Namibia embraces environmental statistics ahead of peers


Namibia has expressed interest to be a pilot country of the capacity building programme on environment statistics in Africa.

This will to be carried out jointly by UNECA, United Nations Statistics Division and UN Environment under which activities will be conducted through the United Nations Development Account’s (DA) 10th tranche.

This comes at a time when environmental sustainability is at the heart of the global sustainable development agenda and goals, expressed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in September 2015.

“This came about at the 44th United Nations statistical committee session in 2013 where a framework for the development of statistics was endorsed. This means that developing countries in Africa had to start using this framework to establish environmental statistics in their countries,” said Sarah Niitenge from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

Almost half of the SDG targets require environment statistics and more than 100 SDG indicators are related to the environment statistics domain.

The demand is high, while the development of environment statistics is at an early stage therefore supporting activities are very much needed.

Said Niitenge, “This is phase three of the three phases of the United Nations Development Account program which started off with an e-training where most of African countries took part in. At the end of that training, there was an assessment test. Based on the results of that test countries were then picked.”

“It’s not only the results of the test but the stages that countries are in when it comes to developing environment statistics. So Namibia was fortunate to be one of the eight pilot countries to be picked and it was followed by a face to face seminar which took place last year September in Nairobi,” she said.

At the national level, development of environment statistics will support results-based policy making as well as better monitoring, evaluation and reporting on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Niteenge echoes this, “Environmental statistics are not only important for Namibia but for the whole world. For Namibia, it’s really to monitor Sustainable Development Goals. To mention a few, climate action, life under water, life on land, clean water and sanitation. So it’s to monitor them (SDGs) and to make evidence based decisions based on the statistics that we collect.”

Development of capacity in environment statistics is being guided by the Framework for Development of Environment Statistics (FDES) 2013.

The Statistical Commission, at its forty-seventh session, in March 2016, recommended that countries use the Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES 2013) to guide the development of climate change statistics and indicators, given the close interrelationship between environment statistics and climate change statistics.

The FDES provides a comprehensive framework setting out the scope of environment statistics, and serves as a structure to guide the data collection and compilation of environment statistics at national level.

In order to support the development of environment statistics in Namibia a first National Workshop on Environment Statistics was held yesterday.

This will be followed by bilateral consultations with respective ministries, relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to conduct the Environment Statistics Assessment from today to Friday the 16th of February 2018.

This will contribute to making progress towards the development of environment statistics in Namibia, with an initial output as the preparation of a first Compendium of Environment Statistics for Namibia by the NSA and Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

The key objectives of yesterday’s workshop comprised building national capacities for the implementation of environment statistics using the FDES and to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to identify Namibia’s environmental policy needs and priority areas.

The introduction of the FDES 2013 and the Environment Statistics Self-Assessment Tool (ESSAT) was also on the agenda as well as sharing experiences and good practices on key topics in environment statistics. 

The workshop further sort to identify, together with stakeholders, the most relevant topics of the FDES for each stakeholder. 

It also sort to discuss the development of a Namibia Compendium of Environment Statistics and the role of invited ministries, departments and agencies.