Conservation value and special characteristics
The Greater Sossusvlei-Namib Landscape (GSNL) in South Western Namibia is governed by an association of landowners and custodians that collaboratively manage the site to enhance its conservation and socio-economic development. It represents a partnership between private tourism and nature reserve owners and public sector stakeholders such as the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibian Wildlife Resorts, the Ministry of Safety and Security (Police) and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (Clinc)
The Landscape connects the Namib Desert to the west and the more productive escarpment zone to the east, creating open movement corridors that allow migratory and nomadic species to move freely depending on climate and rainfall in search of grazing. The Namib Sand Sea on the eastern side of the landscape was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, and has the some of the highest sand dunes in the world. The Sossusvlei is the second most visited destination in Namibia; they receive almost 1 million visitors per year.
Due to inadequate infrastructure to accommodate the high number of tourists visiting the landscape each year, the landscape and the national park suffer from environmental degradation, as well as security, health and safety risks.
The dramatic characteristics of the landscape make it a valuable touristic destination. There is potential to channel some of the tourism income to support conservation and socio-economic development through landscape membership fees, conservation levies, corporate partnerships, and joint initiatives by tourist operators and property owners within the landscape. In-kind contributions by members support conservation and wildlife monitoring activities. Payments for ecosystem services and the creation of a trust fund for environmental and socio-economic projects are also potential options for the sustainable financing of the landscape.
INC is helping the GSNL to develop a conservation finance strategy. INC experts are working with the GSNL to undertake a stakeholder engagement process throughout the landscape to incorporate the views of all members on potential funding options. These views will inform development of a financial plan for the GSNL in Namibia.