By Petronella Sibeene
Coastal residents will next week hold consultative meetings in an effort to source ideas that will form the basis for a Namibia coastal white paper.
The document will set out future policy on the management of the country’s coastal areas.
Namibia Coast Conservation and Management (NACOMA) Project Coordinator, Timo Mufeti, said consultants on the project will convene public meetings during which communities, the private sector and stakeholders will express their views, concerns, priorities and aspirations on the current and future use of coastal areas and resources.
Namibians, especially those in Kunene, Erongo, Hardap and Karas, will this week have the opportunity to formulate a common vision and develop a policy for Namibia’s coast.
“A common vision as well as a policy that will guide conservation, sustainable use and mainstreaming of biodiversity in Namibia’s coastal and marine ecosystems should be promoted in future,” he said.
There have been calls for urgent intervention and support to halt the destruction of the country’s desert habitats and subsequent attendant biodiversity loss.
Concerns, especially during the festive seasons, are that some visitors to the coast destroy habitats of different bird and animal species found in desert terrain.
Some activities by visitors to the coast have a detrimental effect on the aesthetic and natural environment.
Mufeti said the white paper will address five areas that the Government recognises as fundamental to the development of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) framework.
These include improvement of the legal and policy framework, clarification of mandates and roles of different levels of the Government, decentralisation of environmental mandates, development of a National Coastal Management Mechanism and achievement of financial sustainability for ICZM-related actions.
Mufeti added that the vision will express the national agreement consensus on how Namibians view their coast and how its values should be developed over the medium to long term.
The coast is a significant area with high ecological, social and economic functions and features that contribute to economic growth and an improved quality of life when managed in a sustainable way.
Mufeti said, “The Namibian coast from the Kunene River to the Orange River is rich in biological diversity, has a variety of features and many special areas that are worthy of protection.
“These offer tourist attraction and other economic benefits.
“However, the coastal resources are threatened by human activities and should therefore be protected through wise use and conservation.
“The Government is planning long-term management and protection of the coast. The NACOMA Project was developed to assist the Government and the people to conserve, use sustainably and manage coastal biodiversity,” Mufeti said.
The NACOMA Project recently launched a logo competition for Namibians to suggest the most appropriate name as well as a motto for the coastal zone management, which will be discussed during the meetings.
The closing date for the competition is January 15 next year.