WINDHOEK 17 Jan - Namibia’s 1,570-kilometre coastal and marine environment has the potential to contribute significantly to the country’s economic development and an improved quality of life for all Namibians. This requires managing it in a sustainable way.

With this in mind, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has crafted the National Policy on Coastal Management for Namibia.

Photo credit: Absalom Shigwedha/2014
Greater and lesser flamingoes at the Walvis Bay Lagoon, one of Namibia's four Ramsar Sites.

The Namibian coastline extends from the Orange River on the South African border, to the mouth of the Kunene River on the Angolan border.The coastline hosts globally significant biodiversity, unique cultural diversity and supports many economic activities.

Launched in March 2013, the 20-page National Policy provides a framework to achieve the specific targets of the National Development Plans for sustainable economic growth, employment creation and reduced inequalities in income. It also aims to strengthen governance of Namibia's coastal areas to realize long-term national goals defined in Vision 2030.

The policy seeks to strike a balance, to improve the quality of life of coastal communities, while maintaining the biological diversity and productivity of the country's coastal ecosystems.It also provides and guides the management actions in coastal resource use and allocation, as well as promotes a balance between development and conservation of the coastal and marine environment.

The policy will help Namibia in implementing the Abidjan Convention — officially the Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa Region.

Namibia is now in the process of acceding to the Convention. Adopted in the Ivorian city of Abidjan in 1981, the Convention came into force in 1984. Pollution from or through the atmosphere and from ships, dumping, land-based activities, exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed are among the pressing concerns and issues under the Abidjan Convention that require control.


*Absalom Shigwedha is a Namibian freelance environmental journalist. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it