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Governance and Responsible Stewardship
© NACSO/WWF Namibia
Leading the Change 2 Civil Society, Rights and Environment

The Leading the Change 2 (LtC2) project aims to strengthen the institutional governance capacity and responsible stewardship of Namibia’s Conservancies, Community Forests, and Community Associations for sustainable natural resources management; and to facilitate learning and sharing within the broader Leading the Change programme.  Namibia’s component forms part of the global initiative with a strong emphasis on rights and responsibilities, equitable benefits, and sustainable management of key ecosystems and habitats. The scope for this project is countrywide. 

The project has six main outcomes:

  1. Civil Society Organizations (CSO) CAPACITY: Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have enhanced institutional and technical capacity to drive change towards responsible, inclusive, and sustainable NRM, and effective community stewardship of natural resources (water, rangeland, wildlife, forest) and resilient ecosystems in communal conservancies and forested lands.
  2. LEARNING AND SHARING: CBOs, CSO Partners, & WWF colleagues are engaged with policy makers, learning, and sharing practices, approaches, tools and methodologies to optimize their collective contribution towards the desired change.
  3. MEMBER ENGAGEMENT: Indigenous people and local communities (incl. women, youth, and marginalised groups) in Conservancy and Community Forests are aware of their individual and collective rights and responsibilities, empowered to collaboratively engage in, and make informed and evidence-based decisions about sustainable natural resources management (NRM)
  4. MEMBER BENEFITS: Systems/Mechanisms are in place that allow indigenous people and local communities (IPLC), including women, youth, and marginalised groups to equitably benefit from sustainable NRM
  5. DUTY BEARERS CAPACITY: Duty bearers (Directorate of Forestry (DOF), Directorate of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) – CBNRM, Directorate of Scientific Services (DSS) – Concession unit) have enhanced institutional and technical capacity to monitor and enforce compliance, conform to human rights, and facilitate participatory decision-making processes.
  6. ENABLING ENVIRONMENT: Duty bearers (Gov and relevant ministries- Ministry of Environment Forestry and Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture Water and Land Reform, Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Traditional Authority, Communal Land Board, Regional Council) at National, Regional and Local level have enhanced capacity to champion a harmonized enabling political and legal environment for sustainable NRM and provide political spaces for inclusive participation of CSOs, communities, and rights-holders in decision-making processes. 

The overall strategy for the Leading the Change Phase 2 is to work through three state and non-state change agents (i.e., rights holders, CSOs, and duty bearers) towards the desired change, which is by 2028, the indigenous people and local communities living in 86 conservancies, 43 community forests, and 2 community associations are effectively exercising their rights and responsibilities; controlling decisions and equitably receiving benefits from natural resources; and contributing to the sustainable management of key ecosystems and habitats in Namibia compared to the status in 2022.

The project is supported by WWF Namibia and implemented by NACSO partners and the Institutional Development Working Group, with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) from 2023 to 2028. 

Supporting a green economy vision in the Kavango Regions, Namibia (and linkages to KAZA)

The Kavango East and Kavango West regions of Namibia have the highest incidence of multidimensional poverty in the country, and with linkages to Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Area (KAZA), increased and unplanned development associated with extractives (i.e., mining, timber harvesting, water extraction, etc.), urban expansion, agricultural development, and industrialization could present a significant challenge for biodiversity protection and maintaining ecosystem health. The project aims to support the development of an inclusive green economy vision through a participatory approach, with and by the local people, for the regions that will guide developments at the landscape level.  The scope for this project covers the two Kavango regions. 

A key challenge is to manage extractive industries in a way that contributes to – and does not jeopardize – sustainable development. The green development vision project is designed to identify, consider, and develop an inclusive green industrial and extractive economy vision to guide development options and opportunities in these regions. 

Regional and local partners supported by WWF are approaching this through multi-stakeholder dialogues, the identification of green industrial and extractive opportunities, and local awareness and knowledge on the interconnectedness of the environmental-social-economic sustainable development options. 

The green economy vision is funded by WWF Netherlands.  Right holders include local communities and indigenous people residing in the two regions; registered communal conservancies and community forests in Kavango East and West Regions; Farmers Unions, Traditional Authorities in both regions. State and non-state actors ranges from NACSO member organizations, Namibia Nature Foundation, Kavango East and Kavango West Regional Councils, Directorates Forestry, Parks and Wildlife, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare, Environment Investment Fund of Namibia, and Namibia Investment and Promotions Development Board.  Other critical stakeholders include the UN agencies, e.g. Food and Agriculture Organization and United National Development Programme; private Landowners, potential investors, and entrepreneurs; the individual experts and academia.  

Integrated Conservation Planning for the Zambezi Region

The Integrated Conservation Planning for the Zambezi intervention aims to support a connected, resilient, economically viable conservation landscape for people and nature in the Zambezi Region, which is at the heart of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA).  

This intervention is implemented through a five-step process that involves building partnerships, creating shared understanding, setting joint visions and planning, taking joint action, and ongoing monitoring & learning.  Projects, identified with and being implemented in collaboration with our partners, include mechanisms to restore degraded areas in the Zambezi State Forest, a woodland of significant importance to local livelihoods and a wildlife corridor within KAZA, professional exchanges to strengthen synergies for integrated planning and service delivery within the Zambezi Region, youth engagement activities, and agroecological value chains will be piloted for local economic growth. The scope for this project covers the Zambezi region. 

Using the 4Returns approach, this project creates programmes and objectives that address:  

  • Return to inspiration: giving people hope and a sense of purpose 
  • Return of social capital: bringing back jobs, business activity, education, and security 
  • Return of natural capital: restoring biodiversity, soil, water quality and capturing carbon
  • Return of financial capital: realising long-term sustainable profit
The impacts will be a 4Returns framework tested and delivered to accelerate landscape regeneration so that nature and people thrive and creating an impact that generates a return to support for conservation amongst all stakeholders.

The Integrated Conservation Planning for the Zambezi Region project is supported by the COmON Foundation, Commonland, Wetlands International, and Landscape Finance Lab. The 4Returns project and WWF Namibia are proud to partner with the Zambezi Regional Council, the Ministries of Environment Forestry and Tourism; Agriculture Water and Land Reform; Heath and Social Services; Education, Arts and Culture; Gender  Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare; Urban Planning and Rural Development, the University of Namibia; NaDeet, WWF in KAZA, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation, Namibia Nature Foundation, Kwando Carnivore Project, and Namibia Association of CBNRM Support Organizations and with the Zambezi local communities and indigenous people in our common interest to build resilient landscapes, restore healthy ecosystems and create regenerative businesses for generations to come. 

National Planning for an Inclusive and Effective Conservation Approach to Reaching Global Biodiversity Framework Target 3

With global biodiversity loss at dangerous levels, the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework(GBF), a ten-year plan to halt the increase in the rate of extinctions and bring 30 per cent of land and sea areas under protection, is expected to be agreed by the 196 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity when they meet in Kunming in 2022. Under the framework, Target 3 states: Ensure that at least 30 per cent globally of land areas and of sea areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and its contributions to people, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

WWF conditionally supports the 30x30 target if it adequately addresses inclusivity, aims for equitable governance and social equity, and takes a rights-based approach, among other considerations. Namibia GBF Target 3 project’s objective is to support country planning to develop a national plan for achieving or exceeding Global Biodiversity Framework Target 3, with due consideration to inclusivity, rights, equity, connectivity, ecological representation, climate resilience and effective conservation, which draws on existing data and actively addresses any significant data gaps. The scope for this project is countrywide. 

The project has the following outputs: 

  1. A guide for countries to develop an inclusive and effective plan to meet or exceed GBF Target 3.
  2. National plans for five countries (developed through inclusive processes).
  3. Capacity support and presentation materials for use by country representatives to communicate results at the GEF Assembly in December 2022.
  4. Accessible project lessons and Knowledge Management products and their dissemination, including dissemination of the guide.
  5. A monitoring and evaluation system, mainstreaming gender equality, to gauge the project’s implementation progress and impact.
This project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the 7th replenishment cycle and is being implemented in five countries, Ecuador, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, and Zimbabwe.  The funding falls under the GEF global projects - funded by GEF using the set aside funds and not from country STAR allocations. It contributes to the GEF-7 Biodiversity focal area objective: BD 2-7: Address direct drivers to protect habitats and species, and improve financial sustainability, effective management, and ecosystem coverage of the global protected area estate.  

For more information on WWF’s approach to supporting local approaches to global conservation targets through ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’, please click here.

Climate Crowd: Community-driven solutions to help people and nature in a changing climate

Indigenous, local, and traditional knowledge systems and practices, including indigenous peoples’ holistic view of community and environment, are a major resource for adapting to climate change, but these have not been used consistently in existing adaptation efforts. Additionally, communities lack the resources to help them improve, implement and scale these efforts, and ensure that protecting nature is at the heart of the project outcomes. The scope for this project covers Kunene and Zambezi regions.

WWF is taking a bottom-up community driven approach through the Climate Crowd the project.  Namibia is one of 30 countries working with communities and local NGOs to collect and analyze data on climate impacts to communities, present the data back to the communities, and work with them to develop, fund and implement on the ground solutions with a focus on increasing water security, climate-smart agriculture, alternative resilient livelihoods, protecting and restoring forests, and education that help people and nature adapt to a changing climate. 

The project goals are to: 

  • Give a voice to the most vulnerable communities and learn from local/traditional/indigenous knowledge.
  • Scale the amount and diversity of data collected from the field, data disseminated, and create evidence-based recommendations for better adaptation strategies.
  • Pilot projects that increase the resilience of communities and nature, and have successful pilots taken to scale by governments and other large institutions such as the Green Climate Fund.
  • Raise awareness through compelling stories from the front lines of climate change.

For more information on Climate Crowd, visit: https://wwfclimatecrowd.org/

© Gareth Bentley/WWF 2015