• December 7th, 2019


MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, WATER AND FORESTRY Query: During the Rio Tinto Rössing Uranium annual stakeholder, MD Werner Duvenhaggen said that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism had turned down their request for permission to build a desalination plant at the coast due to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s request not to grant permission. Response: The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, wishes to respond to your question as follows. The issue regarding the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment for Rössing Uranium Limited to build its own desalination plant at the coast relates to a pending dispute lodged by the mine in an appropriate forum i.e. the High Court of Namibia. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is a stakeholder in this matter to the extent that it is the custodian of the water resources on behalf of the State as per Article 100 of the Namibian Constitution. Because the matter is currently before a competent Court we are not in a position to respond to your questions one by one as they directly relate to the dispute lodged by Rössing. Query: Ministry of Agriculture, what is the legislation of the charcoal industry? Response: The charcoal industry is only partially regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the sense that the Ministry issues permits for harvesting wood to harvesters as per the provisions of the forest Act number 12 of 2001 as amended by Act number 13 of 2005. However, the industry is partially self-regulated in the sense that they have their own Charcoal Association, which regulates their daily activities. The Government does not have a specific legislation governing the charcoal production industry. Query: How many charcoal producers are there in Namibia? Response: The Ministry does not maintain a register for charcoal producers. However, forest harvesting permit records indicate that 500 individuals were issued with forest harvesting permits to produce charcoal. Query: What is the value of the charcoal industry? Response: A comprehensive study was undertaken by the Legal Assistance Center in 2010, which estimated the value of the charcoal industry to be worth around N$75 million– N$100 million in 2004. The study further estimated the amount of charcoal produced per year to be between 50,000 and 60,000 tons; however the industry continues to grow. Query: How does one get a permit to operate in the charcoal industry? Response: The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) issues different types of forest permits, namely, harvesting permit, transport permit, marketing permit and export permit. With the production of charcoal, the potential producer applies for a permit at the ministry in the manner and form stipulated in the forest Act in order to harvest wood, which will then be converted into charcoal. On receipt of an application, the Ministry’s officials inspect the area of harvesting for resource availability and issue a harvesting permit when satisfied or declined. Application forms can be obtained from MAWF’s offices, specifically the Directorate of Forestry. Moreover an application form can also be downloaded through the Ministry’s website www.mawf.gov.na – click on forestry service, below downloads, there is an application form for a licence for forest produce which the applicant can download and print. Query: How is the charcoal industry regulated to prevent protected trees being cut down? Response: The Ministry has a law and regulation in place specifically forestry Act, act number 12 of 2001 as amended by Act number 13 of 2005 and regulations Act number 170 of 2015. The regulations list the number of tree species that are protected in Namibia which farmers are always informed about. Moreover, forestry personnel conduct monitoring in areas where harvesting permits were issued to detect activities such as those of harvesting protected species. • Margaret S. Kalo, Senior Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, E-mail Address: kalom@mawrd.gov.na> MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY Query: Does the Ministry have a big problem when it comes to piracy? Response: Piracy, be it small or big, is always a big concern, because it causes that some products do not get to be marketed at all, as the manufacturer does not believe that legal sales would be sufficient to recover the costs of production and distribution. In this case the loss to rights holders is the profits and royalties that would have been earned had the product been created and brought to market. Consumers also suffer a cost in this situation, equal to the difference between the values they would have placed on this product less the price they would have paid for it. Although an extensive survey needs to be commissioned on the value of money lost as a result of music/video/film piracy in Namibia, figures from NASCAM show that Namibia experiences an average of 2,500 music piracies per year. Campaigns against piracy through a series of sustained raids on suspected resellers of counterfeit music and DVDs they are buying, sharing streaming or downloading show they are stolen goods and only bought because of the low prices. For this reason, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Industrialization and SME Development and NASCAM continue to collaboratively work to educate the public and especially institutions of higher learning about the risks of encouraging piracy. In as far as software piracy is concerned, the Ministry is in the process of amending Namibia’s copyright law to include the protection of software programmes. Although the existing Copyright and Neighbouring Right Protection Act makes no provision for software programmes, the Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft Namibia. The idea is for the two parties to collaborate on increasing the pressure and fight against piracy in the country through information sharing sessions on software piracy. This is for individuals and businesses to understand the risks they bring unto themselves with software piracy. Many businesses, both large and small, face serious legal risks because of software piracy once the law is amended. A company can be held liable for its employee’s actions. If an employee is installing unauthorized software copies on company computers, or acquiring illegal software through the internet, the company can be sued for copyright infringement. This is true even if the company’s management was unaware of the employee’s actions. Query: Can the public report piracy to the Ministry or to the police? And is there a specific crime? Response: The rights granted by the Berne convention and national copyright laws, indicated earlier, enable law enforcement bodies to take criminal action against those who copy and distribute others’ copyrighted work without the permission of the companies or individuals that invested in producing it. Such rights also allow recording and film producers to take civil action to recover compensation for damages suffered as a result of movies and music piracy. Piracy is, therefore, a criminal activity that must be reported to the police. The police should conduct the investigation in the same way in which they normally investigate and such investigations must be independently managed and directed by the police. The Copyright Office together with NASCAM provides continuous annual copyright and related rights training workshops for law enforcement officials, including police, custom officials and judiciary to capacitate them, first of all, to be able to identify genuine/authentic Intellectual Property (IP) goods from pirated goods and to help them understand the intricacies of copyright in the real world, and better understand the intricacies of the copyright field, when investigating and prosecuting piracy cases. These trainings have on several occasions resulted in police raids on businesses that were involved in piracy activities, and pirated goods were confiscated and destroyed. As a copyright holder, you can play a critical role in fighting piracy. Growth in new distribution routes and marketplaces like the internet also make intellectual property crime more attractive to organised criminal syndicates. They see intellectual property crime as low risk and high yield. You can help halt the spread of these crimes by reporting copyright violations to the police. • Media Liaison Services, Print Media Affairs, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Tel: 061 283 9111. MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM Query: How many rhinos have been poached thus far since the beginning of this year and in which area of Namibia was the largest number of rhinos poached? Response: Eighty-one rhinos have been poached thus far since the beginning of this year and most of these poaching incidents occurred at the Etosha National Park. Query: In September last year, MET staff members were said to be on training for a course regarding rhino poaching at the Waterberg Plateau Park. Has this been beneficial in any way seeing that poaching is still a major issue in Namibia? Response: Any training is beneficial as it improves on the skills and capacity of our staff members and in turn assists in our efforts to curb poaching completely. Training and capacity building is one of the many strategies that MET has undertaken to counter escalating poaching incidences. Query: When contacted earlier this year, the Ministry stated that an Anti-Poaching Unit was not yet established. There were also rumours that there was no provision for such a unit made in the budget. Is this statement true, and please elaborate on your answer? Response: The unit has finally been approved by the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry is working hard to finalize modalities to implement and operationalize the unit with available resources. Query: What is the difference between poaching and trophy hunting? Response: The two are a complete opposite of the other – one is purely a conservation strategy and the other is anti-conservation. Poaching in simple terms refers to the illegal killing of wildlife. Poaching takes the wildlife value out of the country and provides no local benefits. It undermines conservation activities and tourism development. Trophy hunting on the other hand refers to the legal, well-managed conservation hunting of indigenous resources in healthy environments. Trophy hunting is based on scientific principles and sound knowledge. Offtakes are carried out according to annual quotas based on sustainable harvest rates. The offtakes are controlled through permits and reporting requirements. Query: How does the Ministry of Environment and Tourism gain from trophy hunting? Response: Trophy hunting is a conservation methodology that will assist not only the ministry but the entire country to keep and grow healthy wildlife populations. Secondly, trophy hunting provides benefits in terms of incentives or revenue generation particularly to the local communities, private farmers and to the state. Trophy hunting generates revenue in the following three ways: In trophy hunting areas in conservancies revenue generated goes to the communities. On average conservancies generate N$20 million – N$22 million a year. For trophy hunting in national parks and on other state lands, revenue goes to the game product trust fund, invested back to conservation. On average it generates around N$10 million for the government. In some parks like Bwabwata, the ministry shares the revenue generated on a 50/50 basis with the community. Two hunting concessions exist that generate about N$4.6 million annually. This is shared with the community. Revenue generated through this method is invested into the Game Product Trust Fund. It is then reinvested into conservation by means of support to human wildlife conflict mitigation, anti-poaching and infrastructure development such as water provision to game, amongst others. For trophy hunting on commercial farms revenue generated goes to the farm owners. This money goes to the farmers and the prices are set by them • Romeo Muyunda, Chief Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, E-mail Address: romeo.muyunda@met.gov.na
New Era Reporter
2016-05-17 10:48:24 | 3 years ago

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