Prince William visits Namibia

Floris Steenkamp

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge (pictured) expressed his satisfaction this week on Namibia joining the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance which seeks for the eradication of plastics, not only from the Ocean but also from all national parks.
The Duke of Cam-bridge made this re-mark during a Reception hosted in his honour earlier this week at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Windhoek, during his two days visit to Namibia.
It is the Duke’s first visit to Namibia. His focus was on conservation, in his capacity as the President of United for Wildlife, a global organisation working with Save the Rhino International to combat poaching in the Etosha National Park with innovative new technologies.
Here is the full version of the Duke’s address at the Reception. His address was not only business, but was also tainted with humour at his own and his spouse Catherine’s expense:
“I’m delighted to be visiting Namibia for the first time. I’m only sorry that my wife Catherine is not able to join me – she is immensely jealous. Particularly as I’m looking forward to a few good uninterrupted nights’ sleep this week away from my wonderful children!
I know that Her Majesty The Queen was very pleased to visit in 1991 when she met President Nujoma and welcomed Namibia into the Common-wealth. I was honoured to meet President Geingob when he visited London in April for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. I’m also glad to have met some inspiring Queen’s Young Leaders and Commonwealth Scholars here this evening.
Namibia remains a strong supporter of the principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter, and you have shown particular leadership on issues such as gender equality and climate change. I’m particularly pleased to learn that Namibia is joining the Common-wealth Clean Oceans Alliance as part of a Government programme to reduce plastics, including in national parks.
My visit to Namibia this week is focused on conservation. This is an issue very close to my heart, and I know is a matter of deep pride to you all as well. Your country is famous for its beautiful environment and wildlife. This is the reason why so many tourists, including tens of thousands of Brits, visit every year. Tourism continues to grow year on year and in 2017 ac-counted for 100,000 jobs – with the potential to add many more.
Protecting Namibia’s wildlife is crucial to realising this potential. I have been very lucky to see first-hand today in the Kunene region some outstanding conservation work. This is being undertaken with the support of the charity Tusk, of which I am patron, by both Save The Rhino Trust Namibia and IRDNC.
I was staggered by the beauty and sheer remoteness of this incredible landscape. And I was humbled by the dedication of the rangers who protect the unique population of desert rhino from poachers.
It was particularly inspiring to hear direct-ly from community leaders about the establishment of a People’s Park with some of the conservancies in Ku-nene. Initiatives such as this are crucial as they ensure that com-munities benefit from protecting their natural heritage and seek to reduce conflict be-tween humans and wildlife.
I am impressed also by how local communities, the Ministry of Environment, and NGOs are pulling together in Kunene to keep rhinos safe. It is a model that I hope others can follow, both here in Namibia and across the continent.
If I’d had more time, I would also have loved to have visited Etosha National Park. United for Wildlife, of which I am President, is sup-porting Save the Rhino International to use innovative technology to reduce the threat of poaching in Etosha. It’s another reason why I’ll just have to come back again.
Despite all the valiant efforts of so many across Southern Africa, there are places where levels of poaching remain unsustainably high. The latest figures show that a rhino is killed every seven hours. The Illegal Wildlife Trade is an international problem that requires deter-mined political leader-ship.
The species, geographies and drivers of the illegal trade are many and varied, and our approach to tackling it must be tailored.
Whatever approach we take, it must be based on evidence of what works on the ground with local communities.
This is why I wanted to come to Namibia – to listen and learn. It is also why Namibia’s voice and constructive engagement on these difficult subjects at the upcoming conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in London in October is so important. I am delighted that President Geingob will be attending and I look forward to welcoming him to London again in a few weeks’ time.
Thank you again for your warm welcome. It has been fascinating to meet people from so many different walks of Namibian life doing such important work. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

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