THE Federal Republic of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW) yesterday donated 10 off-road vehicles to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, as well as parts and equipment.
This includes equipment for water maintenance, camping, wildlife management monitoring, predator transport crates, workshop tools, and information technology.
Together with the 10 vehicles, the donation is valued at N$21,7 million.
Speaking at the handover event held at the ministry’s headquarters in Windhoek, the head of development cooperation at the German embassy in Namibia, Ulrike Metzger, said Germany’s development assistance to Namibia is rooted in the fact that Namibia is doing well in wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
Metzger said the conservation of biodiversity for the benefit of present and future generations is enshrined in the Namibian Constitution, and biodiversity conservation can improve people’s livelihoods, as well as contribute to economic development.
She said the assistance will not only enhance staff members’ safety, but also their capacity to fight wildlife crime in protected areas.
Metzger said although there has been some increase in poaching in recent years, Namibia’s rhino population continues to increase.
The executive director in the National Planning Commission,Wilhencia /Uiras, said biodiversity is of key importance to Namibia, where 70% of the population depends on this and other natural resources for their livelihoods.
She said conservation areas, which cover more than 40% of Namibia’s landscape, are fragmented, underfinanced and lack landscape coordination.
/Uiras applauded Germany for its assistance, saying the past two years’ assistance from Germany amounts to more than 33,3 million euros, almost half a billion Namibia dollar.
Minister of environment, forestry and tourism Pohamba Shifeta said the ministry will strive to make sure no wild animal is killed illegally in Namibia, and that wild animals and other natural resources are conserved for the benefit of all Namibians.
He said Germany’ assistance comes at a time when Namibia is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, which negatively impacted the tourism sector.
Shifeta said the equipment donated will help strengthen the ministry’s staff in conducting patrols in protected areas, and managing these areas in general.