Towards a system of Payments-for-Ecosystem Services in Namibia’s Communal Conservancies
Large parts of Namibia are under community conservation initiatives, which form part of Namibia’s Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Programme. While the CBNRM policy provides rural communities with the opportunity to derive sustainable (financial or other) benefits from natural resources on their land through their participation in conservation efforts to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats, the systems have not always been self-sustaining and there has been significant variation in conservation and development outcomes across conservancies. A payments for ecosystem services (PES) system was identified as a possible option for improving incomes and conservation outcomes in these areas. Using a combination of behavioural, experimental and environmental economics research methods, namely framed field experiments and contingent valuation, as well as social survey methods this study sought to identify and evaluate the potential for introducing a PES scheme in communal conservancies, and to inform the design of such a PES. The contingent valuation analysis found that not only is the PES programme feasible from a willingness to accept perspective, but that the aggregate payments required under a PES programme are likely to be affordable. In addition, public willingness to pay for conservation is estimated to be higher than the aggregate level of payment required under the PES.