Media urged to be watchdog for biodiversity management
Otjiwarongo – Namibia’s newly appointed Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Uahekua Herunga has called on the local media to be the eyes and ears of the public on biodiversity management. Speaking at a capacity building media workshop on biodiversity reporting in the town of Otjiwarongo recently, Herunga said media practitioners had a key role to play on issues of biodiversity. He said for every Namibian to protect its biodiversity, media should effectively report on the importance of biodiversity and the real cost of its loss to humanity. “The key to successful reporting on biodiversity is the ability to show people that they are part of biodiversity, reliant on its richness and deeply affected by its loss,” he said The workshop was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with Global Enviromental Fund (GEF) and the Capacity Enhancement Global Environmental Conventions in Namibia (CEGEM). The workshop’s aim was enlightening local environmental journalists on biodiversity reporting as well as to give them an insight into the UN Convention on the Biological Diversity. Speaking at the same workshop the director of environmental affairs which falls under the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Teofilus Nghitina said Namibia was considered one of the best countries in the world when it comes to natural resources management. Namibia also has some of the best laws and policies to protect natural resources. Among the laws were the Environmental Ordinance Act of 1993, the Game Product Trust fund Act No 7 of 1997 as well as the Namibia Tourism Board Act. Other supportive acts in place include the Forest Act as well as the Namibia Environmental Investment Fund Act of 2001. Nghitina also alluded to the Green Plan policy which the government put in place to support environment management. The Green Plan was presented by the former president Sam Nujoma at the World Summit on Environment in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 1992. It consists of Namibia’s 12 plans for integrated and sustainable environmental management, a biodiversity management strategic plan, a wildlife management utilization and tourism in communal areas policy as well as conservation of biotic biodiversity and habit protection. Meanwhile,Namibia will join the rest of the world in celebrating the day of biodiversity on May 22.