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Wildlife and Landscapes
© Jason Nott/Ultimate Safaris
Sustainable Wildlife Management Project

The Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Community Conservancy Project aims to strengthen innovative, community-led efforts to reconcile the conservation of wild species with food security, while at the same time improving local livelihoods. The objective of the SWM Programme is to reconcile the challenges of wildlife conservation with those of food security in a set of key socio-ecosystems (forest, wetland, and savannah), promoting sustainable and legal use of resilient animal populations by indigenous rural populations, while increasing/diversifying the protein supply for the benefit of rural and urban populations.

This four-year initiative began in 2021 and is being implemented in Botswana and Namibia in partnership with the respective national governments. WWF Namibia is leading the Namibia component, working with three partners: Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation, Namibia Nature Foundation, and NACSO Natural Resource Working Group. The Project supports the development of a network of 12 Community Conservancies to improve ecological connectivity and socio-economic sustainability in the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) landscape, the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area. This project is funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) with co-funding from the European Union through the SWM Programme. 

Project: https://www.swm-programme.info/botswana-and-namibia
Latest Newsletter: https://www.fao.org/3/cb7787en/cb7787en.pdf

Combatting Wildlife Crime

For the past three decades, Namibia has consistently and incrementally adopted conservation approaches that have resulted in the expansion in range and increase in numbers of many wildlife species, including black rhinoceros, elephants, and large carnivores.  Wildlife recoveries have been particularly noteworthy within the communal areas of Namibia, attributed to the emergence of communal conservancies.  Namibia’s progressive legislation which has allowed people living with wildlife to benefit from these natural resources has led to a strong sense of ownership and as a result, in improved protection of these resources against illegal activities, through community stewardship, goodwill and support.  Over this period, poaching activities had remained at all-time lows.

However, as ivory and rhino horn prices escalated, poaching of elephant and rhino became highly criminalized and organized, and it became evident that community goodwill and support was no longer an effective means of combating poaching on its own, and would need to be accompanied by targeted interventions on law enforcement, investigations, and prosecutions.

With an increase in poaching, below average rainfall, slow economic growth and reduced budgets in Government, WWF Namibia recognized that a more focussed anti-poaching/law enforcement support effort would be required to work synergistically with the gains made in building community stewardship.   The following projects respond to this need: 

Integrated Wildlife Protection Project (IWPP)
The Integrated Wildlife Protection Project (IWPP) supports the operationalization of the Wildlife Protection Service (WPS), created in 2015 by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to counter the increasing pressure on wildlife, especially rhinos and elephants, by organized crime syndicates. The Federal Republic of Germany supports and finances the project through the German Development Bank (KfW) and invests in infrastructure development, equipment, and training for WPS staff.  It also supports research and wildlife monitoring and the development of strategy and technological advances to curb the illegal wildlife trade. WWF is a technical advisor to the project and supports the Ministry in the financial and administrative management of the project through a unit consisting of five full-time WWF staff.

U.S. Department of State - International Narcotic and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
Since 2016, WWF has received funding from the U.S. Department of State - International Narcotic and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for projects aimed at Combatting Wildlife Trafficking in Namibia, and Countering Wildlife Trafficking in Namibia and Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation area (KAZA TFCA).

The overall goal of the INL projects is to reduce poaching and trafficking of protected animals and their body parts originating from Namibia and to reduce the ability of criminal groups to carry out and profit from poaching and trafficking of protected animals and their body parts, as well as protected timber and plants, originating from or transiting Africa. 

The overarching objective of these projects is to strengthen Namibia’s criminal justice institutions to complete successful enforcement, investigative, and prosecutorial functions of wildlife crimes. The projects aim to strategically support wildlife crime response strategies developed by the Government of Namibia (GON) over the past few years, leading to the National Strategy on Wildlife Protection and Law Enforcement and Namibia’s Parks and Wildlife Bill. Furthermore, the projects aim to improve the capacity of the forensics and criminal justice system in Namibia to increase successful prosecutions of wildlife crime trafficking syndicates and criminals, leading to a reduction of wildlife crime. 

The projects support and collaborate with several partners to combat wildlife crime. These partners include Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Rooikat Trust, Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), the Natural Resource Working Group (NRWG) through the Namibia Association of CBNRM  Support Organizations (NACSO), KAZA Secretariat, the GON which is represented through its Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), including its Intelligence & Investigations Unit (IIU), the Namibian Police Force (NAMPOL), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Prosecutor General office within the MoJ, and the Customs Department (now called NamRA) within the Ministry of Finance. The project also supports the Blue Rhino Task Team, a strategic partnership between the IIU of MEFT and the Protected Resources Division (PRD) of NAMPOL. These partners have complementary roles within the coordinating structure of Namibia’s Wildlife Crime Program, which regroups all government agencies in charge of Law Enforcement and their civil society partners.

Combating wildlife crime in the Namibia and the Kavango – Zambezi Area Project (CWCP)
The Combating Wildlife Crime Project (CWCP) seeks to counter growing threats from transnational wildlife crime to globally important populations of rhino and elephant found in northwest Namibia and project sites in the Kavango – Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA).  

Project goal: To increase the black rhino population in Namibia and stabilize and contribute to range expansion of KAZA elephants over the next five years.

WWF Namibia is providing the lead management and coordination role for the USAID funded Combatting Wildlife Crime Program (CWCP), a multi-country, multi-partner initiative being implemented by a Consortium of 12 organizations in five countries.  The project area includes the Northwest of Namibia and the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA).  The consortium partners are: the Association of Environmental Conservation and Integrated Rural Development (ACADIR) in Angola; Ecoexist in Botswana; Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC); the KAZA Secretariat; Legal Assistance Centre (LAC); Namibia Association of CBNRM Support Organizations (NACSO) Natural Resource Working Group; Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Namibia Development Trust (NDT), Save the Rhino Trust (SRT); TRAFFIC; WWF Zambia and WWF Zimbabwe. The partners are spread across the Namibia rhino and KAZA elephant landscapes, creating a network of civil society organizations working within Namibia and across KAZA borders on wildlife crime related matters.

© NACSO/WWF Namibia