Rapid Trade and Environment Assessment - National Report for Namibia

By Jessica Jones, Julian Zeidler, Henock Ramakhutla, Pierre du Plessis, Sheila Kiratu, Laudika Kandjinga on January 27, 2010

Namibia has recently undertaken a Rapid Trade and Environment Assess ment which identified potential "green" opportunities and likely threats from international trade law and technical standards.

The Namibian RTEA aimed to:

  1. Provide a preliminary assessment of the potential environmental impacts and "green" opportunities of trade relationships;

  2. Provide strategic recommendations on a way for ward for sustainable development as input to the policy-making process; and

  3. Build capacity to develop integrated trade and environment policies, and help plan and direct capacity building measures.

The assessment has ignited national debate among stakeholders from the often un connected sectors of international trade, environment, agriculture, water, energy, tourism and others. The rapid assessment is the start of a process of greater collaboration between these previously distinct sectors, which will have the opportunity to collaborate to a greater extent in the future. Namibia's economy cannot com pete with neighbouring South Africa's economic and infrastructural advantages, but the country can excel in some niche, high-value areas depending on how policy-makers plan ahead. This book highlights opportuni ties and areas for further attention and follow-up.

Key findings:

  • Namibia can achieve its Vision 2030's wealth and well being objectives if policy- and decision-makers do not expect Namibia's development to look like the Western or South African industrialisation and bulk export model. A proven "smarter" strategy is to capitalise on its demon strated strengths in high-value niche sectors for specialised products and services based on Namibia's comparative advantages.

  • Many good efforts on, for example, eco-tour ism and natural products development, are already un derway.

  • Namibia continues to forego many opportuni ties in the (formal and informal) carbon market.

  • Namibia would benefit from ap pointing a technical body and/or champion (e.g., in the Namibian Standards Institute) to monitor inter national market and labelling developments and com municate updates to relevant stakeholders including the private sector. Conflict between the rural development imperative, sustainable land management and com mercial meat exports need to be addressed through harmonized policies.

  • There is a general need for coordination between those government agencies negotiating international policies which can negate each others' efforts.

Key recommendations:

  • Policy-makers need to look at creating incentives for markets in unique, specialised products.

  • Namibia should establish a national forum on trade and environment issues to continue work in areas highlighted by the assessment.

  • Namibia needs more appropriate carbon market mechanisms which support sustainable land manage ment and rural development (so-called "co-bene fits").

  • The government should commit resources to pre pare and train Namibian negotiators attending inter national forums on the diversity of relevant domestic policy considerations.

Report details

IiSD, IECN, 2010