At Independence in 1990, the new Government of the Republic of Namibia recognized the importance of the environment, by including the protection of natural resources in the Constitution. Namibia has one of the few constitutions in the world with specific provisions aimed at safeguarding the environment. Furthermore, Namibia is one of the few countries that has linked issues of environmental protection to tourism development.
Namibia has achieved significant Conservation successes and now has the largest population of Black Rhinoceros in Africa, the only significant population of this species outside protected areas, expanding lion and giraffe populations outside protected areas and an elephant population that has increased from 7000 to 23000 in around 20 years. In addition the Ministry through establishment of community conservancies under the auspices of the Community Based Natural Resource Programme benefits rural communities through infrastructure development, employment creation and income. Furthermore through conservation of bio-diversity tourists from across the globe are attracted to Namibia's beautiful landscapes, contributing significantly to economic growth of the country. In light with this, the Ministry encourages active participation of all stakeholders including the general public in order to realize the full potential of the sector and its benefits.
The mission of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is to promote biodiversity conservation in the Namibian environment through the sustainable utilization of natural resources and tourism development for the maximum social and economic benefit of its citizens.
To be a leader in the conservation and tourism development through innovation and partnership.
The mandate of the Ministry is therefore derived from the Constitutional provision.
Chapter 11 Principles of State Policy
Article 95 Promotion of the Welfare of the People
The state shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting, inter alia, polices aimed at the following:
“Maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future; in particular, the Government shall provide measures against the dumping or recycling of foreign nuclear and toxic waste on Namibian territory”.