Second edition of Environmental Law and Policy in Namibia launched
The journal is edited by Prof. Oliver Ruppel and Katharina Ruppel-Schlichting with various authors contributing to the edition. The second edition deals with matters relating to environmental law within the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as environmental management, conservation of biodiversity, renewable energy law, sustainable development and environmental journalism amongst other topics. According to Prof. Ruppel, Namibia has since Independence made progress on implementing environmental laws but is yet to implement an updated codex. “Over the past years, new legislation has been passed and environmental law and policy has gained momentum practically and academically, however, much has yet to be done as some laws are still on paper,” Prof. Ruppel said.
Speaking at the launch of the journal, Prof. Ruppel emphasised that although sectors such as mining contribute to the economic growth of the country, standards must be monitored with regard to the environment. “Yes we know mining creates jobs but investors should not be protected at the expense of the environment,” he pointed out.
Peter Koep, who contributed to the journal, together with Meyer van den Berg on the Practical Implications of Environmental Management in Namibia: a Case Study of Ohorongo said that ignorance contributes to the fact that most institutions do not really adhere to environmental laws. “It s one thing having the law but it is another implementing it,” he said. He said no matter how big or small a plan, it needs to be assessed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to obtain permission to proceed with a development that could alter the natural environment. Natalie Renkhoff, whose contribution focuses on renewable energy law in the country, says that Namibia is faced with a challenge of making decisions on how to properly inform the energy sector on the regulations of renewable energy. “ Initial steps have to be taken to create some key policy decisions regarding what Namibia’s energy mix will look like in future and to which resource, be it nuclear or renewable, preference is given as not all generation options can be developed further with equal intensity,” said Renkhoff.
Local environmental freelance journalist, Absalom Shigwedha, said the media can influence the direction environmental policy and growth will take. “Factors such as climate change, desertification, flooding and erosion are environmental issues in the country that need to be brought into the media scene with more vigour. The media should therefore provide a more enabling environment for public debate,” Shigwedha maintained adding that the journal is a good initiative whereby other countries can emulate Namibia’s good example. A limited number of hard copy editions of the journal is available but interested persons can also download the journal from the internet.