Blue Economy rescues GDP
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, in Fiji last week affirmed the importance of Namibia’s Blue Economy and its potential to unlock future prosperity, naming projects in energy generation, aquaculture and mining as those with the most potential for the immediate future.
On energy generation, Shifeta revealed that a wind power station with a total capacity of 500 Megawatt, is far in the planning stage. The renewable generation of “blue energy” through strong winds off the coast in the southern part of the country, Shifeta said, is part of Namibia’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses and one of the most ambitious instruments under the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), which commits the country to source 70% of its electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030.
Namibia joined the international community on climate change as part of last year’s UNFCCC signing of signatories to the Paris agreement. “Additionally we are also putting in place legislation on the renewable energy initiatives in line with our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).
While narrating the national commitment for Sustainable Development for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” Shifeta said “the government has also put in place laws to promote aquaculture at both individual and household level.”
Listing aquaculture as one of the potential growth points of the blue economy, Shifeta said that to date there are a number of aquaculture projects that are not only generating income but are also employing more people, especially women and the youth. This approach, he said goes a long way to promote sound management of aquatic resources to secure livelihoods and enhance food security.
This approach Shifeta believes will go a long way to promote investments in the blue economy and to create more green jobs. “Our ocean is not only endowed with a variety of fish species but also very rich in minerals. The mining and the fishery sectors are among the major contributors to our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment creation” he said.
An integrated coastal management bill, which aims to protect coastal areas from pollution and unsustainable coastal developments is in the last rounds of consultations, Shifeta said, considering the country’s 1500 km stretch of Atlantic Ocean.
Again impinging on the fisheries domain, Shifeta said the total allowable catches are informed by regular scientific studies carried out in line with the established international scientific practices. “In addition, we have put in place rigorous legal and policy frameworks to mitigate the effects of offshore mining activities on the marine ecosystem.”
“This will undoubtedly help us to maximize benefits from our oceans while at the same time conserve our marine environment.” Shifeta said.