Environment is critical

There is a lack of awareness from Namibia’s decision makers and the general public about the importance of the environment.

This is the view of the Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta.Shifeta said there is a need to adopt a smarter and more comprehensive approach to reaching stakeholders on the importance of the environment.According to him, people need to know the economic value of the environment and the resources of the environment they manage on a day-to-day basis.

He said this is why the publication of the natural resource accounts and the State of the Environment report is of such importance.Shifeta said there is also a need to embark on awareness campaigns about the importance of the environment that are well-planned and cost-effective.

These awareness campaigns need to cover the full range of environmental issues from waste management to climate change, and social media, to engage all people in all corners of Namibia so that behavioural change among people takes place, the minister said.
Shifeta further added that in terms of multilateral environmental agreements and international issues, 2015, was a year of major significance which has really raised the importance of the environment into the general consciousness.

According to him, the new Sustainable Development Goals contain at least four goals dedicated to environmental issues while environmental considerations are also prominent in many other goals.
“Importantly there is now a dedicated goal on issues of desertification and drought which serve as a legacy for Namibia’s tenure as president of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.”
Shifeta said the adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement has also brought home the need for low-carbon development based on environmentally-friendly technologies. He further said the ministry should play a greater role in mainstreaming these technologies within national development.
Shifeta said the mainstreaming of technologies should not only be done with renewable energy but also water-saving technologies, innovative new approaches to agriculture, trade indigenous plants, recycling of waste and alternative transportation methods such as electric cars and busses.