By Confidénte Reporter
THE Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) last week launched the Sustainable Development Awards which will see individuals and companies fight for the honours worth N$310 000 in recognition of their contribution to sustainable development.
Speaking during the launch, Chief Executive Officer of EIF, Benedict Libanda, said the awards were in partnership with the Sustainable Development Advisory Council and will come in five categories namely, Environmental excellence among industries, Natural resource management and sustainable utilisation, Research and development, Thought leadership and Environmental education and communication.
“The spirit of the awards lies in the recognition of companies and individuals that have successfully integrated key aspects of sustainable development into their core business and industry as well as the daily lives of Namibians from all walks of life.
“In our view, the biggest challenges towards attaining our National Development Plan and Vision 2030 are those related to environmental sustainability. As our population increases so does the demand for sanitation, water, energy, pollution, pressure on natural resources to sustain livelihoods and most of all the impact of climate change on regressing our economic growth. In recent years we have witnessed floods occurring in the northern parts of Namibia for three consecutive years and the past year we experienced the worst in 20 years. These events prove to us the effect of climate change on development and how it undermines our efforts to achieve economic growth targets,” Libanda said.
Libanda added that there were good examples around the world where companies that convert to sustainable production systems tend to increase their profits greatly, for example farmers in Uganda after they introduced organic mechanisms in their cultivation of peanuts, their annual profit margins ballooned from US$3 million (N$30 million) to US$25 million (N$250 million).
“This was due to the high prices attached to organic food and improvement in yields,” he said.
Speaking also at the same event, Dr Malan Lindeque, who is the Chairperson of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council, said the accepted definition of sustainable development was development that meets the needs of the present without limiting the ability of future generations to their own needs.
Dr Lindique added that it was up to Namibians to interpret this definition according to their country’s circumstances and give it effect for the betterment of the economy, society and environment.
“The Sustainable Development Advisory Council, inaugurated in January 2013 in line with Article 6 of the Environmental Management Act of 2007, recognises this wide ranging scope and has an important role to play in promoting improved cooperation and coordination on environmental issues. This awards programme fits directly to this mandate and the awards on offer seek to reach out to all sectors of society including industry, community based organisations, scientists and researchers, outstanding leaders as well as education and communication practitioners.”
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