All people have a duty to protect and conserve Namibia’s environment.
Biodiversity Management and Climate Change (BMCC) project Marie Luise Schiller stresses that the population might not be involved in implementing policies or making decision but can surely do their part.
“Since climate change is the main root of biodiversity loss, we all have to reduce carbon emission. We must also reduce the amount of waste and sewage water we produce. We need to leverage our purchasing power to help protect the environment by consuming products that do not harm the environment; Ecolabels enable consumers to determine which products are green, safe and environmentally sustainable,” she says.
BMCC project Bernard Walther says that in case global temperature rises between 1.5 and 2.5 degree Celsius as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, then 20 to 30 % of plant and animal species are at risk to be distinguished.
“Every loss of animal or plants species lowers the possibility of an ecosystem to adapt to a changing environment, especially in undeveloped areas, the livestock depends to 80% on natural resources. That means climate change is a serious threat for the progress towards the achievement of national and millennium development goals of many countries including Namibia,” he notes.
In order to increase awareness around biodiversity, a biodiversity action day has been organised by the Ministry of Environment and tourism on the 18th in Gobabeb.
It aims to ensure awareness in public at all levels as well as in the government about the risks and the threats Namibia’s ecosystems are facing. Only a diverse ecosystem has the capacity to support and feed the population.
Walther adds that Namibia’s is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its natural resource based economy, its arid nature and variability in climate patterns, as well as to socio economic factors which limit the adaptive capacity of its population.
Some expected impacts include spatial shift in the distribution of dominant vegetation types in some ecosystems, such as the replacement of grassy savannah with vegetation types better suited to arid environments; increased incidences of malaria in historically dry areas that become wetter. The sea level ride will lead to coastal area floods which will damaging the infrastructure; reduce fishing activities due to change in estuaries and fishing grounds. It will also affect the availability of breeding sites for Palaearctic, resident sea and shorebirds and other organisms.
Schiller however acknowledges that the government have undertaken various initiatives to protect the environment.
“Namibia has one the few constitutions in the world with specific sections on the environment. It has a section on principles of state policy. These principles cannot be enforced by the courts in the same way as other sections of the constitution. But they are intended to guide the government in making laws which can be enforced,” she says.