Green development must be a joint effort
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has spoken out strongly against the private sector and civil society’s lack of involvement in developing policies in line with sustainable economic growth.
Speaking at a high-level briefing on green economy this week, Nandi-Ndaitwah said since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, the sustainable development process has been spearheaded by governments with very little input from the private sector and other role players in socio-economic development sectors.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said it is high time the private sector and civil society play a more active role in developing such policies.
“What we now need is to scale-up the means of implementation for sustainable development, make finance available, bolster technical diffusion and cooperation and build our capacity. The private sector and civil society must also play a major role in this process. Overall, the Rio+20 Summit should be about assessing progress towards sustainable development and meeting challenges through an action-oriented plan and enhanced means of implementation,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
The minister said Namibia can play a key role in setting the international agenda on sustainable development, specifically in areas such as clean and renewable energy production.
“If we are a trendsetter in environmental protection, we can turn our natural resources into wealth in Africa. But there is no real progress possible without equity at national and international level. We therefore view Rio+20 as the political platform that must consider the eradication of poverty within the context of sustainable development as a priority.”
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) will take place in Brazil from 20 to 22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which was held in Rio de Janeiro.
The objective of the conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress made over the past 20 years and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development as well as address new and emerging challenges.
Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasised that the Rio+20 Summit is not about negotiating marginal issues but must address the fundamental challenges of the 21st century, such as the development challenges of poor countries.
She further said Namibia has made significant strides in sustainable development as it has been mainstreamed into development planning.
“Vision 2030 serves as the long-term development framework for the country to be a prosperous and industrialised nation by 2030, developed by her human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability. Sustainable development is described as the cornerstone upon which this vision is built,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Policies and legislation such as the Green Plan, the Nature Conservation Amendment Act, National Drought Policy and Strategy, National Population Policy for Sustainable Human Development and the White Energy Paper; has been enacted since 1992 to guide sustainable development in Namibia.
However, there are a number of actions that the country should still take, Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
These include strengthening national institutions for sustainable development, investing in renewable energy, strengthening national environment policies, acquiring adequate financing as well integrating green economy in the context of poverty eradication.
“….Green economy builds on the concept of sustainable development and is not replacing it. Therefore it is the responsibility of all of us to work together to help change the economic landscape in Namibia, adopt the green economy and bring about benefits that are socio-economically and ecologically sound and sustainable,” the minister said.