By Charles Tjatindi
The Namibia Coast and Management (Nacoma) Project and other relevant stakeholders are working on a draft Namibian Coastal Management White Paper.
The White Paper is the forerunner to a coastal policy that will lay the template for the management of coastal resources. It will also guide the sustainable development of the Namibian coastal areas.
A Namibian Coastal Management White Paper will become a government document stipulating the future policy on the management of the coast and from which the possible legislation may flow.
Stakeholders are hoping to speed up this process in order to have legislation in place as soon as possible. The legislation will seek to protect the fragile ecosystems along the Namibian coastline.
This area, which is endemic to some of the world’s most endangered insect, bird and reptile species has been under constant threat from especially off-road driving and quad biking, which destroy their natural habitat.
Dr Francois Odendaal, who leads the team drafting the White Paper, is happy with the progress made thus far.
As part of the process, sensitization meetings with the community are being held at crucial development intervals of the project, to allow them to express their views, concerns, priorities and aspirations on the current and future use of coastal areas and resources.
Odendaal said the input from local communities and other stakeholders, together with inputs from specialist studies, are necessary to shape the coastal policy of Namibia. He noted that although the first series of meetings kick-started the White Paper process smoothly, he urged more Namibians to get involved.
He said the awareness raising campaign in support of the White Paper would be intensified to reach all sectors, groups and levels of society. A further series of consultative meetings will be arranged and more towns and communities will be covered in late February and March 2008.
New places will include Oranjemund, Rosh Pinah, Aussenkehr, Maltahǟ