Final Evaluation of the Integrated Co-management of Zambezi/Chobe River Fisheries Resources Project (2nd Phase)

Published: 2012 by WWF-Norway
Commissioned by:WWF-Norway
Carried out by:Dr Simon Munthali
Tags:Namibia, Climate and environment


This project was designed to address unsustainable exploitation of the fisheries resources shared between Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. It was implemented between January 2010 and December 2012, covering the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers and the area between them which includes more than 300,000 hectares of floodplains in the eastern Caprivi. This project was building on the activities of the 1st Phase of this project, which took place between 2007-2009.  This evaluation was undertaken in accordance with the WWF Network Standards which stipulates that all projects require an evaluation to assess whether it achieved what it set out to do.  This is a crucial element of adaptive management and part of our programme cycle.

The purpose of this project was to establish a fully integrated and sustainable management system for livelihood and sport fisheries, that provided benefits to all stakeholders reliant on this resource by 2012. This was to be achieved through: cross-border collaboration,  harmonisation of essential elements of the fisheries legislation, establishment of community Fish Protection Areas and community management institutions,  collaboration with tourist angling lodges and capacity building in research and monitoring of fish resources.

Review of project reports and other documents; inspection of some project sites, meetings with key stakeholders, and undertaking one-to-one interviews with representatives of various stakeholders, such as NGOs, government officials, local communities, private sector/lodge owners and the Project Executants.

Key findings:
1. This project was found to very relevant at regional, national and at local levels as it contributed to the abatement of overexploitation of a critical socio-economic resource, which is also of biodiversity significance.
2. Achievement of outputs: this ranged from good to very good
• Cross border collaboration: fisheries management was integrated into the existing transboundary community forums; the first meeting of the fisheries sub-committee of the Namibia-Zambia Transboundary Joint Commission was facilitated as a means to kick-start biannual meetings
• Harmonising of essential elements of Fisheries Regulations: whilst this process has not been finalised, good progress was made, for example in undertaking regular transboundary joint surveillance of the shared aquatic resources.
• Establishment of Fish Protection Areas (FPAs): two FPAs have been zoned and provisionally established in Namibia. Everything has been done except for the final step of gazettement, which needs follow-up. The evaluation confirmed during a site visit to one of the FPAs that there is an abundance of fish (which could be seen from the banks of the river), and there were no illegal nets in the FPA. The evaluator found that, “The recovery of fish within a year of establishing these FPAs is remarkable.” In Zambia, with support from the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), areas of the Zambezi River channels have been zoned and mapped as Fish Management Areas (FMAs), which is complementary to the work done in Namibia. Overall, establishment of FPAs/FMAs, though none has been gazetted so far, has been one of the important milestones of this project’s success.  These aquatic protected areas enable fish to grow and breed without interference, and are vital in restocking surrounding areas with fish stocks to supply a healthy fishery.
• Community fisheries management institutions: In Namibia, two have been integrated into the existing conservancy management institutions, and 12 new ones developed in Zambia (working with the project and AWF).
The evaluator found that the project’s goal and purpose, however, could not be achieved within only three years, as these are long-term undertakings requiring sufficient time to build governance institutions at all levels and to generate sufficient capacity. This was recognised by the project implementers who designed a follow-up project which has received funding from the European Union for a four year period which builds on the foundation of this project, thus providing opportunity to fully deliver on additional milestones that will contribute towards the attainment of the project’s goal and purpose.

WWF and its project partners should:
• Pursue amendment of the Namibian Inland Fisheries Act to allow for full decentralisation and delegation of fisheries management to Conservancies, and the gazettement of FPAs.
• Lobby to enable communities to have licensing responsibility, so that revenues generated through these can be ploughed back in fisheries management.
• Further build the capacity of local governance institutions so that they can undertake, and sustain surveillance and management of their FPAs into the distant future
• Facilitate formal harmonisation of the transboundary approaches to fisheries management and utilisation.

Comments from the organisation, if any:
This evaluation forms an important foundation for the continuation of this work with EU funding (mentioned above), and the recommendations of this evaluation will be followed up in that project.


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