By Hilary Mare
THE Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) has finalised a proposal for environmental levies and the targeted products which will be announced once the proposal is tabled and approved by Cabinet.
While this will be a ground-breaking step towards enhancing and financing a green economy in Namibia, the Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has outlined that there are a number of policy frameworks developed to support a green economy as well as eco-innovation in business.
“As we pursue our National Development Agenda as guided by the Vision 2030, industrial production is set to increase by a factor of four to six by the year 2030, so decoupling economic growth from increased resource use and negative environmental impacts is a fundamental prerequisite for any future sustainable development.
“We all believe that industrialisation is required to achieve overall socio-economic progress and poverty eradication, create jobs, generate income, and bringing goods and services to everyone. Yet we need to foster particular forms of industrialisation that are socially inclusive and protect environment and climate. “These forms of industrialisation need to recognise the significant role of different stakeholders. Now, if all we agree that more sustainable patterns of production and consumption should be achieved very soon, addressing the barriers and eliminating the perverse incentives should be done in the short term. It is therefore imperative for all stakeholders such as natural resource managers and users, government bodies, research institutions, academic, private sector, civil society and the media to play a part by promoting a green economy that maintains sustained growth, is environmentally sensitive and also socially inclusive,” stated the Minister.
The Minister also highlighted that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism is already implementing effective actions to remedy the environmental sustainability situation and it is committed to cooperation towards achieving sustainable development through our green economy agenda.
“I am pleased to note the gains made by the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia since establishment three years ago. The fund has amongst others achieved remarkable milestones which are the Green Soft Loan scheme that is implemented in partnership with SME Bank has provided a total of N$6.2 million in micro financing to cover 120 people for mainly solar water geysers, solar water pumps, and solar lighting.
“The Fund has further provided loans worth N$18 million to environmentally based businesses and enterprises in the areas of recycling, eco-tourism, smart agriculture, and manufacturing. This support resulted in creation and sustenance of at least 375 jobs. Moreover, grants amounting to N$14 million have been awarded to different institutions, benefiting more than 18,800 people,” he shared.
However, despite many interventions, the scale of financing required to fully attain sustainable economic growth under the Green Economy banner are huge. According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in 2011, the incremental cost of climate change adaptation of livestock farming in Namibia is estimated at N$20 billion in the next 15 years. To maintain and increase productivity under climate change scenarios, Namibia requires further investment and a transformational approach that places Green Economy as a hub sustained economic growth. “There is no need of creating new institutions, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia, Sustainable Development Advisory Council and other statutory bodies should be empowered to deliver their mandates effectively. Efforts should be focused in promoting strategies, mechanisms and goal that are relevant, achievable and measurable, and that take into due consideration the private sector and specifically Small and Medium Enterprises.
“Initiatives aimed at greening the economy in different parts of the world have shown to improve growth of Gross Domestic Product, especially the GDP of the poor, quality and quantity jobs, and stocks and flows of natural capital. A move towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient, and socially inclusive green economy holds clear benefits to local communities and for reducing poverty. However, a transition away from business-as-usual requires targeted policies and investments, including changes in behaviour, policies and investment trends, to catalyse the shift towards a more progressive distribution of benefits. An important area of action for Namibia is the environmental fiscal reform,” further outlined Shifeta
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