Budget for environment to decline: Herunga

30 Oct 2014 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 30 OCT (NAMPA) - The N.dollars 1 billion Namibia spends annually on biodiversity could decline in the near future, and have devastating consequences for the environment.
These funds are availed through the national budget, as well as through funding provided by international partners.
Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga raised this concern during the launch of Namibia’s three national action plans and strategies for the implementation of the Rio Conventions, and the country’s strategy on the United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) here on Wednesday evening.
The Rio Convention relates to the three conventions which are the results of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UNCCD.
Herunga said a recent study predicted that biodiversity expenditure is to decline from its current level.
“This could result in fewer biodiversity-related activities being supported, and consequently, represents a threat to biodiversity conservation in Namibia,” he warned.
The estimated impact of climate change on the country’s natural resources could reduce Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 20 years by between one and six per cent.
This represents a loss of between N.dollars 70 million to N.dollars 200 million annually.
Bush encroachment, which is just one form of land degradation, costs the economy approximately N.dollars 700 million per year, according to Herunga.
He noted that biodiversity loss is more difficult to quantify, although it is one of the pillars of the economy.
Many communities and industries depend on the health of the country’s biodiversity and ecosystems.
These include fish, wildlife, plants, agricultural land, rangelands and forests, as well as rivers and the coastline.
The minister thus called for the redoubling of efforts amongst stakeholders to mainstream biodiversity, land degradation prevention and reversal as well as climate change adaption and mitigation into the national accounting, budgeting and planning processes.
Namibia ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995, and the United Nations Conventions to Combat Desertification and the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1997.
These conventions are critical contributors to sustainable development, both nationally and internationally.
“We need to mainstream all our efforts and resources towards the fight against climate change, biodiversity loss and land management in the name of sustainable development,” Herunga added.