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Muir, Thomas are the top wrestlers

Romeo Goliath (right) in action against Kevin Vleermuis. Photo: Helge Schütz

JORICK Muir of Windhoek Wrestling Club and Andreas Thomas of the After School Centre walked away with the main prizes at the National Wrestling Championships in Windhoek on Saturday.



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Whizz Young Blood releases Regrets

Whizz Young Blood releases Regrets

CHARLOTTE NAMBADJA

WINDHOEK artist and poet Seth Eiaseb known as Wizz Young Blood has released a single titled Regret, featuring South African singer and song writer Shakuna.


From The Twittersphere

From The Twittersphere

A NEW day, a new week and, in less than 24 hours, a new month. More than that, the final month of the year 2020. And, for those who celebrate Christmas, yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent... Now for the business of the day...



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      Depleting Natural Capital

      FREDERICO LINKS

      LET'S BE VERY clear upfront, Namibia's wildlife, fisheries, ecosystems, forests and mineral resources do not belong to the Namibian government, but to the people of Namibia.

      The government is responsible for guarding and monitoring the use of this natural capital, or wealth base, for the people – both now and for future generations – as part of the social contract between the state and the people.

      Article 95 (l) in Chapter 11 of the Namibian Constitution obligates the Namibian government to safeguard the country's natural capital. However, while the government has made laws and policies that speak to protecting Namibia's natural wealth and regulating the use of natural assets in the 30 years since independence in 1990, a large question mark has always loomed over the quality of this state guardianship.

      In recent times, it has increasingly become clear that government entities are struggling to live up to their custodial mandates – as broadly defined by Article 95 (l) – and the various laws and policies that have flowed from the constitutional article over the decades.

      Available evidence suggests that in important respects Namibia's authorities have substantially failed to protect the country's natural assets and wealth. Rather, they have played a significant role in its destruction, whether directly or indirectly, through inaction or enablement. All this when Namibia already faces the potentially devastating impact of unfolding climate change on its increasingly fragile ecosystems, biodiversity and shared habitats.

      The unsustainable exploitation and unregulated use, as well as the disregard of laws and science, of natural wealth will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences for Namibia long into the future.

      The World Bank states: “The depletion of natural capital – including assets like forests, water, fish stocks, minerals, biodiversity and land – poses a significant challenge to achieving poverty reduction and sustainable development objectives. Low-income countries depend on natural capital for 47% of their wealth.

      “And yet, in several of these countries, natural capital is being depleted without any corresponding investments in human capital (such as education or health) or produced capital (such as infrastructure), leading to an overall decrease in wealth and a failure to improve standards of living among the poor.”

      INCALCULABLE LOSS

      It is against the backdrop of such observations and warnings that the failings and shortcomings of Namibian authorities have to be continuously highlighted.

      High-value wildlife, sparse and scarce forests, village sands and environments, and river and ocean fish stocks are all being non-transparently exploited, wasted and abused, while state officials either look away, stand by, twiddle their thumbs or participate in the plunder.

      As a result of this misgovernance and maladministration, Namibia has suffered and continues to suffer enormous natural capital loss, which may never be fully or accurately calculated.

      In the wake of the unfolding Fishrot corruption scandal, which has been ongoing since November 2019, the way the state manages the country's natural capital has to attract critical focus and scrutiny from the Namibian public.

      We surely can no longer give any government department or entity the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the governance of this nation's wealth and assets.

      We must assume, based on everything we know and that has been reported in public, that whatever state officials are doing, they are not doing it appropriately or optimally for the most part. And impunity from accountability is their shield.

      While the government and political elite are fond of promoting Namibia as an example of a country that lives by the rule of law, the picture is, in fact, much more complicated. Clearly many government bodies do not optimally enforce or apply the laws they are mandated to in the broader public interest.

      In the meantime, the country faces a myriad of human-made and environmental challenges, placing ever-growing pressure on a finite and gradually diminishing stock of natural wealth and assets to carry it through into the future.

      As the World Bank notes: “Long-term development is a process of accumulation and sound management of a portfolio of assets – manufactured capital, natural capital, and human and social capital.”

      In Namibia's case, the indications are that in 2020 an enormous amount of all the country's types of capital is or has already been squandered, while the challenges are only deepening.

      In the final analysis, and judging by the information available, Namibian's natural capital is unsustainable given the impact of the current rate of loss or depletion.

      * Frederico Links is a research associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The report 'Depleting Natural Capital' can be accessed and downloaded from the IPPR website at www.ippr.org.na.


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