General Information


A:  ABS Capacity Development Initiative – partner country since 2008, supported though GIZ-BMCC 1(2011-2015), GIZ-BMCC 2 (2015 -2020) and GIZ CCIU (from 2021)

B:  ABioSA - regional intervention country 02/2018- 12/2024

C:  Bio Innovation Africa (BIA) -  07/2019 – 12/2025

Why Namibia?

Long standing partner country of BMZ in Natural Resources Management, and Climate Change. Unique Biodiversity and Ecosystems. Advanced community and resource governance systems. Leading country in negotiating the Nagoya Protocol, experiences in establishing benefit-sharing agreements.

Namibia offers a remarkable variety of habitats and ecosystems. These range from extremely arid desert areas (including the oldest desert in the world) with less than 10 millimeters of rainfall per year, to subtropical savannahs with over 600 millimetres. It is one of the few dryland countries worldwide with internationally recognised biodiversity “hotspots”. Namibia includes a clause in its constitution targeting the sustainable management of biodiversity. Natural resource-based sectors including mining, fisheries, agriculture and tourism are the basis of the Namibian economy, and around 70 per cent of Namibia’s population is directly dependent on the natural resource base for income, food, medicinal and health needs, fuel and shelter. The high level of species richness and endemism is a national asset and a significant global treasure. This situation demands that biodiversity, and the ecosystem services it provides, are maintained and enhanced as far as possible for sustainable development.

Namibia is recognized as a global leader in conservation and nature-based rural development. Its State-run Community-Based Natural Resource Management Program (CBNRM) is a successful example of decentralizing natural resource management and recognizing the rights and development needs of local communities. The CBNRM Program is the main reason behind an overall expansion of land area under conservation management. CBNRM land comprises the largest share of land under conservation in Namibia. Forty-five percent of Namibia’s conservation estate is protected under the CBNRM designation, while 38% is protected under a formal state protected areas designation. Namibia’s CBNRM program successfully intersects biodiversity and wildlife conservation, human well-being, livelihoods and poverty reduction.

Adjustments in the policy and legal framework have transferred rights over wildlife and natural resources to organised Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) groups (Conservancies and Community Forests) in Namibia’s most marginalised rural areas.

Namibia is a multi-cultural society with a high level of traditional and local knowledge of wild foods, medicinal plants and other resources. Many of Namibia’s indigenous plants, traditionally used for food, medicine, oils and other products, are now being promoted on a commercial basis. Namibia’s most successful commercially-sold indigenous natural products include those derived from Devil’s Claw, Hoodia, Marula and Commiphora. The latter two are covered by ABS agreements.

Since 2000 Namibian stakeholders have developed an innovative coordinated national “pipeline approach” to proactively creating sustainable economic opportunities based on harvesting, processing and trading indigenous plants and natural products. The process is steered by the Indigenous Plant Task Team (IPTT), a multi-stakeholder coordinating body chaired by the Directorate of Agricultural Research. Although it is estimated that indigenous plant-based products currently only contribute about 5% of GDP, there is considerable scope for this to be expanded to the benefit of rural communities across the country. A challenge still remains, namely to improve the primary producers’ benefits from the successful marketing of biodiversity-based products.

Namibia has been working on its ABS bill since 1998. This was put on hold in 2006 due to the negotiation of the Nagoya Protocol, and resumed in 2014. An ABS law was adopted in 2018. Implementing regulations are expected to enter into force soon. 

However, ABS has been operational already since 2007 by means of the Interim Bioprospecting Committee (IBPC), established by Cabinet, to regulate and facilitate access to genetic resources / biological resources. With regulations in place, IBPC is to be transformed into Competent National Authority (CNA) of Namibia.

Aim and objectives

ABS Capacity Development Initiative: The overall aim of the ABS Capacity Development Initiative’s work in Namibia is to support the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in all its dimensions.

AbioSA: Strengthening market access and regional collaboration of the Namibian natural product sector 

Bio Innovation Africa has the following objectives in Namibia:

  • Requirements for implementation of the national regulations on access and benefit-sharing are improved.
  • Mechanisms for using the benefit-sharing scheme for biodiversity conservation measures have been developed.
  • Market potentials of selected biodiversity-based value chains are being used.

Further details

Video: Marula value chains in northern Namibia

This short film shows the traditional marula harvest in northern Namibia. The members of the Eudafano Women's Cooperative (a BioInnovation Africa partner organisation) collect and process the marula fruits to produce marula oil which is sold on national and international markets. Watch the French version of the video here.