The Ministry hosted the Annual Conservancies Chairperson's forum in Otjiwarongo. The Forum provides a dedicated platform to assess and review the successes, opportunities and challenges faced by our communal conservancies.
The forum is attended by representatives of all the 86 Conservancies together with all key stakeholders including communities, Government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector, and donor agencies.
The two days event that started on Wednesday 17 July and ended on Thursday 18 July came up with strong recommendations that will serve as road map to better manage conservancies. The recommendations are focusing on aspects of improving governance, financial management and increase benefits to conservancy members.
The meeting was officially opened by the Minister of Environment and Tourism Hon Pohamba Shifeta, who urged conservancies to manage their resources for the benefit of the community as opposed to individual benefits. The Minister expressed concern that community conservation is overshadowed by complaints of financial maladministration and lack of benefits to communities.
He noted that benefits to communities must be at the heart of this programme and urged participants to do everything collectively to ensure benefits to communities are generated and directed to interventions that make a positive impact on the livelihood of communities.
The Minister reminded and reiterated the directive he made last year that at least 50% of the total annual income from tourism concessions and hunting or any income generated by the conservancies or community tourism concessions must be allocated towards implementation of community development project.
The Minister further directed that conservancies must strive to increase their revenue streams while also cutting costs as may be necessary to ensure they are sustainable financially and institutionally.
The meeting was officially closed by hon Bernadete Jagger who urged participants to take the lessons learnt to go and improve the general management of conservancies.