Shifeta urges compliance with the Environmental Management Act

Niël Terblanché

In an effort towards strengthening environmental protection, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, has urged traditional leaders to adhere to the Environmental Management Act (EMA) when allocating land.

The minister spoke at the appointment of new environmental officers in Windhoek on Friday.

Shifeta expressed concerns over the illegal sale and allocation of land in protected areas, as well as the authorization of activities that negatively impact the environment without obtaining the necessary environmental clearance certificates.

Shifeta stressed the critical role of traditional leaders in safeguarding the environment, noting that their decisions have far-reaching consequences for the ecosystem and local communities.

“Our environment is not merely a resource to be exploited, but a fragile ecosystem that sustains every life on Earth. It is a responsibility we all share to protect and nurture it,” he said.

The appointment ceremony, organized by the Directorate of Environmental Affairs in collaboration with the Directorate of Parks and Forestry, marks a significant moment in Namibia’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

Shifeta commended these directorates for identifying and appointing willing participants as environmental officers, highlighting the importance of this platform in fostering cooperation and implementing EMA No. 7 of 2007.

“Today, we embark on a journey towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. As guardians of our planet, the newly appointed environmental officers will play a pivotal role in shaping policies, implementing initiatives, and engaging with communities to foster a culture of environmental sustainability,” Shifeta said.

Shifeta reiterated the critical need for immediate action to address environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.

“Together, we must forge partnerships, harness innovation, and mobilise resources to address these pressing issues. We cannot afford to delay action any longer. The time to act is now,” he urged.

He pointed to the intrinsic value of nature and the importance of preserving Namibia’s natural heritage, including its forests, oceans, and wildlife, and called upon all Namibians to join in the mission to protect the environment, emphasising that the decisions made today will shape the world for future generations.

Shifeta further stressed the duty of the newly appointed environmental officers to ensure compliance with the EMA, both by traditional leaders and the general public.

The appointments are vital to tackle the increasing trend of environmental crimes amid a staffing shortage in the Environmental Affairs Department.

“In appointing our environmental officers, we entrust them with the vital task of championing environmental conservation, fostering sustainable practices, and advocating for the protection of our natural heritage. Your dedication, expertise, and passion for environmental stewardship have earned you this esteemed position,” Shifeta said.

He reiterated that the commitment to environmental protection extends beyond borders and disciplines, urging the newly appointed officers to lead the nation in confronting environmental challenges.

“As we look to the future, let us be guided by the principles of stewardship, equity, and justice as we strive to build a more resilient and inclusive society. Let us create a world where nature thrives, communities prosper, and future generations inherit a planet teeming with life and possibility,” Shifeta said.

The minister expects the newly appointed environmental officers to play a crucial role in preserving Namibia’s natural beauty and biodiversity for future generations.

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