By Theresia Tjihenuna
The illegal logging and poaching of valuable animals should no longer be allowed to continue and must be brought to a halt as a matter of urgency.
This was the call made by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry during the opening of the 19th Session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) in Windhoek on Monday. The theme for the session is 'Development of the Forest and Wildlife Sectors for effective contribution to Food Security and a Green Economy in Africa'.
Minister John Mutorwa said the time is ripe to increase all that is needed to stop the killing of the rhinos and elephants, particularly in the Southern and eastern sub-regions of the continent.
In his address, Mutorwa also said both the wildlife and the forestry sector still face major challenges, including poaching and illegal bush/game meat trade as well as the human-wildlife conflicts affecting farmers and lack of recognition for the sector. He further said that due to climatic change conditions, Namibia has a limited amount of forest resources, particularly those that are normally used as commercial timber.
"We as policymakers expect the AFWC to debate both forestry and wildlife issues and challenges in a balanced manner, to ensure that both sectors contribute significantly to food security, poverty alleviation, climate change effects mitigation and overall socio-economic development at local, national and regional level," said Mutorwa.
Mutorwa said despite Namibia being blessed with dry forests and woodlands that play a pivotal, life-supporting role in the lives of many Namibians, these resources are being eroded by the mounting momentum of deforestation, which will be further compounded by the impact of climate change.
The minister said the government and stakeholders have embarked on various mechanisms to improve forest resources management including bush encroachment, deforestation, and uncontrolled fires. More....