Namibia is one of the few countries that award portions of state land to communities living with wildlife for rural sustainable development, economic empowerment, community conservation and employment creation. There have been recent conflicts arising in concession areas due to the misunderstanding of the policy and contractual obligations among different parties.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) together with NACSO organised a two-day tourism concessions workshop in Otjiwarongo which was attended by conservancy representatives, concession operators, NGOs, MET regional staff and the MET concession unit. The workshop was a platform to meet and discuss issues on concessions, to provide information and tools to resolve conflicts, to use practical examples to clarify the policy and to help different parties involved in concessions to better understand their roles and obligations.
Presentations on the concession policy, management issues, the challenges of maintaining contracts, concession fees, contractual compliance and conflict resolution all gave more insight to participants on the different topics. To have a better understanding on the issues and challenges arising from concessions in different areas, attendees were divided for group discussions which were presented back to the plenary and resolutions for each were discussed with agreements on the way forward.
The workshop ended on a positive note with participants better understanding the MET’s policy on concessions, the involvement of different parties and how to resolve conflicts in future. The resolutions and action points were accepted by all and more meetings of this nature were proposed in future.