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Climate change threat to Blue Economy

Climate change threat to Blue Economy

Climate change threat to Blue Economy
Climate change: Picture for illustrative purposes only. _Photo: contributed

Zorena Jantze

ACCORDING to a newly published report by the IPPR Research Associate, Dietrich Remmert, climate change will have a huge impact on Namibia’s coastline areas.

Presenting the report, titled Towards a Blue Economy: Harnessing Namibia’s coastal resources sustainably, Remmert stated that the rising levels of carbon dioxide has culminated in the ocean becoming more acidic, and thus uninhabitable for sea life.

The researcher further cautioned against the recently proposed phosphate mining project, stating that internationally, phosphate has been identified as a fertilizer which leads to dead zones in the ocean.

Remmert further stated that the country’s blue economy is still in an infancy stage with regard to the lack of development of several specialised industries which protect ocean health as well as policy uncertainty within the sector.

He added that the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) does not mention the Blue Economy, while basic targets are set in NDP5. He added that given the short timeline calls for the Blue Economy Policy Regulation by 2018/19, it is unlikely that this targets will be reached.

Remmert further stated that there is little information available on the strategy to focus on equitable, economic development; sustainable growth & resource management.

“It’s difficult to come up with a comprehensive Blue Economy without the allocation of ownership over these resources,” Remmert stressed.

Unpacking the sectors within the Blue Economy, Remmert stated that Namibia’s coastal regions are dominated by fishing, tourism and mining. However, manufacturing, as well as transport and storage, are undoubtedly also important sectors that are perhaps not emphasised as much as they should.

According to recent data from the World Travel & Tourism Council, these five sectors combined contributed to 31% to the country’s total Gross Domestic Product in 2017. Uranium and diamond mining and fishing and fish processing accounted for 10.9% of GDP in 2017. In monetary terms, these three industries contributed N$19,323 million or just over N$19 billion towards Namibia’s economy, with diamond mining being the main contributor.

Listing his recommendations, Remmert stated that Namibia’s blue economy should place more emphasis on environmental protection, monitoring and rehabilitation. In addition, he stated that NDP5 Blue Economy Targets should be data-driven, self-critical & consultative.

He further advised government to prioritise collection of comprehensive data on ocean & climate change; avail data to scientists & public at large while Coastal towns need to be enabled to address crucial bottlenecks such as housing, urban planning, waste treatment, water and energy supply.

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