WINDHOEK: Namibia is reassuring the world that it is capable of looking after and protecting its great marine assets with great responsibility for now and the future.
Local environmental lobby group Swakopmund Matters expressed its gratitude in a media statement on Friday in response to Namibia’s achievement in receiving the Silver Future Policy Award 2012, which recognises its Marine Resources’ Act of 2000.
Namibia received the award during a ceremony held at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP 11) to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), organised by the CBD Secretariat in Hyderabad, India on Tuesday.
“We all in Namibia convey our profound gratitude and sincere congratulations to all those who have spent their time and efforts with so much dedication to make this distinction possible. By accepting the award, Namibia is reassuring the world that it is capable of looking after and protecting its great marine assets with great responsibility. And, that it will continue to do so,” the media release stated.
The award recognised Namibia’s efforts to rebuild the stocks of its marine resources and manage the fisheries on a sustainable basis, as envisaged in the cardinal law of the country.
The lobby group also made it clear that its message is not only for the outside world to take note of this achievement, but more specifically to “those who would upset this delicately achieved equilibrium with highly contentious projects like marine phosphate mining”.
Since the Namibian Marine Phosphate company introduced the Sandpiper project last year, Swakopmund Matters started an outcry about the strain marine life would suffer due to this, and that it would lead to serious consequences for the ecosystem and the fishing industry.
The project is a joint venture between Australian companies Minemakers Limited, UCL Resources Limited and Namibia’s Tungeni Investments.
Sandpiper anticipates to extract five million tonnes of phosphate a year from the seabed off Conception Bay.
The group also addressed a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August this year, expressing its concern that marine phosphate mining would make a mockery of the UN’s oceans’ policies.
The letter was sent two weeks after Ban launched the new UN Oceans’ Compact on August 12, in which he warned that the diversity of ocean life was under increasing strain.
Nonetheless, Namibian Marine Phosphate has until date been unsuccessful in obtaining environmental clearance from both the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.