The MDG-F Culture and Development Joint Programme, funded by the Government of Spain, is a nationally owned programme that seeks to promote pro-poor public policies, strengthen national and local capacities and involve and benefit local communities. This programme is supported by 4 United Nations Participating Organisations (UNESCO as lead agency, ILO, UNEP and UN-HABITAT) and other partners such as civil society and the private sector. This is an initiative of the Government of Namibia which is implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Youth National Service Sports & Culture.
The MDG-F Joint programme on “Sustainable Cultural Tourism in Namibia”, aims to draw on cultural tourism development as a vehicle for poverty reduction, particularly among women, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. The programme activities have been designed in line with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) objective 2, which states that “By 2010, livelihoods and food security among most vulnerable groups are improved in highly affected locations”. The Joint Programme further seeks to support the Government of the Republic of Namibia (GRN) in achieving its developmental goals as elucidated in the Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan (NDP3). The global objective of the fund is to help the Namibian government to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In this regard, the Joint Programme help achieve the MDGs 1, 3, 6 and 7 by focusing on (i) poverty reduction, (ii) gender mainstreaming, (iii) mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS issues linked to the cultural tourism sites and (iv) ensuring the sustainability of environmental/cultural assets, a core-element for poverty reduction, especially for those depending on cultural/natural resources. The programme thus strongly advocates the improvement of livelihoods/food security and empowerment of rural communities through the promotion of Cultural Tourism in Namibia.
Additionally, the programme emphasizes national ownership and participation of local communities, with particular emphasis on indigenous peoples, in cultural heritage tourism activities based on 3 outcome areas: creating a knowledge base; evaluating and creating awareness about legislation related to cultural heritage; and finally, developing pilots using knowledge base and streamlined policies and legislation to improve livelihoods.
Namibia can offer much more than what is currently sought after by mainstream visitors/tourists.Heritage sites, arts and crafts, and traditional ways of life add a broad and rich variety of interests to the entertainment most visitors are expecting when coming to Namibia. Moreover, such assets are, by their very nature, enshrined in the people’s lives and livelihoods, thus linking any spill over from tourism to their immediate welfare and social change. In line with this, the government of Namibia together with the participating UN agencies have identified 5 intervention areas (11 pilot sites) across 9 regions, namely:
1. Cultural Villages (Kapande Cultural Village – Kavango region, Opuwo Cultural Village – Kunene region, Tsumkwe Cultural Village – Otjozondjupa region);
2. Cultural Trails (Katima Cultural Trail – Caprivi region, Cultural Trail linking Oshikuku, Elim, Tsandi, Okahao and Omugulugwombashe – Omusati region);
3. Cultural Centres and Interpretive Centres (King Nehale Cultural Centre – Oshikoto region, Khorixas Cultural Centre – Kunene region, Ozombu Zovindimba National Site and Interpretive Centre – Omaheke region, OmugulugwombasheInterpretive Centre – Omusati region);
4. Cultural Industry (Dune Tannery Duineveld – Hardap region;
5. And a Geopark (Gondwanaland Geopark - Erongo, Kunene and Otjozondjupa regions).
 Other national partners of the JP are:Ministry of Education; Ministry of Environment and Tourism; Ministry of Mines and Energy; Ministry of Regional Local Government and Housing and Rural Development; National Planning Commission; Namibia Association of Community-based natural Resources Management Organizations (NACSO); Namibia Community-based Tourism Association ; Polytechnic of Namibia; University of Namibia; Museum Association of Namibia; National Archives ; National Heritage Council ; National Theatre of Namibia ; National Institute for Educational Development ; Geological Survey of Namibia