NACOMA pleads for stronger environmental laws

Namibia has a high level of biodiversity and is home to approximately 75% of southern Africa’s mammal species.
Namibia Coast Conservation and Management (Nacoma) project co-ordinator, Rod Braby, explains biodiversity is a broad concept that includes various factors: “It includes the living resources and ecosystem services we all use for food, fuel, shelter, medicine, craft and tools such as trees, wild animals, crops, livestock, mushrooms and more. It is fundamental to human development and the wellbeing of us all.”     
However, the local biodiversity is endangered through factors such as greed, corruption, non-adherence to the Environmental Management Act and the convention on biodiversity, not to mention non-adherence to sustainable development guidelines, Braby points out.
He also reckons people in rural areas, in particular, know the value of biodiversity to their lives and that the loss of it usually leads to poverty, hunger or dependency. “The difficulty exists in understanding services provided by biodiversity and the ecosystem services, hence the need to use it sustainably.”
Therefore, Nacoma’s mission is to strengthen conservation, sustainable use and mainstreaming of biodiversity in coastal and marine ecosystems in Namibia, in line with Namibia’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, as well as Article 95l of the Namibian constitution.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) project was established with an expressed purpose of reconciling recreational, economic and conservation interests in Namibia’s highly productive but sensitive coastal belt and the marine ecosystem.
It further provides facilitation and co-ordination towards public participation for inclusive and sound decision-making on biodiversity.
Environment Investment Fund (EIF) recently made a N$400 000 additional grant to one their projects. This was directed to the monitoring and protection of a highly endangered endemic bird species. The sub-project is called ‘Damara Tern’ and has been running for the past three years under MET’s leadership.
“We are truly honoured to know that our affiliated interventions have received assistance in carrying out the essential activities of upholding the integrity of our coastal environment that are not fully-funded by the Namibian government and other funding agencies such as the Global Environmental Facility,” Braby says, adding, although Government understands their mission, it does not adequately support it financially.
According to him, there is a need for more guidance and enforcement of present environmental legislation and that Nacoma intends to get the bill on coastal management enacted to become the coastal management authority.