Third Parliamentary-Public Engagement Hosted by the NSFM-Project
The NSFM-Project hosted its third Parliamentary Public Engagement on ‘Opportunities for Namibia Arising from a National Forest Inventory’ on Tuesday, 14th of March 2023 in Windhoek. The Engagement was attended by Members of Parliament, particularly from the Standing Committee on Natural Resource Management and other parliament committee members with interest in natural resources. Experts in the field of sustainable forest management from the International University of Management (IUM) and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) attend the event including an speaker of the Ghana Forestry Commission.
The engagement was officially opened by Hon. Tjekero Tweya, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on the Management of Natural Resources, who gave welcoming remarks and observed all protocol. He acknowledged the significance of the engagement on opportunities for Namibia arising from a national forestry inventory as critical to the Namibian economy and awareness creation to the members of Parliament as decision-makers that will implement the knowledge gained from the engagement as a key aspect to the interest of the Namibian people. The setting of the scene was done by the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Namibia, H.E. Sinikka Antila, who anticipated the engagement that will progress the ideas on national forest inventory strategies while working closely with the government to take initiatives on updated forest inventory data. The Ambassador noted that the plan of action is needed from parliamentarians to realise the importance of forest inventory and implement measures that will address the effects of climate change.
The government statement was provided by the Director of Forestry, Mr Johnson Ndokosho, who emphasised on the ministry’s involvement in supporting various projects on sustainable forest management as well as research institutions on forestry to gain clear insights before embarking on a national forest inventory. He stated that the government must allocate funds for a national forest inventory and that the engagement of foreign development agencies is needed to sponsor projects to begin the implementation of the forest inventory. He also highlighted the importance of a forest inventory for informed decisions for better planning and analysis to quantify carbon credits.
Ms Albertina Fillipus, lecturer IUM, Centre for Environmental Studies, gave a first presentation on the introduction to forest inventory. She informed participants on the relevance of forest inventory as an important tool for planning and monitoring forest resources and the geographic levels of forest inventory according to the FAO. She further underlined the opportunities of a forest inventory, i.e., entering carbon markets by selling carbon credits which enhances and conserve carbon stocks in the forests and having new income opportunities for forest custodiams including finance for afforestation and reforestation projects.
Thereafter, the session was opened for questions and answers to participants. Members of parliament actively participated by giving inputs on how Namibia can reach international timber markets and emphasised on creating value to the natural resources for Namibian people to benefit from its resources. Hon. Mareka stated that the line ministry must implement its duties and responsibilities for sustainable use of resources and tackle most of the fundamental problems that brings hindrance to a national forest inventory.
A second presentation was given by Dr Jonathan Kamwi, a senior lecturer in the Nature Conservation Department from NUST. He presented on ‘’Unlocking Sustainable Forest Management Potential through Forest Inventories in Namibia’’ and outlined the significance of a national forest inventory to the Namibian economy and the involvement of different players in both the private and public sector to have a joint venture and work towards a common goal of forest inventory. He gave practical examples and scenarios on the key performance indicators, budget allocation and specific measurable objectives to acquire a successful national forest inventory.
Mr Beeko, Director of the Ghana Forestry Commission, gave a final presentation on the lessons learned from Ghana on inventory outcomes and the influence on forest management. He stated that Ghana completed two forest inventory projects between 1986 and 1992 and a multi-resource inventory from 2001 to 2002. He elaborated how it helped the country to identify economic value forests and ensured specific forest species were given differential protection based on a relative conservation priority system (Star Ratings). He concluded by saying that ‘’Inventories are an imperative for setting forest management priorities and Namibia should work towards a national forest inventory.’’
A discussion followed the last presentation. There was active participation from the members of parliament as they interacted and posed some of the questions to Mr Ndokosho to take the responsibility as it’s sorely obligation of the Ministry to ensure that the interest of Namibians is met and the extent to which the Ministry of Environment is working towards to implement a national forest inventory. All questions and contributions by participants were answered by the experts and they concluded that pilot projects in Namibia should do more research in the Northern parts of the country and the government to allocate funds for the national forest inventory.
Hon. Sebastiaan Karupu, gave the closing remarks. He urged the committee to continue its mandate to take care of the country’s natural resources in a more sustainable manner.
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