Since the 1990s community-based natural resource management has taken off in Namibia’s north east, with the establishment of communal conservancies and community forests. With flourishing wildlife numbers and tangible benefits to rural communities over the years, regrettably there was also a gradual increase in illegal harvesting of natural resources, mainly wildlife poaching, which robs rural communities of huge potential benefits.
Therefore, robust community-based security and law enforcement that directly involve communities to protect their resources was essential. This involves fostering good relations and information sharing between communities and conservation/law enforcement authorities in the region, and across neighbouring countries. The Namibian NGO Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) helped to facilitate the development of six TBNRM Forums, which are platforms for communities to learn and share information about natural resource management, and work to develop aligned ways of better managing their resources together. Wildlife crime prevention is one of the successful outcomes of the TBNRM Fora. The forums create a platform for communities living on either side of international boundaries to collaborate with their authorities by reporting suspicious activities in their areas. TBNRM forums are formed between local conservancies and cross-border communities in neighbouring countries. The TBNRM Forums were further strengthened through the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), formed between the five countries: Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The six TBNRM Forums are formed between:
These forums allow collaborative work on transboundary natural resource management, as members exchange information on wildlife crimes such as poaching, illegal fires, illegal fishing, etc, build informal networks of communities who act as a wildlife crime ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, conduct joint wildlife monitoring and joint anti-poaching patrols across borders, protect transborder wildlife corridors and facilitate peer lesson learning exchanges between the forums, their traditional leaders, other community leaders, law enforcement officer and government agencies.