LLF signs agreement with WWF and IRDNC

OPUWO: The Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF) has contributed N.dollars 924 million to support the conservation area of the Skeleton Coast-Etosha bridge in North-Western Namibia, through an agreement signed at Otjondeka in the Kunene Region.

The conservation bridge connects the two national parks and includes the first ‘People’s Park,’ a new conservation category that formalises community conservation. Its landscape was selected following LLF’s first open proposal call in early 2022.

A joint statement by the LLF, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) on Monday said the agreement commits N.dollars 18.9 million per year to the region, which includes multiple protected areas, communal conservancies, and buffer zones, for at least 50 years.

The long-term funding, it said, will help to manage the Namibian conservation hotspot more efficiently, reinforcing much-needed climate resilience initiatives, enhancing local livelihoods, and safeguarding fragile animal specie

The grant will be administered by LLF’s partners, the WWF and the IRDNC in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (MEFT), it read.

Furthermore, WWF and IRDNC will collaborate closely with local partners, rural communities, and conservation organisations to supervise implementation in the region.

In the statement, LLF executive director Stefanie Lang said the grant with WWF and IRDNC ensures reliable and substantial funding of N.dollars 18.9 million annually for over 50 years and with strong governance of local rights-holders.

‘We are very thankful to welcome this exceptional Namibian site into the LLF network,’ she said

Nik Sekhran, Chief Conservation Officer at WWF-US, said, ‘The agreement is an additional affirmation of Namibia’s conservation efforts and the critical role that people play in safeguarding wildlife and biodiversity throughout Namibia.’

The Skeleton Coast-Etosha conservation area will allow iconic animals like black rhinos and lions to wander freely from
coastal to inland locations, benefiting local populations, he said.

IRDNC executive director John Kasaona on his part said the legacy landscape allows them to prepare for the future, where communities could build on this relationship by deciding how they want their land maintained in the long run.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency