The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism will conduct the National Conference on Human Wildlife Conflict Management in Windhoek from May 10 to 12, 2023, at the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM).
According to the ministry’s chief public relations officer, Romeo Muyunda, human-wildlife conflict refers to the conflict between wild animals and humans.
“In Namibia, conflicts have been increasingly regular and serious in recent decades. This is due to human and wildlife population increases, unplanned agricultural operations, and development of agricultural and industrial activities, all of which have resulted in greater human encroachment on formerly wild and deserted regions. The competition for accessible natural habitats and resources has grown. Furthermore, climate change is exacerbating these conflicts. Drought has exacerbated the situation in much of the country over the years,” Muyunda added.
Muyunda went on to say that the conflicts have resulted in the damage of crops and water facilities, as well as the loss of cattle, residences, and, in some cases, human lives. As a result, strategies to alleviate the effects of this conflict must be developed.
In accordance with the objectives outlined in the National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management, a range of measures may be applied to manage the conflict efficiently and effectively. These include prevention strategies, which aim to prevent the conflict from occurring in the first place and address its root causes, protection strategies, which are implemented when the conflict is certain to occur or has already occurred, and mitigation strategies, which aim to reduce the level of impact and lessen the problem.
“The conference will examine progress, opportunities, and challenges in implementing the 2018 Revised National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management. The conference will also discuss specific prevention, protection, and mitigation strategies for specific species and specific areas of the country, and will come up with resolutions on how such strategies can be implemented,” he stated.
Representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism; line Ministries/Offices/Agencies; Regional Councils; members of Parliament from the National Assembly and National Council; traditional authorities, conservancies, and community forests; farmers; agricultural unions; Non-Governmental Organizations; Institutions of Higher Learning; researchers; the private sector; hunting associations; and other organizations or individuals will attend the conference.
Muyunda stated confidently that the conference will produce resolutions and mechanisms to reduce the level of human-wildlife conflict, to ensure that the benefits of conservation far outweigh the costs, and to build on the significant successes in managing human-wildlife conflict.
“This will aid in forging a balance between conservation goals and the requirements of people who live beside animals,” he clarified.