RUNDU – Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Bernadette Jagger says the northeastern region of Kavango East is one region in which one can easily note the importance of biodiversity and the benefits it gives to its residents.
Jagger made these remarks when she addressed Namibia’s national event to mark the 2019 International Biodiversity Action Day held at Rundu on Friday last week. She said in Kavango East Region, there is the mighty Okavango River which provides water and fish to the majority of the population in this region.
In addition to this, she said, there are many green scheme projects, small-scale farms and communal grazing areas, which rely on the relatively fertile soils to produce crops, fodder, fruits and vegetables.
These, she said, are the basis of Operation Weregendje, which assists farmers in the region to grow their own food with the aim of ensuring food self-sufficiency and food security. Jagger said to the east of the region, there is the world’s transfrontier conservation area (the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area), which is home to a vast number of rare and iconic species that attracts tourists from around the world each day of the year.
She said there is also many community forests and natural forests in Kavango East, which helps in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide a wide range of benefits to people and wildlife alike.
“It is not only here in Kavango East Region that biodiversity is the basis of our food and our health. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism views biodiversity as a major national asset and an important area of comparative advantage for the country when it comes to economic growth and job creation,” she said.
Jagger said about 70 percent of Namibia’s population directly rely on biodiversity for their livelihood and recent studies has demonstrated that economic benefits that Namibia derives from biodiversity is approximately N$13 billion in revenue, with an estimated 40 percent of this accounted for by tourism and 29 percent by fodder provision.
This year’s International Biodiversity Action Day was held under the theme “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health” and Jagger said the theme is a good one as it draws attention to the dependency “of our food systems”, nutrition and health on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. At the same event, Jagger also launched the ministry’s newly developed Communication, Education and Public Awareness Strategy, which is aimed at providing general guidance, knowledge and environmental skills to the general public as well as internal and external stakeholders about key environmental issues of concern to Namibia, how to address them, as well as on areas of participation.
The Executive Director in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development Daniel Nghidinua who spoke on urbanization and its effects on biodiversity, food, health and sanitation, said among the many causes of habitat loss – urban development produces some of the highest extension rates and frequently eliminates the large majority of native species.
2019-05-31 09:33:03 | 1 years ago