AN Integrated Landscape Approach for enhancing Livelihoods and Environmental Governance Project to eradicate poverty, or in short the NILALEG Project that intends to re-establish forests in certain areas of Namibia has been officially launched.
The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, said the project is funded by the Global Environment Fund to the tune of N$161 million and it will be implemented until 2025.
“The project will directly support five sites, called focal landscapes, in five
regions namely – Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Zambezi and
Kunene,” said Shifeta.
According to the minister, at these sites, the project will seek to achieve a significant reduction in deforestation rates, while enhancing agricultural productivity, biodiversity conservation, sustainable management of natural resources and the income of small-scale food producers living in these landscapes.
“Coordination structures will be established at the landscape level to
ensure that at least 20 000 people across the five focal landscapes benefit directly from the project’s interventions,” he noted.
Moreover, Shifeta indicated that it would also improve cross-sectoral collaboration between different sectors, including private and public, in the fields of forestry, wildlife, agriculture, livestock, water, energy, tourism and other areas of development and it will address issues related to human-wildlife-livestock-ecosystem interface and sustainable value chain development.
Currently the Project targets that at least 10 000 hectares of woodland
and savannah are restored; 3 000 hectares are better managed in
Community Forests; 15 000 hectares are placed under new sustainable
crop/rangeland management or agroforestry and 10 000 hectares are prevented from biodiversity loss through the establishment of Regional
Speaking at the same occasion, UNDP Namibia Resident Representative, Alka Bhatia, said the NILALEG project is being implemented against the backdrop that 70 percent of Namibia’s population depends directly on the environmental natural resource base for food, fuel, shelter, medicinal and spiritual health and incomes and for livelihoods and food security. Two-thirds of these are rural small-scale crop producers who provide for their families’ wellbeing and livelihoods, while the rest are predominantly livestock farmers.
“Close to 20 percent of the country’s surface area was originally covered by dryland forests and woodlands, and of this, an estimated 8.6 percent remains under forest cover. This demonstrates that urgent action is needed to ensure the restoration and sustainable land management of the degraded lands,” said Bhatia.
Bhatia noted that the project, therefore, is aptly designed to promote an integrated landscape management approach that assimilates agricultural and forest landscapes sustainable practices; thereby, reducing poverty through sustainable nature-based livelihoods, protecting and restoring forests as carbon sinks, and promoting Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).
“The project shall support the implementation of unique integrated and sustainable landscape management approaches in five focal landscapes: Omaoipanga, Ruacana, Okongo, Nkulivere and Zambezi,” said Bhatia.
The project is designed to benefit a total of 20 818 beneficiaries of which 50 percent of the beneficiaries will be women.