Biodiversity Management and Climate Change

Project description

Title: Biodiversity Management and Climate Change (BMCC) in Namibia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Namibia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

Namibia. A local woman proudly presents her hard-won Marula kernel harvest. The women sitting in the back are separating the seeds from the kernels to get at the oil. © GIZ

Context

Namibia’s natural resources and biodiversity hold significant potential for sustainable development. Unique landscapes, rich flora and fauna, as well as mineral resources offer diverse development opportunities. The country’s environment and biodiversity are, however, being threatened and often degraded by unsustainable practices, such as overgrazing and deforestation. Experts also expect climate change to increase the country’s vulnerability to drought. Although Namibia has developed commendable environmental policies, they still need to be fully put into practice on the ground.

Objective

Namibia implements coherent policy measures, strategies and practices relevant to biodiversity conservation and tackling climate change. For this purpose, the project strengthens the capacities of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to shape and manage their implementation. This contributes to securing and diversifying livelihoods for local communities who depend on natural resources.

Approach

The project is being implemented jointly by MET and GIZ, in cooperation with other ministries and non-governmental organisations. The project involves activities at local, regional and national level. In order to achieve its objectives, it focuses on four main areas.

  • Integration of environmentally relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs set out in the 2030 Agenda) into national development planning

Many of the 17 internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals and their targets are relevant to environmental policies in Namibia. The project supports the partners to break down global goals to the national level and to determine suitable indicators to measure their achievement. The project analyses the potential for and obstacles to sustainable development, and develops recommended actions for the national Sustainable Development Advisory Council. This includes an exchange of experiences with the German Council for Sustainable Development.

  • Strengthening environmental management (Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment)

The project works with MET to foster more efficient implementation of the 2007 Environmental Management Act (EMA). It develops regulations and guidelines to improve the quality and efficiency of environmental impact assessments and to increase awareness about environmental issues among the general public and the private sector (e.g. in the mining, infrastructure and tourism sectors).

  • Establishing a regulatory framework for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of genetic and biological resources

Biological resources such as marula oil have the potential to be used in medicine, cosmetic products or nutritional supplements. The project supports MET in establishing a regulatory and institutional framework to guarantee fair and sustainable utilisation of these resources from which indigenous peoples and local communities also benefit. Additionally, the project analyses the market potential of biological resources in order to develop value chains and new sources of income for the rural population.

  • Synergetic implementation of the three Rio Conventions

Namibia is a signatory to the Rio Conventions – three international environmental agreements on climate change, conservation of biological diversity and combating desertification. The implementation of the agreements requires concerted action beyond sectoral boundaries, for which MET has the coordinating role. The project supports the development of cross-sectoral investment programmes, for example to make agriculture and infrastructure development more climate- and environment-friendly and to comply with the requirements of the international agreements. This is supported by targeted communication designed to increase public awareness about environmental issues.

Results

The project helps secure local livelihoods. The more efficient application of environmental laws, greater transparency in environmental management and a more equitable utilisation of biological resources promote the conservation of ecosystems. For example, the project benefits producers of biological resources (such as marula oil, or devil’s claw, which is used for rheumatism) and indirectly benefits around 14,000 harvesters through the fair sharing of benefits from the utilisation of these resources. In 2017, a dedicated law was passed on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic and biological resources. Under the law, indigenous communities have the right to self-determination and are involved in planning and decision-making.