WINDHOEK: Corporate partnerships have the power to contribute to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), hence they deserve special consideration.
This is the view of Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Namibia, Musinga Bandora, presented during a farewell function of the Strengthening the Protected Area Network (SPAN) Project at a local hotel on Friday evening.
The aim of the SPAN Project is to better manage Namibia’s protected areas for the conservation of plants and animals, and to share benefits and responsibilities.
The six-year project began in 2006, and comes to an end officially at the end of this year.
It is housed within the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)’s Directorate of Parks and Wildlife Management, and receive funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In a statement delivered on his behalf by the Head of the Energy and Environment Unit within the UNDP, Martha Mwandingi, Bandora noted that partnerships are the way to go particularly when the developing world, Namibia included, is confronted with multiple challenges that need to be addressed by delivering results in challenging environments.
“Donors, Government entities, the private sector and local communities all need to work together in partnerships if Namibia and other developing economies are to meet their national development goals at a pace and with the urgency that they are required,” he stressed.
According to Bandora, the power of partnerships goes beyond project activities to authentic development for Namibia, and is more likely to leave lasting legacies then those that are short-term and input-focussed.
“Great benefits and opportunities can come about through partnerships,” he noted.
However, the UNDP official warned that there are challenges as well, and these include suspicion of others involved, and lack of trust; fear of losing a separate identity; unacceptable inequalities of power and control; failure to recognise different personality types and communication styles within the partners; and lack of clarity on roles, responsibilities and leadership.
Bandora explained that the challenges that MET face could not be solved with small, nor with the GEF resources alone, or in a short timeframe.
Consequently, MET committed to co-finance elements of the SPAN Project through what is called a cost-sharing agreement, whereby a country gives money to the UNDP to manage and implement it on their behalf.
To date, three ministries have done this in Namibia: MET, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) within the Ministry of Education.
“Through the SPAN Project, Namibia was able to achieve more than it should, had it not embraced or encouraged partners to come on board. Further, by aiming higher MET and all its partners were able to face fears, barriers and challenges in a manner that gave all the partners hope and courage to do more,” he added.
The SPAN Project was conceived to help lift barriers to improve management effectiveness in the Protected Area (PA) system.
It focused on three broad intervention areas: strengthening systemic capacity, namely enabling legal and policy environment and financial mechanisms for PA management; strengthening the institutional capacity for PA management; and demonstrating new ways of PA management at four field demonstration sites.
These sites are the Bwabwata – Mudumu – Mamili Complex; the Etosha – Skeleton Coast Link; Ai-Ais Resort; and the Sperrgebiet.