By Michael Liswaniso
A team from the Namibia Coast Conservation and Management (Nacoma) held a consultative meeting here early this week.
The aim of the meeting was to get residents’ views regarding coastal management, development and sustainability as part of the formulation of a coastal policy.
The team, under the leadership of Professor Francois Odendaal, was happy with the turn-up of residents who gathered at the teachers’ resource centre.
“The coast is changing. That is why there is a need for a policy to protect it – one country one coast. Development and conservation can go together,” said Odendaal.
Most of those in attendance bemoaned the fact that Kunene has no coastal town despite attempts at Cape Fria.
They said ownership of the coast is vital and will ensure that residents, especially the previously disadvantaged, benefit from opportunities offered by the development of a coast.
“Access to the regional coastline without mere prohibition is important,” stressed one attendee. The residents also said the proposed policy formulation should ensure that people or companies that engage in whatever projects at the regional coast line should be obliged to plough back into the communities.
“Most communities here are surrounded by wildlife conservancies but yet most communities are without boreholes,” complained another attendee.
Odendaal together with Nacoma coordinator, Timo Mufeti, promised to seriously consider most inputs.
The team is also visiting other outlying villages in the region among them, Orupembe, Onjuva and Purros.
The final stop in the region will be Khorixas on April 16.
Nacoma is a five-year project that was officially launched in March 2006. The project is co-funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the Namibian Government. It is being implemented through the National Planning Commission and the World Bank on behalf of GEF with a strategy to promote sustainable economic development in the coastal zone and to address local, regional, national and global environmental responsibilities.