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Good news from Namibia
Back in Namibia after several years, and what a bunch of nice surprises awaited me!
Some 10 years ago, when NACOMA had started a rather intense Namibian coastal policy programme, so much had to be put in place if one day we would end up with a Namibian coastline where one could say sustainable development was taking place. All sorts of frameworks were lacking, and the status quo spelled bad news in terms of the natural environment, including the unique coastal biodiversity, not to mention the lack of equitable use of natural resources, including tourism opportunities. The spectre of meaningful transformation to an equitable society and a sustainable coast seemed so distant, like a dream to hard to bring to reality. At times I really despaired.
The policy was officially promulgated in 2012.
Now, in 2015, we have been invited back to work on the tourism development plan for the Dorob National Park, a major protected area that includes hundreds of kilometres of spectacular coastal areas. It was established in 2011.
The overall purpose, as expressed in the Terms of Reference, is to provide for present and expanding high quality eco-friendly tourism opportunities through good planning, zonation, management and collaboration between the conservation and tourism sectors and to promote investment opportunities for all Namibians, particularly those previously excluded from the tourism sector as envisaged in the MET’s Concessions policy.
Now, in 2015, all of this is possible!
Policies are in place, frameworks are in place, mechanisms for promoting equity are in place, there is a park management plan, and there is no reason why the upcoming tourism development plan cannot leave real tracks at ground level, making a difference in terms of the national and local economy, will full adherence to environmental best practise, and promoting social equity – the pillars of sustainable development. We should also add cultural and heritage.
The lesson I am learning? Big things can take time, but one needs more patience than I had, and know that irreversible progress for the common good can happen, if there is a solid foundation that people have bought into. So, I take heart from what I am seeing here. Congratulations to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the NACOMA team, and the stakeholders that have been participation so long, and who will surely reap the rewards.