By Anna Shilongo
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Willem Konjore, recently launched three publications and DVDs on the Namibian Sub-Region of the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme (SKEP).
The publications form part of a series of guides that cover topics on community visioning, monitoring of the Sperrgebiet and adjacent areas as well as 11 steps on rehabilitation in the Sperrgebiet.
The DVDs cover topics on the Orange River, Aus town lands, and the promotion of the Succulent Karoo through culture in Warmbad.
Speaking at the occasion, Konjore said the materials would help raise awareness about the unique and biologically important Sperr-
gebiet and Succulent Karoo Ecosystem.
He said the materials would also explain why some areas are a biodiversity hotspot of global importance.
The materials, which provide baseline information, also serve as a reference for administrators, managers and scientists working in the area.
They support and help guide the work of Government ministries, regional and local authorities, local communities, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions that are working or will work, in this rich but highly sensitive ecosystem.
“The materials launched here today provide management guidance and best practice advice for people responsible for managing the Sperrgebiet and surrounding areas,” said the Minister.
All this information contributes to the expansion of knowledge of the area.
“It improves our ability to conserve and promote sustainable development.
And it helps us achieve the long-term goal of SKEP, which is: ‘The people of the Succulent Karoo take ownership of and enjoy their unique living landscape in a way that maintains biodiversity and improves livelihoods now and in perpetuity’,” he said.
He said lessons from around the world have already shown that one of the best ways of improving levels of knowledge and management capacity is to share the practical experiences gained by practitioners by means of best practice guides.
“That is why SKEP has used this approach, drawing on local experiences and lessons learnt. This also helps develop standardised approaches and a common or shared vision between partners,” he added.
He said the benefits that flow from responsible sharing of information contribute significantly to a democratisation of opportunities and development of environmental management in any given country.
The open flow of information gives stakeholders real choices in conducting their daily affairs.
The authors of these publications also clearly defined the critical role played by information sharing contained in public records in the country’s economy and society.
Thanking the Critical Eco-system Partnership Fund (CEPF) for providing resources to support these pu-blications Konjore said: “We acknowledge with thanks your commitment to suppor-ting local solutions and local responses to local challenges and opportunities. You are helping to empower people to take control of their own development initiatives.”
Benedict M Libanda and Morgan L Hauptfleisch wrote the publications.
At the same event, SKEP Namibia, with funding from CEPF, presented grants to four communities residing in the buffer zone of the succulent biome amounting to N$261ǟ