Mutorwa calls for action to address environmental management
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Honourable John Mutorwa has called on all stakeholders to take positive action towards integrated development and management of the environment, water and other natural resources.
Mutorwa said all decision makers at all levels and sectors should make use of factual and objective scientific research and analysis to address climate change and its impacts. The Minister was speaking at a three day Stakeholders Consultative Conference of the Zambezi Environment Outlook held in Windhoek earlier this week.
The Zambezi Environment Outlook provided a current update and introduced new and emerging issues following the widely acknowledged State of Environment Zambezi Basin 2000 which was the first environmental assessment of a single ecosystem in Southern Africa. The basin is considered a source of livelihood for many of the people across the eight SADC member states, which Namibia is part of.
The conference focused on stakeholders’ participation and input on issues such as biodiversity, climate change, tourism, land and agriculture amongst others. According to Mutorwa, the conference comes at a time when the country was experiencing drought in some areas and in other cases floods in the Zambezi River has also displaced communities and destroyed crops. All these factors, Mutorwa said, contributed to the destructive changes on the basin’s state of the environment.”We thus need to urgently find appropriate strategies, individually and collectively, to sustain and protect these resources so that they continue to meet the current needs as well as those of generations to come,” Mutorwa told the stakeholders during the opening of the conference.
He added that the basin represent the best of what the SADC Region has to offer, in terms of natural resources because within the basin’s large expanse or surface area, there exist many natural resources ranging from water, land, soil, forests, wildlife and the minerals that are plentiful under the soil. “These define our Region’s main economic activities, including hydropower, agriculture, forestry, mining, fisheries, manufacturing and tourism,” said Mutorwa.
According to Mutorwa, the Zambezi basin is undoubtedly a vital resource that holds potential for closer cooperation of the eight member states in areas of environmental sustainable governance, agriculture, cultural heritage preservation and general socio-economic development. He said such cooperation also promotes peace, security and sustainable economic growth.
Since 1998, Namibia has been producing the State of the Environment Reports with the last one produced in 2004. The current Integrated Water Resources Management Plan was launched in 2012 and was succeeded by the Water Policy White Paper of 2000, the Water and Sanitation Policy of 2008 and the Sanitation Strategy of 2009. The Namibia Water Resources Management Bill is expected to be promulgated in Parliament this year and will in turn govern the utilisation and management of the country’s water resources.