Namibia’s Draft Fourth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (uncbd) August 2010 Compiled by the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism Executive Summary1

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Namibia’s Draft Fourth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)

August 2010

Compiled by the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Executive Summary1

Namibia continues to invest in biodiversity conservation and major accomplishments have been made in the reporting period since the submission of the 3rd National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2005. Government, international partner organizations, the private sector and civil society engagement and commitment have driven the accomplishment of major outputs set out in Namibia’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), which was published in 2002 and which laid out a comprehensive range of biodiversity conservation and management actions for the time period 2001-2010. A key instrument for facilitating the implementation of the CBD in Namibia, the NBSAP has guided investments and priority actions on biodiversity matters, and is making significant contributions to global environmental management. Namibia enjoys significant support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and well-designed projects addressing key areas of the NBSAP, have made major contributions to its successful implementation and the application of CBD guidance at the national and local level.

There are some key challenges to the successful conservation and management of biodiversity in Namibia, which require targeted and continuous intervention and support. These include the impacts of continued population growth, consumption and production patterns, as well as environmental threats such as alien invasive species and climate change. In addition, Namibia is confronted by pressing development issues such as the debilitating effects of poverty, unemployment, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. High priority is given to addressing these issues in Namibia, and noteworthy efforts are being made to link biodiversity conservation and management to such issues. The major efforts and resources that have and continue to go into Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) approaches throughout the country are an inspiring example of how to address poverty reduction, development and conservation goals in an integrated manner.
Key policy advancements have been made in Namibia over the past five years, which are mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into other sectors and related environmental policy processes and instruments. It is clear that capacity shortcomings must be addressed over the longer-term and that targeted supporting actions are needed. It is recognised that local level management, national research and science, as well as policy-level management capacities need to be strengthened, at individual and institutional levels. Although strong partnerships have been established between public, private and civil society stakeholders, a more supportive and enabling policy framework and the attitudes of individual decision makers must be continuously fostered to achieve synergistic and supportive action in areas relating to biodiversity conservation and management.
Although Namibia has a very comprehensive NBSAP, a formal assessment of its performance and implementation status has never been attempted until now. It is recognised that a more formal review than the one contained in this report would greatly help future decision-making and planning on biodiversity matters, and it is a top priority for Namibia to update the NBSAP and continue using this implementation tool for national planning of biodiversity interventions.
This Executive Summary follows the reporting outline and highlights the key points from each of the reporting sections.

Chapter I: Status and Trends of and Threats to Biodiversity
Status of Biodiversity: Over the reporting period, Namibia has made significant advancements in establishing new protected areas and promoting conservation of biodiversity outside of formal state-protected areas. Encouragingly, the entire coastline is now under some form of conservation status, while the entire country is home to 20 state-protected areas, covering 140,394km2 or some 17% of the total land mass. While the century old Namib-Naukluft and Etosha National Parks are the most famous, all of Namibia’s protected areas represent symbols of active conservation success. An expanding network of conservancies and community forests is improving the conservation of biodiversity in areas outside of state-protected areas and in many cases they adjoin these areas, which is reopening wildlife corridors and creating opportunities for collaborative management approaches. Conservancies and community forests are also proving a useful vehicle for promoting the sustainable use of biodiversity in terms of indigenous plants and non-timber forest products.
Trends in Biodiversity: Active efforts have been made over the past five years, to improve the biodiversity representativeness of Namibia’s protected areas, with targeted protection of ecosystems as well as indigenous and endemic species occuring outside of the protected area network. Significant conservation efforts have been focused on high endemism areas, as an essential means to reduce the global loss of species. Namibia is fully aware that the greatest potential for limiting biodiversity loss is to be achieved by preventing the degradation of semi-natural ecosystems, which are currently under sustainable use, in areas outside of formally protected areas.

The contribution of different types of conservation management to Namibia’s protected-area network.
The following conservation areas can be distinguished in Namibia and combine to ensure that approximately 40% of Namibia is under some form of conservation management: (1) Protected areas on state land, (2) Communal Conservancies; areas in which communities in communal areas gain rights to use, manage and benefit from the consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife within defined boundaries, (3) Freehold Conservancies and private game reserves; established by private landowners to dedicate their land to wildlife management for wildlife tourism, trophy hunting and the sale of live game and meat, and (4) Tourism Concessions; these cover rights to conduct tourism activities and/or commercially use wildlife resources on business principles and (5) Community Forests; these offer communities the rights to sustainably manage forests and their associated natural resources. The Government of Namibia is pursuing an innovative and effective approach, which seeks to integrate the different types of conservation areas mentioned above to shore up the overall protected area network and to test novel collaborative management approaches.

The coverage of Namibia by the different forms of conservation management
Three national parks, Bwabwata, Mangetti and the Sperrgebiet were proclaimed in 2007 and 2008, and the Dorob National Park has been proclaimed in 2010. These have added considerably to the state-protected area and have placed a variety of different biomes under the highest possible form of conservation management. Of these developments, the proclamation of the Sperrgebiet has been the most siginificant. It became the country’s second largest national park covering an area of 22,000km2 and importantly it places almost the entire Namibian part of the Succulent Karoo “biodiversity hotspot” under protection, which constitutes a major contribution to global biodiversity conservation efforts.
The growth in communal conservancies in Namibia has been rapid and these represent a very important addition to the protected area network as they place a sizeable percentage of the sensitive Namib escarpment hotspot under conservation. Communal conservancies are also heavily concentrated in the mammal rich north-eastern areas of the country. Many conservancies lie next to other conservation areas and thereby enlarge conservation management areas and this facilitates improved connectivity, more open systems and broader wildlife corridors. As of March 2010, there were 59 registered conservancies in Namibia covering some 12 million ha with 42 of those located immediately adjacent to protected areas or in the corridors between them. This has further created opportunities for collaborative management options between the respective conservancies and state protected areas such as Etosha, Khaudum, Bwabwata, Mudumu and Mamili National Parks. Freehold conservancies are also well established in the Acacia tree and shrub savannah biome, which is home to the world’s largest population of cheetah.
Trends in Species Diversity: Updated data is mainly available for mammals and larger vertebrates, and only selected and geographically limited research has been carried out for invertebrates and other smaller taxa and organisms during the reporting period.
Wildlife: The impacts of improving and refining the protected area network on wildlife have been impressive. Ongoing monitoring of wildlife numbers is led by the MET, and both conservancies and national parks make use of an Incident Book or Event Book System to monitor a range of activities, events and statistics with regard to wildlife. Several sources of information reveal increasing wildlife numbers in many areas of the country, particularly areas within the protected area network. This includes threatened and flagship species such as black rhino and elephant. Numbers of Namibian plains game species such as oryx, springbok and kudu as well as rare and endemic species such as the Hartmann’s zebra and black-faced impala, have also increased rapidly over the past 30 years.
Plants: Out of Namibia’s approximately 4,000 plant taxa, about 585 are considered to be endemic. A further 530 taxa or 14% are near endemic. The most recent evaluation of about 1300 of Namibia’s plant species has shown that 29 (0.8%) fall into the threatened categories according to the IUCN system, however it is believed that this is an underestimate. A preliminary analysis of Important Plant Areas (IPAs) in Namibia has also been carried out. 40 areas spread across the country were identified and are currently being confirmed.
Birds: Of Namibia’s 676 known bird species, 60 (or 9%) are recognized as being under threat in Namibia’s Red Data Book. The birds under threat are categorized into four major groups (1) Inland wetland birds (19 species (32%; plus 3 raptor species = 37%)), (2) Birds of Prey (18 species (30%)), (3) Peripheral birds of the northern river systems that live in riparian, tropical habitats (8 species (13%)), and (4) Coastal and Marine Birds (15 species (25%) plus 5 coastal wetland species = 33%). Namibia is also home to 19 Important Bird Areas (IBAs), 12 of which are located in the coastal zone or on off-shore islands (including 3 of our Ramsar sites). IBAs are also recognized as sites of global significance for biodiversity conservation, using globally standard criteria and thresholds.
Other taxa: Limited information is available for fish and marine resources, as well as Insects, arachnids, amphibians and reptiles. It is noted as a key shortcoming in Namibia that there is currently no dedicated national biodiversity monitoring programme to address information needs on such taxa.
Threats to Biodiversity: Threats to ecosystems and species have been partially assessed, although since earlier work undertaken in 2002, a systematic assessment of such threats has not been updated during the reporting period. Among the identified key threats to biodiversity are: (1) unsustainable water uses, (2) climate change, (3) uncontrolled mining and prospecting, (4) continued population growth and increased consumption patterns, (5) unsustainable land management practices, (6) alien invasive species, (7) some poorly directed tourism and recreation activities, and (8) human wildlife conflict. Several project and policy interventions are underway in Namibia to address these threats. Notably, dedicated projects strengthening Namibia’s capacity to deal with climate change and land management are underway, and human wildlife conflicts are being managed proactively by the MET through the framework of National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management, which was approved in 2009. Alien invasive species are currently not very aggressively managed, although policy instruments are partially in place controlling imports of exotic animal and plant species. Tourism and Recreation are generally considered to make positive contributions to biodiversity conservation in Namibia. It has however been observed that certain irresponsible tourism activities can have negative impacts on natural resources including biodiversity, and that uninformed and uncontrolled tourism can lead to vandalism in protected areas and the disturbance of protected species.
Chapter II: Status of Implementation of NBSAP
Namibia’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan serves as the country’s strategic plan of action for the period 2001-2010 to promote sustainable development through biodiversity conservation. It was borne out of Namibia’s National Biodiversity Programme (NBP) (1994-2005) and was shaped by a wide variety of stakeholders including government ministries, research organizations, NGOs, private businesses and community-based organizations. A multi-sectoral National Biodiversity Task Force (BDTF), set up during the NBP, coordinated the functioning of 21 technical working groups. These working groups provided much of the technical input into the formulation of the NBSAP, while senior ministry representatives provided political guidance through roundtable meetings and other direct forms of contact.

The overall objective of the NBSAP is to protect ecosystems, biological diversity and ecological processes through conservation and sustainable use, thereby supporting the livelihoods, self-reliance and quality of life of Namibians in perpetuity. It contains some 55 strategic aims and associated targets to achieve its overall objective. These are grouped into 10 key strategic themes which include (1) biodiversity conservation in priority areas, (2) sustainable use of natural resources, (3) research and environmental change monitoring, (4) sustainable management of land, (5) wetlands, and (6) coastal and marine environments, (7) integrated planning, (8) Namibia’s international role, (9) capacity building, and (10) mechanisms for implementation. Explicit activities to be implemented to achieve the strategic aims are included in action plan logframes, which were formulated to allow for ease of tracking progress in implementation of the NBSAP.

Although no formal monitoring and evaluation (M&E) for tracking implementation progress ever took place on Namibia’s NBSAP, a review as part of this 4th National Report indicates that a good deal of strategic aims and associated targets have been met, and that the majority of planned activities were addressed – in original or revised form.

NBSAP Targets reached

No. of Targets

% Breakdown

Fully Achieved



Partially Achieved



Not Achieved






Summary of NBSAP targets achieved.
Based on an initial assessment, it can be stated that the NBSAP has been effectively implemented in Namibia. Over 80% of all targets were at least partially achieved. The achievement of so many of the targets, in the absence of an official monitoring and evaluation mechanism, represents a remarkable success. In addition the NBSAP was the first of its kind in Namibia and laid out a very ambitious and wide-ranging set of specific targets, which required close cooperation and action from a very diverse number of stakeholders. A number of MET and other government activities have been implementing elements of the NBSAP and a suite of internationally supported programmes have been directly implementing the key priorities and activities as laid out in the NBSAP.

SO1=Biodiversity Conservation in Priority Areas

SO2=Sustainable use of natural resources

SO3=Monitoring environmental change

SO4=Sustainable Land Management

SO5=Sustainable Wetland Management

SO6=Sustainable Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Management

SO7= Integrated Planning for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development

SO8=Namibia’s role in the International Community

SO9= Capacity building for biodiversity management

SO10=Implementation of the NBSAP

Breakdown of NBSAP specific targets achieved as per strategic objective (SO).
The figure above allows for a more analytical breakdown of Namibia’s performance in the implementation of its NBSAP. It should however be noted that the indications provided by this diagram are dependent on the measurability, practicality and quality of the particular targets set and thus may not be a true representation of the state of progress relating to each strategic objective area. In addition the timeframe applied to the specific targets was not strictly followed in this report owing mainly to difficulties in data assimilation and the ongoing nature of certain targets.
It is recognised that a more formal review would greatly help future decision-making and planning on biodiversity matters. It is a top priority for Namibia to update the NBSAP and continue using this implementation tool for national planning of biodiversity interventions. Namibia’s NBSAP was designed to take the CBD thematic programmes of work and cross-cutting issues into consideration and to address the key content of their substantive issues at that time (circa 2000-2002). A major draw-back has been that updating of the NBSAP to incorporate more recently developed guidance, work programmes and cross-cutting issues of the Convention has not taken place – although some key aspects have been addressed (e.g. Namibia had incorporated work on mountain biodiversity even before such a programme of work was agreed to by the Convention).
Chapter III: Mainstreaming Biodiversity

The MET has been driving the mainstreaming of biodiversity into other sectors and programmes since the foundation of the National Biodiversity Programme in 1994. Biodiversity conservation is recognized as a key tenet of sustainable development and it is well integrated into Namibia’s long term development framework, which comprises of Vision 2030 and a series of 5 year National Development Plans (NDPs). While mainstreaming of biodiversity has taken place to a large extent, Namibia still experiences challenges with regard to the finalization and implementation of relevant policies. The importance of biodiversity conservation is also still not fully recognized by other sectors.

Over the reporting period, Namibia developed NDP3. The main thrust of NDP3 (2007/8-2011/12) is to accelerate economic growth while deepening rural development. NDP3 is comprised of eight key result areas (KRAs), one of which is the productive utilization of natural resources and sustainable development. This KRA aims to ensure the development of Namibia’s natural capital and its sustainable utilization for the benefit of the country’s social, economic and ecological well being. The NDP3 recognizes that this aim cuts across sectors, and outlines the ways in which the different sectors should contribute.

NDP3 also lays out a number of targets, which are monitored and evaluated at a mid-term interval and at the end of each five year cycle. The targets relating to the sustainable development KRA are closely aligned with those of the NBSAP and include indicators such as the area covered by conservancies, number of protected areas managed according to approved management plans and the percentage of targeted key wildlife species whose populations are stable or increasing. The mid-term evaluation of NDP3 is currently underway and the preliminary results show that Namibia is on track to meet many of its environment-related NDP3 goals by 2012.

Numerous biodiversity-relevant sectoral policies have been developed and/or promulgated since the last national report in 2005. The MET alone has developed more than eleven relevant policies and legal instruments key to biodiversity conservation since 2005. The finalization of such instruments, however, remains a key obstacle to mainstreaming biodiversity. The number of MET policies and legislation in draft form is an indication of this problem. Examples include the Pollution and Waste Management Bill (in draft form since 1999) and the Protected Area and Wildlife Management Bill, which has also been in draft form for many years. These pieces of legislation have very important roles to play in biodiversity conservation, and in mitigating some of the threats to biodiversity, and by not being brought to completion leave a significant gap in the national biodiversity policy framework. Even when important policies are finalized, regulations to make these policies legally binding often take many years to be approved.
It is difficult to measure the extent to which policies are translated into on-the-ground action. In general thorough implementation of Namibia’s excellent policy framework is lacking owing to shortages in human and financial resources, as well as the lack of a properly functioning decentralized system.
Recent analysis of budget allocation towards biodiversity conservation-related activities was undertaken through the MET Environmental Economics Unit, using planned expenditure data from certain directorates within the MET, MAWF and MFMR to approximate maximum government spending on biodiversity since 1990. The figures suggest that government investment in biodiversity is increasing. While this may be the case, it should be noted that this investment currently only accounts for approximately 3% of total government expenditure. Analysis further indicates that the MFMR has invested heavily since the mid 1990s on research and the development for a more effective management capacity. These investments in areas such as monitoring, control and surveillance, as well as research and training are a good example of long-term government commitment to biodiversity conservation of marine resources. While expenditures on parks and wildlife management and forestry research and management also show upward trends, this needs to be substantially increased given Namibia’s expanding protected area network and CBNRM programme.

Maximum total government spending on biodiversity (N$ 000s, 2010 prices)

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