By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) has started conducting a series of workshops to discuss options for the integrated development of communal conservancies and community forests. Communities at the workshops are expected to come up with proposals on how to practise an integrated system of management, said Rolf Sprung, community forest adviser at the Namibia Nature Foundation. “If you have rights to earn money from tourism, as well as rights to manage trees, they can be better looked after if they both fall under the same management,” said Sprung. The focus of the workshops is on proposals for membership, management structures and benefit distribution schemes with local communities, already established management bodies and legal issues on constitutional arrangements. The first workshop was held in Kavango Region last week with the other three planned for the Caprivi and Otjozondjupa regions this month and Omusati region in August. Communal area conservancies and community forests are core components of the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme, but the two components are managed in isolation from each other. “Both strategies focus on the improvement of local people’s livelihoods through sustainable management of natural resources. Conservancies concentrate on the promotion of wildlife and tourism, and community forests focus on the protection and sustainable use of natural resources,” said a statement issued by the German Development Service on Wednesday. “While both conservancies and community forests follow similar approaches, they are based on different laws and regulations, are implemented by different ministries and have specific technical requirements for resource management,” said the statement. It said this emerges as an obstacle when communities want to implement both components in the same area, allowing their people to use wildlife and vegetation equally. Sprung said it was necessary to streamline the constitutional arrangements and to develop joint management strategies. The conservancies in these regions wish to adopt community forestry as an additional source of income and for the protection and improvement of game habitats. The workshops are organised with the support of the NNF, the ICEMA project of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the German-Namibian Community Forestry Project under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the LIFE+ Project.
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