Curbing illegal wildlife trade in Namibia could contribute to economy

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Two rhinoceros are seen in the Chobe National Park, northern Botswana, March. 24, 2015. The Kasane Conference on The Illegal Wildlife Trade was held on Tuesday in Kasane, the gateway to the Chobe National Park, with delegations from 35 countries and around 20 international organizations. (Xinhua/Lu Tianran)(azp)

A Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) of curbing illegal wildlife trade (IWT) in Namibia released Thursday said that the benefits of curbing IWT are significant and critical to the Namibian economy estimated at 11.3 million U.S. dollars over 10 years, assuming the current situation remains stable.

The CBA focused on three key actors leading current investments in curbing IWT in Namibia, the national government — including through public international aid, communities living on communal land, and private landholders, as well as nationwide impacts on the tourism industry at large, were also considered while two key species, rhinos, and elephants, are used as proxies for the suite of costs and benefits associated with curbing IWT.

The CBA which monetizes costs and benefits from IWT initiatives sets them up to be consistently compared across time, to inform and guide investment decisions.

In terms of benefits by type of actor, the government receives the highest benefits, at about 163 million U.S. dollars over 10 years, or about 16 million U.S. dollars annually. Private landholders also receive significant benefits, at about 157 million U.S. dollars over ten years, or about 15.7 million U.S. dollars annually.

Communities obtain about 58.6 million U.S. dollars of benefits over 10 years.

According to the report, the No Poaching scenario created the most net benefits, about 1.4 billion U.S. dollars over 10 years, to the Namibian economy.

“The cost of achieving these benefits was estimated to be about 151 million U.S. dollars, spread across the three groups of actors. In contrast, in the absence of these IWT curbing investments, economic losses of about 333 million U.S. dollars, could be expected (these are the results of the High poaching scenario relative to the BAU scenario),” the report stated.

The government, including international funding, bears the largest share of the investments being made to curb IWT (about 77 percent of the overall cost), subsidizing some of the benefits obtained by other actors.

This study also shed light on the benefits generated by the effort of all actors in curbing IWT in Namibia, while also highlighting the costs of protecting endangered species such as rhinos against increasing poaching pressures. Overall, the CBA shows that it makes economic sense to invest in curbing the illegal wildlife trade, the study shows. Enditem

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