31 January 2013

Namibia: Coastal Management Policy Being Finalised

A POLICY document that will guide Namibia in managing its coastal area is being developed.

Rob Braby, the national coordinator of the Namibian Coast Conservation and Management (Nacoma) project, says Namibia's national policy on coastal management will take an integrated coastal management approach.

Braby explained that over the years there have been fragmented sectoral laws and acts on coastal management.

"The whole idea of the policy is to integrate all sectoral approaches towards coastal management," he said.

He said the policy is now being finalised before it is taken to the printers. "There are still things to be sorted out," he said.

It is set to be launched on March 27.

A 2009 Green Paper, titled 'Towards A Coastal Policy for Namibia', said the country's coastal ecosystems are extremely fragile and vulnerable to human activities.

The paper said if many of those impacts are allowed to continue unchecked and coastal resources continue in an unplanned manner, the result may be long-term disturbance and impairment of ecological functioning.

"We may then experience a reduction of the economic potential of the coast itself and Namibia needs all its resources to support the nation, now and into the future," it said.

Integrated coastal zone management is a holistic approach to management, based on the ecosystem concept and integrated, protecting coastal and adjacent marine areas as well as the management of all activities in the zone.

It is a participatory process for decision-making to prevent, control or mitigate adverse impact from human activities in coastal areas.

Globally, coastal areas are under increasing pressure due to expansion of uses such as commercial fishing, tourism and oil exploration. Namibia's coast is 1 570 km long, covering an area of 10 754 hectares of land.

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