03 Nov 2015 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 03 NOV (NAMPA) The sustainable development advisory council that advise Government on matters related to the environment since 2013, was Tuesday inaugurated to serve another three years.
Each member is expected to contribute from a different perspective, and is representing interests of a particular Government wing or organisation or has a qualification or experience in a particular discipline.
The members are Chairperson Malan Lindeque (Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism - MET); Deputy Chairperson Martha Naanda (Development Planning at University of Basel, Switzerland); Annely Haiphene (National Planning Commission); Gabriele Schneider (Ministry of Mines and Energy); Michael Humavindu (Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development); Sioni Iikela (youth representative and ruling party youth league assistant to health and environment); Chris Brown (Director: Sustainable Solutions Trust); and Theofilus Nghititla (MET Environmental Commissioner and ex-officio member); and Sophia Kasheeta (Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry) is replacing Anna Shiweda of the same ministry.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta noted that the reappointments were done on the basis of council members representing a broad cross-section of society with a wealth of expertise and experience in a wide range of issues vital to sustainable development.
It is important to note that the scope of sustainable development is extremely broad and goes beyond issues of environmental protection and conservation only. We should be mindful at all times to minimise the impact of development on our fragile environment, but we also need to look at ways in which the environment can be used to drive economic development and improve the livelihoods of our people.
Reflecting on the councils achievements over the years, Shifeta commended the entity for the Sustainable Development Awards ceremony that was held in May this year, which recognises community-based organisations; scientists and researchers; individuals; and members of the media. The council was also overseeing the development of a second National Integrated State of the Environment Report.
Council members have also given feedback on issues such as drought and flood preparedness; the viability of the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme; regulation of genetically-modified organisms (GMO); and options for enhanced water and energy security.
While these steps are an important start, I would like to see the council be more visible and for it to be more vocal to influence the national discourse on sustainable development. What we need is to fully integrate environmental issues into how we develop as a nation, said Shifeta.
The functions of the council are outlined in Article 7 of the Environmental Management Act of 2007. Functions include amongst others to advise the Minister of Environment on the development of a policy and strategy for the management, protection and use of the environment; on the conservation of biological diversity; access to genetic resources in Namibia and the use of components of the environment.