibia National Parks Programme (NamParks), which has been running since 2006. Previously, new stations were built at Mahango, Susuwe and Ngenda in Bwabwata and Mudumu National Parks. These stations are operational and provide ideal conditions for proper park management.
Enlarge image German Ambassador Schlaga at the inauguration (© German Embassy Windhoek) The Shisinze Park Management Station in Nkasa Rupara National Park in Zambezi Region was officially inaugurated on September 13 by the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET), Tommy Nambahu, and attended by the German Ambassador to Namibia Matthias Schlaga.
The Deputy Minister of Economic Planning in the Presidency, the Governor of the Zambezi Region, representatives of the local Traditional Authorities were also present. This project has been co-funded by Germany through its Development Bank KfW and the Namibian Government.
This high-quality new station should improve the MET’s ability to manage Nkasa Rupara National Park. Very attractive new entrance gates have been constructed, as well as an inviting visitor reception, which includes information boards and displays. Outside the reception there’s a scenic new picnic site where tourists can relax after their long journeys. For the staff, there are offices and a football pitch as well as nineteen new houses with a state-of-the-art solar powered electrical system and a purified hot and cold water system.
The total cost of Shisinze Station was about 41 million Namibian Dollar of which 34 million Namibian Dollar were provided by the German Government and 7 million Namibian Dollar by the MET. The new houses and other facilities are a huge improvement of the previous situation. MET will be able to recruit more staff and thus, increase their management capacity.
The efforts and results of the Namibian-German Cooperation to develop the four north-eastern parks, are steadily improving the effectiveness of park management. This is having a positive effect on wildlife numbers and the park environment. Proper park management therefore also influences experiences of visitors positively, which are bringing considerable benefits to the region in general and to local communities in particular. Tourism concessions and trophy hunting projects undertaken by neighbouring and resident communities in the Zambezi Region are generating more than 13.7 million Namibian Dollar per year. These local benefits are directly linked to the successful management of the parks.
The north-eastern parks set an example for the Integrated Park Management approach in conservation. MET manages the parks as open systems while considering and promoting participation of neighbouring and resident communities and other stakeholders. Through their active collaboration and subsequent benefits, the communities have a vested interest in the protection and wellbeing of the parks and the wildlife. Examples of successful joint management projects include the Mudumu North and South Complexes, which were established by the MET. They consist of conservancies, community forests, Government, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders.
The four national parks in north-eastern Namibia (Nkasa Rupara, Mudumu, Bwabwata and Khaudum) are at the heart of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area. KAZA comprises a total area of 44 million hectares (about half the size of Namibia) with extraordinary natural attractions and largely untapped tourism potential. The five neighbouring countries (Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe) have decided to jointly develop the KAZA initiative for the benefit of the entire region. Namibia, with its long-standing and successful experience in sustainable Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), plays a major role in this initiative and provides examples of best-practice for the whole KAZA region. Namibia plays a key role in facilitating the free movement of wildlife between Botswana and Angola.
The German support through KfW Development Bank to the development of Namibia’s north-eastern National Parks is part of the support for the focal area “Natural Resource Management” – one of the three main German-Namibian Cooperation Areas. This support is also in line with the North-East Parks Programme that was initiated in 1995 by the MET to foster both nature conservation and socio-economic development in the Kavango and Zambezi Regions. Within the framework of their bilateral development cooperation efforts, the Namibian and German Governments have long realised the substantial contribution National Parks bring to economic development. The promotion of sustainable tourism, which is directly linked to National Parks, is an effective strategy to enhance growth and employment and thereby reducing poverty. Germany has committed a total of approximately 30 million Euro for its past and present support to MET’s development and management of Namibia’s National Parks.