WINDHOEK: Namibia’s Marine Resources Act of 2000 has won silver in the 2012 Future Policy Awards, as one of the world’s most inspiring and innovative ocean protection policies.
The three winning policies, which most effectively contribute to the protection of oceans and coasts were announced by the World Future Council on Wednesday at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, according to a media statement issued by the World Future Council today.
The Republic of Palau won the gold in recognition of two outstanding marine policies, while Namibia and the Philippines shared silver. Director of the World Future Council Alexandra Wandel said the Future Policy Award casts a spotlight on policies that lead by example.
“The aim of the World Future Council is to raise awareness for exemplary policies and speed up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies,” she noted. The 2012 Future Policy Award highlights the challenges faced by the world’s oceans as well as exemplary solutions to protect them.
The winning policies will be celebrated during an awards ceremony which will be held on 16 October 2012 at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India.
The ceremony will be convened by the World Future Council, the United Nations (UN) Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) with support from the Okeanos Foundation.
Namibia’s Marine Resources Act of 2000 was awarded for instituting an ecologically and economically viable fishing industry.
“While Namibia inherited heavily over-exploited, unregulated fisheries when it gained independence in 1990, access to the fisheries is now fully controlled and heavily monitored at sea and in the harbours. Fishing companies are required to apply for a license, and quotas for the eight main commercial species are set annually. Stocks are carefully monitored, and if they fall below a critical threshold, a moratorium is set and fishing is banned until it can be established that the fish stock has recovered,” the council noted.
It said food security is ensured for the most vulnerable, and the government actively supports fish consumption by making it available at reduced prices for disadvantaged groups. Palau won the Future Policy Award for two outstanding policies, which are politically bold and tailored to the needs of local people and the environment.
Palau’s second outstanding marine policy is the Protected Areas Network (PAN) Act that was initiated in 2003. The second Silver Award went to the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act, an law that ensures the effective management of the Tubbataha reefs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hotspot of coral reef biodiversity, by strengthening the legislative mandate of its managing bodies.
An international jury composed of experts from academia, politics, international bodies, civil society and indigenous groups from all five continents assessed the nominations against the World Future Council’s Seven Principles for Future Just Law-making.
Praise was also bestowed on South Africa’s Integrated Coastal Management Act of 2008 and the State of California’s Ocean Protection Act of 2004. In total, 31 policies from 22 countries were been nominated for the award.