STRENGTHENING THE CAPACITY OF THE PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM TO ADDRESS NEW MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES (PASS) PROJECT
Donor: Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Implementing Agency: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Executing Agency: Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)
Duration: 2014 - 2017
To ensure that the Protected Areas System of Namibia is strengthened and financed sustainably through, improving current systems for park entry and revenue generation mechanisms, improving law enforcement strategies and mechanisms to address poaching and other wildlife crimes and improving fire management in protected areas.
Component 1: Improving current systems for park entry and revenue generation mechanisms.
Component 2: Improving law enforcement strategies and mechanisms to address Poaching and other wildlife crimes.
Component 3: Improving fire management in protected areas
Project intervention sites
The PASS Project is targeting the protected areas of Namibia, however it is particularly focusing on specific areas, which are clustered as:
1. The Greater Waterberg Complex;
2. The Northwest Region which includes the Etosha National Park (ENP), Skeleton Coast Park (SCP), Dorob National Park (DNP); and
3. The Northeast Region which includes the Bwabwata, Mudumu, Nkasa Rupara and Khaudum National parks.
Project activities and progress to date (2014-2016)
Automated Park Entry and Revenue Collection System
The project is assisting MET to upgrade the park entry and revenue collection system from a manual to a computerized system. The system has two components, namely: (i) The park entry permits (at the park gates, where park entry permits are issued) and (ii) the Pay point (where payments are made). In addition, the system is automated and creates a database, with park entry and financial statistics. The data is automatically transmitted from each national park to the national server in Windhoek. The database is readily available and can even be accessed remotely. Most importantly, the data provides guidance for enhanced park management and future planning. As a pilot, the system is being tested in Etosha National Park (ENP) and upon satisfactory implementation, the system will be rolled out to the other Protected Areas (PAs). In addition, due to unreliable power source, the project has also assisted with the installation of solar power at Galton Gate, Otjovasandu, Etosha National Park for the efficient operation of the automated park entry system.
Impact and transformational change of the automated park entry and revenue collection system:
Park Entry Permits - Park entry permits are no longer issued manually, but electronically. Meaning, the park visitor’s identity document (ID and Passport) is scanned and the scanner transmits the information to the computer, where a park permit is generated, all electronically. The efficiency to process a permit has improved from about five (5) minutes to one (1) minute (depending on the number of visitors in the vehicle).
Gate Entry Personnel - No longer have to reconcile the gate statistics manually, as statistics are generated from the computerized system automatically.
Pay Point Personnel - No longer have to process payments manually and most importantly, the lengthy process of daily cash ups and financial reconciliations are no longer done manually, as these reports are now generated by a click of a button.
Park Wardens and Accountants - No longer have to spend lengthy hours in the office pairing the Park Entry Statistics with the payment, as well as tourist / visitor’s info for their monthly reports, because such reports are part of the new database and can be generated by a click of a button.
Auditing - The risk of miscalculations and lost documentation is greatly minimized and since all information is captured in the computerized database, the audit process is much easier, information is clear and it is easy to detect mismatches. The system is operated with specific access codes for each staff and if a mismatch is detected, the auditor can trace who the processor was. The audit has become much faster and more effective.
Waterberg Law Enforcement Training Centre
The project is co-financing the development of MET’s Law Enforcement Training Centre in Waterberg. The specialized law enforcement training centre is the first of its kind in Namibia and aims to provide continuous and specialized training to MET personnel and other law enforcement agencies on wildlife crimes. The training centre comprises of 20 x double rooms, a kitchen, a lecture hall and separate accommodation for instructors, and can accommodate 40 participants at a time. The training centre will officially be launched by April 2016.
To enhance the capacity of anti-poaching personnel, the project co-planned and provided training on the following courses:
• Crime Scene Investigations - to enhance skills for evidence collection for prosecution;
• Anti-poaching Patrols - to enhance anti-poaching patrol strategies;
• Use of metal detectors - to enhance skills for detecting ammunition cartridges and bullet trajectory at the crime scene as ballistic evidence for prosecution.
The project acquired and deployed a total of eleven (11) water tank trailers for anti-poaching operations in Etosha National Park, Kunene Region and North East Regions. Due to both the vastness and remoteness of law enforcement operational areas, water provision is essential for anti-poaching operations. Water provision enables anti-poaching patrol teams to reach and remain in the bush for longer periods and limits continuous back and forth driving to collect small quantities of water from the park stations.
In addition to the water tank trailers, the project has also assisted with the drilling and installation of solar powered boreholes at Mbakondja anti-poaching patrol camp in the Kunene region and at the Gwesha anti-poaching patrol camp in the Bwabwata National Park, Zambezi Region. Water will therefore be readily available for anti-poaching patrol teams at these patrol camps.
Due to limited network coverage, communication is a challenge for anti-poaching patrols and other law enforcement activities in Etosha, Kunene and North East Regions. As a result, the project acquired and deployed 27 satellite phones to enhance communication for antipoaching patrol teams. Satellite phones enable communication between law enforcement patrol teams as well as communication back to the stations for updates or back up or when they have a problem, e.g. vehicle break down. Apart from law enforcement, satellite phones are very useful during human-wildlife conflict, fire management and other park management activities.
Lack of camping equipment has also been a challenge for anti-poaching patrol teams, especially after the deployment of more patrol teams that are assisting MET to fight poaching activities. The project acquired and provided essential camping equipment for law enforcement operations in Etosha, Kunene and North East regions.
Amphibious Boats – All Terrain Vehicles (ATV)
The project acquired and deployed three (3) boats for anti-poaching patrols and other law enforcement operations in the flood prone / waterlogged North East region. The specialized boats are known as amphibious boats or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), because they can operate on land, in mud, as well in shallow and deep water. The specialized boats will enable MET and other law enforcement agencies to access islands as well to operate across water courses (ponds, swamps and rivers) and thereby improving law enforcement operations in the waterlogged areas.
Surveillance and Monitoring (Aerial Patrols)
As part of the law enforcement monitoring and surveillance, the project commissioned helicopter aerial patrol to aid ground operations in Etosha National Park in 2015. Helicopter aerial patrols allow law enforcement agencies to patrol large areas over a short period of time. For effective observations, the helicopter flies very low, in transects, to ensure that the whole area is covered. The massive rhino poaching discoveries in Etosha National Park were aided by aerial patrol.
In the same year, aerial patrols were also carried out in the Bwabwata National Park in the Zambezi Region (North East Region), that led to the discovery of a large number poached elephants.
Fire Management Coordination Forums
The project aims to establish fire management forums in the project focal areas. The purpose of fire management forums is to establish a platform where stakeholders in a defined area (national park and all adjacent land users). Fire management forums enable the stakeholders to combine their efforts (both man power and equipment), setting up fire-response army, alerting one another when there is a fire outbreak, learning from one another and from previous fire incidences and thereby enhancing the coordination of fire management at local level.
The aim of the Regional/localized fire management forums is to improved Fire Management practices: (a) Introduction of Early Burning to minimize biomass / fire load as a strategy to counter adverse fire impacts during the fire season, (b) maintenance of firebreaks and (c) creation of new fire breaks - where necessary, to contain, limit and confine fire outbreaks to smaller areas / burned patches at a time. To date, fire coordination forums have been established in Etosha National Park and in the Zambezi region.
Project Management Unit
Project Manager: Jonas Heita
Technical Advisor: Raili Hasheela
Field Coordinator – Northeast Region: Kosmas Shilongo
Field Coordinator – Northwest Region: Urioukwao Matundu
Administrator Accountant: Hilaria Haidula
System Administrator: Victoria Jason
Tel: 061 – 284 2505 / 2569