Strengthening Protected Areas Network (SPAN) Project

What is the project about?

Wildlife in protected areas. Photo - UNDP

The Strengthening Protected Areas Network (SPAN) project that ended in 2012, aimed to weave together the different protected areas and leverage natural wealth for communities, while at the same time maximising the benefits of tourism, Namibia’s third biggest industry, for conservancies. In the process the management of protected areas was greatly enhanced. Namibia’s dryland ecosystems are a globally significant repository of biodiversity, acclaimed for their species richness, habitat diversity and biological distinctiveness. The country has established an impressive System of Protected Areas, managed by the State, which constitutes a cornerstone of its conservation programme. This system comprises 20 protected areas, covering 13.8% of the terrestrial area (114,000 km2). The project specifically focused on State Protected Areas and on terrestrial ecosystems, as well as complementing other initiatives in production landscapes and in coastal and marine ecosystems. The project is divided into two phases, the first with a six-year duration– will focused on three broad areas of intervention:

  • Strengthening systemic capacity, namely the enabling legal/policy environment and financial mechanisms for PA management;
  • Strengthening the institutional capacity for PA management; and
  • Demonstrating new ways and means of PA management, including partnerships with other government agencies, local communities and the private sector, to add to the range of options currently available.

The project was designed to address the generally poor state of PAs in Namibia with insufficient infrastructure and poor management due to a systemic undervaluation as reflected by insufficient system financing. In addition, the following barriers also hinder sustainable management of parks: a fragmented policy framework; weak institutional capacities, weak human capacities for protected area operations, incomplete bio-geographic coverage, and the absence of tested mechanisms for public-private-community partnerships.


What have we accomplished?

By the end of the SPAN project in 2012  the following outcomes were achieved:

  • Improved Systematic Capacity Provides Enabling Framework for Enhancing Protected Area Management
  • Institutional Capacity for PA Management are Strengthened resulting in more effective use of Financial & Human Resources
  • Protected Areas Management Know-How is expanded and reinforced through innovative field management demonstration

Who finances the project?

Donor Amount in USD
Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) core budget funding 26,000,000
Global Environment Facility (GEF) 8,500,000
KfW 7,000,000
Total Funds (2004-2012)
Project Overview
Project Status
Project Duration
2006 - 2012
Geographic Coverage
Focus Area
Biodiversity Coservation
Government of Namibia (Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Finance), Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC), German Government (KfW Bankengruppe) and Conservation International
Focal Point
Martha Naanda