NACSO and the MET are proud to launch the State of Community Conservation Report as a web site. The book will still be printed, but the site will be much more comprehensive, offering all of our public conservation data worldwide at the click of a key.
communityconservationnamibia.com is your instant link to facts, figures, maps and more. All of the background information previously found in the printed report is here, but in more detail. As the site grows it will carry specialist articles and stories that illustrate the work of communities, conservancies, NACSO and the MET.
The 2018 printed report is in production and will be available soon in the new year. Several pages are devoted to the founding of the first four conservancies, which was the beginning of the CBNRM programme in Namibia. We hope that from next year the book will be printed in a slimmer form and earlier in the year, moving to an annual report format with reviews on our key work areas: natural resource management, governance and livelihoods. The report will be accompanied by a leaflet that we will be able to circulate widely, and will be useful to conservancies.
The State of Community Conservation Report has a reputation for accurate and reliable reporting, backed by hard science and extensive data collection. Over the years it has become a resource for university academics and professional conservationists worldwide. The web site will allow us to build on that reputation and extend it. It will be possible to compare this year's figures with previous years without hunting through databases or thumbing through old reports. We are continuing to automate our data collection systems with the help of conservancies using our integrated auditing system.
As Namibian conservation expands, perhaps in the future to a hundred conservancies linking conservation landscapes, and as transboundary conservation areas such as KAZA allow for the free movement of wildlife across national boundaries, we will continue to map and report on these developments. Learning and Sharing is becoming a way of life for us, as international visitors come to Namibia to look at our conservation model, and as we learn from our partners elsewhere in the world.
The past year has seen the revamping of the Institutional Development Working Group and a stronger approach to compliance with the MET’s Standard Operating Procedures for conservancies. Good governance and financial transparency have become our watchwords. These are strongly represented on the web site in the Big Issues section. This year Governance, Benefits, Human-Wildlife Conflict and Combatting Wildlife Crime are highlighted.
The site also has space for more personal stories, and we look at the lives of two women conservancy leaders. This important, because the web site, the printed report and the leaflet belong most of all to Namibian conservationists on the ground, working to protect wildlife and the environment, and to improve the livelihoods of their communities in rural areas through sustainable natural resource management.
After four years of drought it looks as if the rains will bring the Christmas and New Year that Namibians have been hoping for. NACSO wishes all of our partners, supporters and friends a wonderful festive season, and we look forward to reporting on the challenges and successes of 2020!
This will be the last time I compile some environmental news for this site. All of the stories can be found using the Environment Watch link below. I hope that NACSO will continue to collate articles about the climate, pollution, and about some of the solutions that are being proposed to deal with the devastation that large corporations, governments and human ignorance have caused and continue to perpetuate.
Sadly, environmental NGOs have generally not confronted the pollutors, preferring instead to fly to international conferences and produce more hot air. COP 25 is expected to add 60,000 tons of carbon to the atmosphere, mostly from flights, but there are committed scientists at the conference warning of the consequences of inaction.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has warned that oxygen in the oceans is being lost at at an unprecedented rate, with “dead zones” proliferating and hundreds more areas showing oxygen dangerously depleted as a result of the climate emergency and intensive farming.
Closer to home, the Zambezi is drying up, with only a trickle flowing over Victoria Falls. Although drought is periodic in the region, the Zambian president, Edgar Lungu, has called it “a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment”.
This is a global phenomenon. The droughts that have hit Australia have now given way to massive fires that threaten the city of Sydney. Temperatures are expected to reach 44°C in the Hunter region immediately north of Australia’s largest city.
Scientists and conservationists say, and say again, it’s not too late. We can limit the damage. But read this: “US output of oil and gas is forecast to rise by 25% over the next decade.”
The scale of new production is “staggering”, according to an analysis by Global Witness, a campaign group, with Texas leading the way. This makes it a “looming carbon timebomb” in a period when global oil and gas production needs to drop by 40% to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. “The sheer scale of this new production dwarfs that of every other country in the world and would spell disaster for the world’s ambitions to curb climate change,” the report states.
In other words, we can slow the catastrophe, and perhaps halt it – but only if we place the planet before profit.