Namibia: Authorities Lift Ban On Timber Transport in Namibia

19 September 2019

THE ministries of forestry and environment have authorised the transportation of wood harvested in the Kavango and Zambezi regions again, after a five-month transport halt.

This was said in a press statement issued on Tuesday by the executive director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Percy Misika, and the executive director of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Teofilus Nghitila.

"After a thorough consultation with different stakeholders it was agreed to authorise the timber that was already harvested in Kavango and Zambezi regions to be transported to any wood factory in the country," they said.

The statement follows on remarks made by environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, who in April this year said the law prohibits the export of unprocessed or semi-processed Namibian timber, unless it is for research or educational purposes.

In their statement, Misika and Nghitila explained why the harvesting and transporting of timber in Namibia had been banned since April this year.

"The said moratorium was triggered by an increase in illegal timber harvesting activities activities in the Kavango East and west region as well as the Zambezi region," they said.

"Provisions of the Environmental Management Act were not adequately taken into consideration when the authorisation for harvesting was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry ," they continued.

They further cited conditions under which timber should be transported.

These conditions include stipulations that no fresh trees are to be harvested during this time, all logs already harvested are to be loaded in the presence of officials from the agriculture and environment ministries, the ministries' officials may be supported by other law enforcement agencies such as the Namibian Police, no unprocessed timber is to be exported from Namibia, and that timber coming from other countries may be allowed to be processed in Namibia or to transit through the country, with close supervision of the forestry and other relevant authorities, like customs.

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