It is a great pleasure to see that what has become a standard work in the field of environmental law and policy in Namibia is going into the next round with the third fully revised and expanded edition of Environmental Law and Policy in Namibia – Towards Making Africa the Tree of Life . The first and second editions of this publication attracted much attention among both lawyers and non-lawyers in Namibia, Africa and beyond, and with good reason. This is a sustainable effort indeed and I commend the depth of the work and its positive impact.
A sustainable environment is essential to protect people from the short, medium and long term ravages of nature; man-made threats in nature; and the deterioration of the natural environment. Namibia faces a range of difficult environmental challenges including among others land degradation; water scarcity and
pollution; deforestation; biodiversity loss; and climate change. Addressing these challenges requires, above all, unequivocal determination on the part of policy-makers. The law, as a subsequent step to policy and decision-making processes on the one hand and as a basis for enforcement and implementation on the other, is an important discipline in terms of environmental protection and is an essential tool to address environmental problems threatening our country, region and planet. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of environmental issues and the involvement of different Government institutions, policy makers and stakeholders, the afore-mentioned environmental challenges are covered by a variety of statutes and policies.
This book offers a multi-faceted insight into environmental law and policy in Namibia. It does this most successfully by taking stock of the existing legal framework and Namibia’s commitment to environment-related issues at the local, national, regional, continental and international level. The mother of Namibian laws, our Constitution, is one of the few constitutions in the world to explicitly incorporate the protection of the environment. It is well reflected in this publication that we have achieved significant milestones in terms of environmental law and policy such as the ratification and implementation of several multilateral environmental agreements; the enactment of landmark pieces of national legislation such as the Environmental Management Act; as well as a broad environmental policy framework. Of course, the process is on-going and we must not rest on our laurels.
It is highly commendable that the editors of this book have again eloquently managed to give an in-depth updated overview of sectoral and cross-sectoral legislation and policies relating to environmental concerns. The publication puts environmental law issues into the broader context of current and future societal needs and economic developments. The focus of the publication is on Namibia. It is, however, notable that the book also puts a strong emphasis on the multi-faceted African legal structure and its particularities, including the environmental legal frameworks of the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.
This publication will be a valuable source of information and guidance for lawyers, judges, students, policymakers and all those members of the public interested in environmental law and policy.
I wish to cordially thank Prof. Dr. Oliver C. Ruppel and Dr. Katharina Ruppel-Schlichting and all who have contributed to the third edition of the book and assisted in making it a reality. It has grown to be a landmark and an important work for Namibia, which will inevitably contribute to further green growth, sustainable development and environmentally sound management in the interest of our people. Let all of us make environmental protection our responsibility!
Minister of Environment and Tourism, MP
Windhoek, November 2015