SKEP Namibia is about to embark on an ambitious conservation and management trajectory. The SKEP office in Namibia is co-ordinated by the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) and is currently busy with the great task of consolidating the management process of Succulent Karoo hotspot and the recently proclaimed Sperrgebiet National Park with the aim of moving the programme forward.
The Sperrgebiet, which covers 26 000 square kilometers, is the most biodiverse region in Namibia and the Succulent Karoo plant kingdom, supporting more species of succulent plants than any other species on earth.
With the aim of building strategic biodiversity partnerships, SKEP Namibia will work closely with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) staff of the Sperrgebiet National Park. A key implementation component is the identification and implementation of local-level projects through a grants mechanism to manage the landscape better, whilst simultaneously, deriving sustainable benefits to communities neighbouring the park.
Research efforts will concentrate on the monitoring of key plant communities and flagship mammals; developing a park monitoring system and guide, a good-practice Restoration Guide with special focus on the rehabilitation of former mining areas.
To build a strong base and network for ongoing support to conservation and people’s livelihoods in the Succulent Karoo and broader Karas region, the design of an information centre for the Sperrgebiet National Park is underway. SKEP Namibia seeks to implement environmental education, stakeholder participation in the management and development of the Sperrgebiet National Park, and fostering links to the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park in South Africa.
“With the efforts of NNF, MET and partners, we hope that building on these small and humble steps, this rich hospot will remain intact for many generations to come” says Jonas Nghishidi, NNF project coordinator.
The proclamation of the Sperrgebiet National Park, an area covering 2.6 million hectares of the Succulent Karoo ecosystem is the most notable success of the SKEP Namibia programme. This proclamation now ratifies the 10. 5 million hectares of Namibia’s entire coastal conservation area, and has opened the potential for initiating landscape-level co-management public-private approaches within Namibia; transboundary conservation initiatives between Namibia and neighbouring countries due to a newly proclaimed coastal marine protected area of approximately one million hectares in Namibia; links to the Iona National Park in Angola; links to the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park in South Africa; and several private, communal and state protected areas.
SKEP Namibia in partnership with the MET of Namibia aim achieve the following long-term goal: Biodiversity in the Succulent Karoo ecosystem in Namibia must be effectively managed by the state and civil society through an integrated programme of conservation action and c-management of conservation areas for sustainable development of the region and for improvement of people’s livelihoods.
The Sperrgebiet National Park was proclaimed a national park on the 1st of December 2008, and is one of ten largest protected areas in the world. According to reports, the Sperrgebiet National Park in the Karas region will soon be renamed. Traditional leaders in the Karas Region have proposed that the park be renamed the Tsâu //Khaeb National Park. The name was suggested by the !Aman people who live in the area.