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Ruppel, O.C. and Bethune, S. 2007. Review of Policy and Legislative Support to the Sustainable use of Wetlands in the Zambezi Basin Final Report (Namibia)


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Review of Policy and Legislative Support to the Sustainable use of Wetlands in the Zambezi Basin Final Report (Namibia).

Summary / Notes:

Wetlands in Southern Africa are an important source of water and nutrients necessary for biological productivity and often sheer survival of people. Wetlands provide for natural resources as well as for ecological services and they have an economic value. Sustainable management of wetlands is crucial to the protection of ecosystems. The low rainfall and high evaporation typical for most of Namibia means that surface water supplies are irregular and unreliable, as is groundwater recharge. As a result, water is often inadequately distributed. Historically, water supply priority was given to the water needs of people, livestock, industry and agriculture. Wetlands, their natural resources and their environmental water requirements were not specifically acknowledged. Legislation, at the time of Independence, such as the South African Water Act No 54 of 1956, did not recognisernthe natural environment as a user of water, a habitat for aquatic plants and animals nor as a provider of essential processes and services. Nor did it stipulate the sustainable use of water resources in socio-economic and environmental terms. Today, Namibia has a broad range of sectoral policies, plans and laws, particularly those applicable to natural resource conservation, management and utilisation that are pertinent tornthe conservation and management of the Zambezi River Basin. Many current Government initiatives such as the Green Scheme, Aquaculture, and Community based forestry, Fishery and Wildlife Management, Tourism expansion and Resettlement are focussed in higher rainfall areas such as the Caprivi Region. It is important that policies, laws and regulations to manage wetlands also take into consideration impacts to neighbouring countries that share the Zambezi River Basin. Emerging legislation takes account of the vulnerability of Namibia's wetlands, the limitations of agriculture in a dry country and changing land use, planning and land tenure. The paper traces the status of policy and legislative support to the sustainable use of wetlandsrnin the Zambezi River Basin from a Namibian as well as from an international perspective in order to highlight the importance of wetlands. The review also identifies gaps within policiesrnor legislation and gives recommendations in order to allow more sustainable management of wetlands in Namibia.

Year: 2007

Type: Report

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