Shifeta talks up green economy

…as environmentalists are rewarded at the Sustainable Development Awards

By Hilary Mare

THE transition to a greener economy, based on the most efficient and sustainable use of our natural resources, offers Namibia the opportunity to move out of the Covid-19 induced crisis and towards a nation that is food, water and energy secure.
This was said by Minister of Environment, Tourism and Forestry, Pohamba Shifeta last week while addressing delegates at the third edition of the Sustainable Development Awards hosted under the theme: ‘Accelerating the green economy transformation as we recover from Covid-19’.
In his address, Shifeta further bemoaned that the tourism industry in Namibia had declined by 87 percent.
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“This overnight collapse has translated into a massive loss of over 1 000 jobs, with the closure of many tourism-related businesses. At the broader level, government has been affected by a sharp decline in foreign exchange and tax revenues, which has further curbed public spending capacity and our ability to deploy the measures necessary to support livelihoods through this crisis,” he said adding that transition to a green economy will have the knock-on benefits of enhancing climate change resilience, creating decent employment opportunities and reducing income inequality.
“It is for this reason that the accelerating the green economy transition is key to our development as a nation,” he further emphasised.

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Also speaking at the event and sharing the overview of the Sustainable Development Awards, Gloria Simubali -chairperson of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council- noted that the awards seek to reach out to all sectors of society active in promoting sustainable development including organs of state, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, the private sector and funding agencies.
The Sustainable Development Awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by Namibians in the field of sustainable development.
This year the awards targeted various categories including the private sector and SMEs, community level natural resource management and utilisation initiatives, research and development, youth action for sustainable development, pioneering journalism in the field of sustainable development, green banks, school in action for sustainable development, women in action for sustainable development and thought leadership.
Benedict Libanda, chief executive officer of the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia also took to stage to highlight that the awards have grown since they were first held in 2015.
Libanda further denoted that in total, the organising committee had received 74 applications and encouraged all the winners and nominees to continue to lead with deep convictions in the race against the developmental challenges Namibia faces today.

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Private Sector Champions for Sustainable Development with 3 sub-categories for start-ups, Small and Medium Enterprises as well as established companies

Start-ups: Paver Plast
SME: Ebikes 4 Africa
Established Companies: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Community level natural resource management and utilisation initiatives
Lukas Mandema

Research and Development to reward outstanding pieces of research or innovations in the field of sustainable development
Professor Daniel Likius (University of Namibia)

Youth Action for Sustainable Development, which focuses on youth leadership and initiatives in the area of sustainable development
Toini Amutenya

Pioneering journalism in the field of sustainable development, which will reward outstanding performance in the areas of best print media, best social media, best radio and best television
Best Television: Lesley Tjiueza
Best Print: Absalom Shigwedha
Best Radio: David Bishop

Women and Environment
Agnes Tjirare

Sustainable Schools
Ediva Primary School – Public School
Private School Swakopmund – Private School

Green Financial Services/Institution
Bank Windhoek

Thought Leadership
Dr Mary Seely