Namibia: Combating Land Degradation with Tools for Local-Level Decision-Making
Full Case Study (PDF, 1064 Kb)
Often described as “the land between two deserts”, Namibia is the most arid country south of the Sahel. In order to prevent land from becoming barren and the desert from encroaching, over the past 15 years Namibia’s government has pursued bottom-up approaches to natural resources management, particularly within the agricultural sector.
Since 1996, regular meetings known as Forums for Integrated Resource Management have enabled farmers and extension service providers to exchange locally-relevant information which in turn informs decision making for sustainable crop and livestock management. Central to the forums’ success is a decision support tool known as “local level monitoring” in which farmers identify and monitor critical indicators such as rainfall, livestock condition and fodder availability. Addition information concerning marketing of livestock, animal health and nutrition, rotational grazing and other rangeland management practices was provided by government agricultural extension workers through the forum. Together, this information has enabled farmers on the ground to make appropriate decisions for sustainable natural resource management.
In general the forums have been successful not only in building institutional capacity and social capital at the local level, but also in nurturing a feeling of inclusiveness and trust between remote rural communities and central government. The approach has succeeded by giving ownership to those involved, and therefore empowering local solutions to land management issues. While the initiative has greatly improved communication between decision makers and local farmers, it has yet, however, to make a significant impact on national level laws. Funding is also an issue, as the forums tend to be donor-supported, rendering them unsustainable when donor financing dries up.
About the Authors:
Susan Tambi Matambo has a Master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. At Yale, she focused her masters research study on the influence of global institutions on domestic environmental policy. She worked in various capacities for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat and Evaluation Office from 2004-2010, as well as with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Africa. Susan has lived in Africa, South East Asia and the United States and is currently an independent consultant working on climate change issues.
Dr. Mary Seely is an Associate of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and the Gobabeb Training and Research Center. She was formally the director of the DRFN and is currently director of Environmental Evaluation Associates of Namibia (Pty) Ltd and member of the Board of the Namibian National Planning Commission and the Millennium Challenge Account. During her career she focused on desert ecology, land degradation and desertification, shifting to water policy and integrated water resources management, and environmental and social impact assessments with an emphasis on participatory processes. She has published more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and co-supervised over 50 M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. She recently served one year on the Scientific and Technological Advisory Panel of GEF and on the editorial board of Journal of Arid Environments.
- Expert Perspectives on...
- Does climate change require new approaches to making decisions?
- How can we balance today’s pressing needs with long term risks?
- How can development agencies help vulnerable countries adapt effectively?
- Must we fundamentally change course to conserve ecosystems in a changing climate?
- How can information for adaptation decision making be collected and disseminated so as to advance integration of climate risks into plans and policies and be useful for those who need it most?
- What types of information are needed for adaptation decision making?
- Thought leaders explore how to meet both today’s development challenges and tomorrow’s climate risks.
- How can national-level governments learn from the private sector and encourage investment and decision making to promote the public good in a changing climate?
- How can civil society best support, and hold accountable, national-level governments in their efforts to integrate climate change risks into planning and policy-making processes?
- Case Studies
- Controlling Yangtze River Floods: A New Approach
- Building Resilience to Extreme Weather Events: Index-Based Livestock Insurance in Mongolia
- Namibia: Combating Land Degradation with Tools for Local-Level Decision-Making
- Nepal: Responding Proactively to Glacial Hazards
- Increasing Food Security: Mali's National Meteorological Service Helps Farmers Manage Climate Risk
- Indonesia: Managing Peatland Fire Risk in Central Kalimantan Province
- Mangrove Restoration and Rehabilitation for Climate Change Adaptation in Vietnam
- Bangladesh's Comprehensive Approach to Disaster Management
- Rwanda: Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Hydropower Production
- South Africa: Ecosystem-Based Planning for Climate Change
- China's Agricultural Development: Adaptation in Action
- Brazil: Fire and Flood Responses in the Amazon
- In-Country Simulations
- Decision-Making In Depth