NSFM-Project hosted its first Public Discussion Event in Rundu

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‘Sustainable Forests Management – Key to Adding Value to Local Development’ was the topic discussed during the High-Level-Expert Talk in Rundu on 08 April 2021. This successful High-Level-Expert Talk forms an important event in a series of upcoming Public Discussions in Windhoek, Rundu and Katima Mulilo which compromise key components of the ‘Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in the Kavango-Zambezi Region in Namibia  (NSFM) Project, an EU funded initiative jointly implemented by the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Namibia together with the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN).

Guided by a prayer of Father Linus Ngenomesho, the Apostolic Administration of the Rundu Vicariate, the High-Level Expert Talk was moderated by Mr Vincent Likoro. On behalf of the Governor Hon. Damian Maghambayi the Chairperson of the Regional Council Kavango East welcomed all participants and highlighted that this event ‘came at the right time when the region, particularly Kavango East Region, is discussing the modality on how better to benefit from our God-given natural resources of our green woodland savannah forest’. After the introduction to the event, HSF’s Resident Representative Dr Clemens von Doderer set the scene by elaborating on the event’s objective. Through the invitation of three experts – namely Mr Ndara Markers of the Directorate of Forestry (DoF), Ms Aina Andreas of the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) and Mr Isak Kaholongo of the University of Namibia (UNAM), the event aimed at shedding light on pathways of Sustainable Forest Managements’ contribution to adding value to local development.

The main part of the event started with the statements of the three experts. Ms Andreas put it in a nutshell when asking the audience and herself ‘Are we doing enough to preserve our forests, and how can we add value without cutting our forests down?’. Mr Markers added to it by emphasising in his statement that the best manager of resources is the user. The need to do more research in forestry and value-adding opportunities was stressed out by Mr Kaholongo.

The following open discussion was used by the participants to not only raise their comments generally but also to address their questions and advice directly to local and regional decision-makers which also attended in numbers. The need of the Directorate of Forestry to visit the administration of forestry resources at the grass-root level – namely the Community Forests – to see what is happing there is one point that stood out clearly. It was emphasised by the audience that all stakeholders need to align to coordinate their efforts to achieve collective goals. Next to the need for advanced networking and continuous exchange between stakeholders, moreover, it became obvious that there is an urgent need for education in forest management, price information on values of forests products, and an inventory to know what is there.

This successful Public Discussion event was rounded off by the Chairperson of the Kavango East Regional Council, Honourable Damian Maghambayi, giving the Closing Remarks.

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