Environment minister calls for finalisation of laws
The Coastal Biodiversity Management Policy, Protected Areas and Wildlife Management Bill, as well as the Access and Benefit Sharing legislation must be finalised without any further delays, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, told her staff at a recent meeting.
Nandi-Ndaitwah, further says she would like to see an increase in public awareness on environmental issues.
Speaking at the fourth strategic management meeting of her Ministry at the coast recently, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the environment ministry must also address issues such as the management of waste and the “broader brown environmental issues” throughout the country.
“We must not sleep, but have to oversee the implementation of the National Climate Change Policy. Among others, we have to work with Ministries in particular, the National Planning Commission, to ensure that the National Policy on Climate Change is taken on, in the formulation of the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4). We must be serious on the conduct of environmental assessment and we must be on the look out for new mines and other activities that have a serious negative impact in the environment,” the Minister said.
According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism achieved significant milestones during 2011, however, some challenges still remain. These challenges include vacant posts at the Ministry, as well as slow response time to enquiries from the public.
“I want us to have a coordinated focus and set ourselves achievable goals. I would like to see the full implementation of our new structure – all positions should be filled. I don’t want to see senior posts filled on the expense of junior posts. The establishment of the environmental commission signals the operationalisation of the Environmental Management Act. However, unless, there is an appropriate number of staff, the commissioner alone will not be able to do much, and the implementation of the Environmental Act will be a nightmare. I therefore want all the posts related to the commission to be budgeted for and filled during the 2012/13 financial year,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Amongst the Ministry’s achievements are its restructuring, the establishment of the Policy, Research and Development Committee which accelerated the finalisation of the Human and Wildlife Conflict Policy; Namibia National Policy on Climate Change; regulation for Environmental Management Act which was gazetted in February this year and the capitalisation of the Environmental Investment Fund.
Other achievements include the proclamation of the Dorob National Park as well as the gazetting of the Sperrgebiet National Park and the gazetting of 77 conservancies.