Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta launched the fourth edition of ‘Environmental Law and Policy in Namibia’, saying the publication provides a complete overview of the laws and policies related to environmental concerns both at home and beyond.
The publication was edited by Professor Oliver Ruppel and Katharina Ruppel-Schlichting.
Shifeta said this fourth, fully revised edition is an outcome of a successful partnership between the Hans Seidel Foundation and Professor Oliver Ruppel of the Development and Rule of Law Programme at the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University.
He said this publication offers a multi-faceted insight into environmental law and policy issues in Namibia.
“This is achieved as the publication has taken stock of the existing legal framework that re-enforces Namibia’s commitment to addressing environmental related challenges at all levels; locally, regionally and internationally.”
According to him the publication highlights Namibia’s supreme law, its constitution, which is the bedrock of the country’s environmental laws and policies.
“Namibia’s constitution has been hailed as among the few in the world to have unequivocally incorporated the protection of the environment as articulated in Article 95.”
He added that the publication also reflects the fact that Namibia has ratified and implemented several multilateral environmental agreements, and has promulgated and enacted numerous national legislations.
This includes the Environmental Management Act of 2007, the Access to Biological and Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge Act of 2017, and the Nature Conservation Ordinance Amendment Act of 2017, which calls for stiffer sentences and penalties for illegal hunting of specially protected species such as rhino and elephant.
“Among the policies reflected in the publication include national climate change policy, the national policy on human-wildlife conflict management as well as community based natural resources management policy.”
Shifeta further said that nature is facing a myriad of man-made threats including land degradation, biodiversity loss, desertification, deforestation, water and land pollution and unprecedented risks brought about by climate change.
“All these environmental threats need appropriate laws and policies to address them. It is equally critical that policy-makers grasp and understand these issues in order to devise laws and policies that adequately respond to the challenges before us.”
According to Shifeta, environmental issues cut across many sectors of the society and a multitude of stakeholders and institutions are involved in the management of these issues using an assortment of statutes and policies.