Officials appointed to curb threats to forests
A total of 28 forest officials took part in the training, and 23 qualified after passing the final assessment. Eleven officials qualified to be appointed as peace officers.
Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said he expects these officials to lead by example and ensure that together they curb all the current threats to forest resources, namely logging and overuse.
"It is critical that we as a ministry improve integration so that officials are able to prevent crime and enforce multiple laws to tackle challenges such as poaching, illegal timber harvesting, pollution and the illegal trade in protected species."
The training of the officials was undertaken by police experts and followed an integrated approach covering different legislation, including the Forest Act and its regulations, the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1975, the Environmental Management Act as well as the Criminal Procedure Act.
"These are key pieces of legislation that every forest officer must learn, must know and must put into practice. Law enforcement requires well-trained officials who should have investigative skills, skills in crime scene management as well as the ability to present evidence before the courts in order to achieve positive prosecution."
Shifeta said the ministry is committed to creating opportunities in all spheres of development - be it mining, climate-resilient agriculture, timber harvesting, charcoal production, wildlife utilisation or value addition to Namibia’s indigenous plants and natural resources.
“However, this must be done based on the principles of sustainability and application of science, and regulated accordingly. The key to building on these opportunities and tackling the challenges we face is to have a dedicated and well-trained workforce. A workforce that is working to prevent unsustainable and illegal resource use which further drives environmental degradation and the disenfranchisement of our people.”