Year of environmental tipping points

05 December 2018 | Environment

JANA-MARI SMITH

The Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE) says 2018 has led to significant shifts in awareness on a number of issues in Namibia, including the Chinese-driven pillaging of timber in the north, the destructive role of plastic bags, the expansion of informal settlements and the impact of climate change.

Speaking on Thursday at a year-end function, NCE’s Chris Brown said 2018 will be remembered as the year “of deforestation and timber stripping by the Chinese, aided and abetted by the directorate of forestry and the ministry of agriculture, water and forestry”.

He said environment minister Pohamba Shifeta’s “firm intervention” by placing a moratorium on all timber harvesting, transport, sale and export should be applauded and hopefully signalled a “tipping point in woodland management and monitoring”.

Nevertheless, Brown warned that the danger was not over and that an urgent investigation into the forestry directorate should be launched. He added that an independent assessment of the rate of woodland loss over the past five years is critical.

Moreover, an effective reforestation programme was now needed.

Other tipping points in 2018 were the establishment of a National Solid Waste Advisory Panel, legislation banning plastic bags in national parks and pending legislation providing for a plastic bag levy, Brown said.

He praised plans to ban plastic bags and drinking straws altogether, and the pending introduction of a deposit scheme for single-use plastic bottles.

While the effects of climate change are increasingly being felt in Namibia’s agricultural sector, Brown said it had the potential of opening doors to alternative opportunities, including wildlife and all its uses such as meat, conservation hunting, high-value live sales and tourism.

“We need to move from a primary production land-use economy based on meat and protein sales to a service-based land-use economy, which is far less vulnerable to climatic events and highly competitive on the global stage.”

This model included buffalo as part of the wildlife mix, Brown said, and also the resumption of controlled international trade in rhino horn.

Over the past year the issue of growing informal settlements and their negative socio-economic and developmental consequences has received much broader attention.

“It is also the year that people started to realise that the answer was not to provide a few hundred expensive houses, but rather to provide thousands of minimally serviced and affordable urban plots which people could buy with a title deed.”

That would allow plot owners to invest in buildings and upgrade their homes at a pace that they can afford.

Brown said the NCE and others who have pushed for this model underlined the broad civil discontent over the issue of housing and the government now fully appreciated the issue.

Brown said the year unfortunately also highlighted “how ineffectual” the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process is in promoting sustainable development.

He said poor EIAs, low levels of professionalism, poor systems and poor reviews contributed to a “fatally flawed concept”.

On the bright side, there has been increased recognition and acceptance of the environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) community, which is wielding increasing influence.

“We need to use our voice wisely and judiciously, working for the best outcomes, often quietly behind the scenes and outside of public sight,” he said.

Similar News

 

TradePort gets manganese green light

13 hours ago | Environment

The environment ministry has issued TradePort Namibia, one of the South African companies planning to export manganese ore through the port of Lüderitz, an environmental...

Pangolin saving scheme paying off

2 days ago - 18 February 2019 | Environment

A reward scheme introduced in 2017 by Namibian authorities and NGOs to address an alarming increase of illegal pangolin captures and trafficking has proved successful....

Lion killed at Okakarara

5 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Environment

A male lion was shot and killed this week in the Okakarara area of the Otjozondjupa Region in yet another incident of human-wildlife conflict. ...

Bird flu kills hundreds of penguins

6 days ago - 14 February 2019 | Environment

Endangered African penguins on Halifax Island off Lüderitz are under threat from the H5N8 strain of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu. The acting...

Trans-boundary wildlife crime training

1 week ago - 13 February 2019 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITCountries that make up the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) need to provide for specialist prosecutors that have knowledge about all wildlife crime-related legislation...

No bail for repeat offenders

1 week ago - 12 February 2019 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says some of the 120 suspects arrested last year for wildlife crimes were repeat offenders who were out on bail for...

Moratorium on timber transport lifted

1 week ago - 08 February 2019 | Environment

The agriculture ministry has lifted the moratorium on the transportation of timber that was cut before 26 November last year. The executive director in the...

Greenpeace opposes Eskom compliance delay

1 week ago - 07 February 2019 | Environment

Greenpeace Africa is opposing Eskom's application for postponements and suspensions from complying with South Africa's Minimum Emission Standards (MES). In statement on Tuesday, Greenpeace Africa...

United against rhino poaching

2 weeks ago - 06 February 2019 | Environment

African countries are joining forces to fight against rhino poachers and come up with new and workable strategies to curb poaching. Environment deputy minister Bernadette...

Manganese culprits must pay

2 weeks ago - 01 February 2019 | Environment

Lüderitz residents have demanded an immediate moratorium on all movement of manganese ore to and from the town's harbour until sufficient social and environmental research...

Latest News

Boyfriend appears for Unam student's...

13 hours ago | Justice

Paulus Nghipulenga (27) has appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court for the murder of his girlfriend on Sunday evening at Ongwediva. She was...

Shaningwa humbled

13 hours ago | Politics

The Swapo leadership has ordered Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa to halt the recall of three Swapo councillors at Rundu, pending the outcome of a politburo...

First Lady enters shack fray

13 hours ago | Infrastructure

First Lady Monica Geingos has reached out to experts to bring their ideas on how to solve the housing crisis to the attention of policymakers....

Vehicle sales hit another speed...

13 hours ago | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – The 666 new vehicles that were sold in Namibia last month was the poorest January sales figure since 2006 and the lowest...

Marenica executes Namibian strategy

13 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy - Marenica Energy Ltd has lodged nine exclusive prospecting licences (EPLs) with the ministry of mines and energy in Namibia over the past...

Africa Briefs

13 hours ago | Economics

SA needs to build confidence in power sectorSouth Africa needs to invest more to rebuild confidence in its ability to supply power, its energy minister...

Taxed to death

13 hours ago | Opinion

In their report titled ‘Quarterly Economics and Fixed Income 1Q 2019: What Lies Ahead in 2019?’, Simonis Storm Securities (SSS) said during recessions, among the...

TradePort gets manganese green light

13 hours ago | Environment

The environment ministry has issued TradePort Namibia, one of the South African companies planning to export manganese ore through the port of Lüderitz, an environmental...

Low Orange River threatens grape...

13 hours ago | Agriculture

The dangerously low water level of the Orange River could have a devastating impact on Namibia's production of table grapes, an important export product earning...

Load More