Fifteen private tourism enterprises from Namibia and Botswana operating in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Areas (KAZA TFCA) are participating in the Learning Energy Efficient Network (LEEN), which is aimed at improving energy efficiency and carbon savings.
Situated in the Kavango and Zambezi river basins, KAZA TFCA is the largest transfrontier conservation area in the world and is a development initiative between the governments of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe with the support of the United Nations Development Programme.
The LEEN project, which was launched in Kasane, Botswana on Thursday, is spearheaded by the German government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and provides an opportunity to pursue an agenda that partner states firmly believe in reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable development.
Speaking at the launch, KAZA Secretariat Executive Director Nyambe Nyambe said the four-year project will equip participating enterprises with an understanding of their energy use and attaining energy efficiency in electricity, heating, ventilation, cooking and fuels, amongst others.
“KAZA’s vision is that we cannot do anything within KAZA outside the framework of sustainable development, therefore it is very encouraging that the LEEN project has an alignment with KAZA’s mission and has successfully been piloted within the context of sustainable lodges within KAZA,” he noted.
At the same occasion, the chief public relations officer of Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda said LEEN will play a significant role in addressing energy challenges faced by community-based organisations in KAZA. He said community conservation in Namibia plays a crucial role in enhancing livelihoods at grassroots levels.
Muyunda revealed that conservancies generated cash income and in-kind benefits of N.dollars 91.7 million for rural communities in 2021.
“The Namibian government allows conservancies to be given leaseholds to run tourism enterprises. In the Zambezi Region alone, there are 33 joint venture lodges developed and these organisations have limited capacities in terms of affording reliable infrastructure for energy production or simply the consumption cost,” he noted.
LEEN is a concept developed in Switzerland in the 1990s. Since then, the approach has been successfully transferred to Germany, France, Austria and now the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Source: The Namibian Press Agency