KEETMANSHOOP – There is a need to create mechanisms so that Namibia’s land and marine resources can be explored and managed sustainably. This was the view of //Kharas governor Aletha Frederick while addressing a consultative workshop under the fisheries ministry for the development of the Namibia Sustainable Blue Economy Policy in Keetmanshoop last week.
“Since our dependency on agriculture is constantly under threat by climate change and frequent droughts whose devastating effects are low productivity and loss of livestock, we have to explore adaptive mechanisms to diversify our economic activities, like the Blue Economy Policy,” she said. The governor furthermore highlighted the importance of the central role that government plays in putting into place policies that ensure resources contribute to the long-term economic development of nations, and not only to short-term revenue-generation.
“I am pleased to learn that we are developing a Blue Economy Policy that seeks to ensure we achieve environmental sustainability and social and economic inclusivity in our developmental approach to all our aquatic resources,” continued Frederick. She cited aquatic resources as crucial drivers of the economy, mentioning activities like the transportation of goods by sea, marine diamond mining, tourism, fisheries and the desalination of seawater as activities directly linked to these resources.
“In addition, our freshwater systems provide opportunities for tourism, food, irrigation and drinking water,” she said. The governor added that it is imperative to ensure that efforts of various sectors of the blue economy are harmonised to prevent conflicting activities in order to bring about maximum economic gains for the Namibian people.
In his contribution, Paulus Kainge, a chief scientist at the fisheries ministry, said the aim of the policy is to improve environmental protection of the country’s marine and aquatic ecosystems. “That, by implication, will then automatically result in increased production, which overall will contribute to more equitable prosperity for all (with the most marginalised at the forefront), into the long-term for future generations,” he explained.
Namibia’s blue economy activities include fisheries, marine mining, coastal tourism, maritime transport and coastal infrastructure such as ports, towns and coastal industries. Blue economy differs from ocean economy in that it must include the three pillars of blue economy in order to be considered blue. This includes environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social inclusion.
A marine or aquatic business cannot be considered blue economy if it does not minimise its negative impacts on the environment, does not have an inclusive ownership structure, and does not maximise the creation of jobs.