This activity underpins a larger effort to better manage Namibia’s key tourism asset, driven by GRN’s new Management and Business Plans for the Park. Once appropriate reform measures are in place to improve the institutional and management framework of the Park, it will be necessary to address the inadequacy and the current state of the infrastructure within the Park. The investment in infrastructure (management centres and staff housing) will focus on strategic locations, as already identified by MET, in the western portion of the Park. The investment in infrastructure will be fully contingent on meeting the performance targets outlined in Annex I. Given all the challenges associated with managing a large national park such as ENP, the MCA Namibia Programme is designed to support MET to manage the Park according to its existing management plan and to support tourism development in and around the Park. Beyond the reforms to the institutional and management framework, investment in appropriate and well-located management centres and accompanying staff accommodation is necessary. Currently, the housing infrastructure at ENP is inadequate resulting in difficult living conditions which hinder the ability to attract and retain talented staff to manage the Park given the remoteness of the Park. The investment in infrastructure is aimed at:
• reduce re-current costs to sustain old structures and allow for pro-active management and investment in new infrastructure.
• improve the geographical deployment of human resources and equipment thereby improving management efficiency and response time to threats such as poaching as well as enabling Park staff to better support regional tourism development.
• improve living conditions for staff. This will facilitate Park management’s ability to enforce and staff’s willingness to respect the Housing Policy.
• help attract and retain dedicated professional senior staff to manage the Park.
• move management centres and staff away from tourism centres and towards the periphery of the Park to ensure unhindered administration and management of the Park’s resources and to create a better tourism experience for visitors.
The MCA Namibia Programme provides for the construction of two major management centres in Ombika (southern border) and Galton Gate (western border) and upgrade nearby management centres at Okaukuejo and Otjovasandu respectively. The locations are indicated on the Map in Annex II. The work will include the construction and renovation of approximately 20 management and administrative structures and 115 staff houses. Given the environmentally sensitive location for construction, the MCA Namibia Programme makes provision for an Environmental Oversight Expert to oversee the construction activities in ENP. This expert will be funded by MCA Namibia but housed in MET. The EIA and related EMP will be an integrated outcome of the Final Design, Costing and EIA for the ENP infrastructure. Reference is made to Annex III for a summary of the environmental and social findings for the Tourism Project.