After independence in 1990, a Directorate of Environmental Affairs was established in the MET and several programmes were initiated, including one to revise and reform environmental legislation.
In 1992, Namibia submitted a Green Plan at the United Nations Environmental and Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro. Namibia also played a significant role at the follow-up conference (Rio + 10) – the World Summit on Sustainable Development – in Johannesburg in 2002. Current issues relate primarily to the sustainable management of Namibia’s natural resources.
Namibia has become signatory to several international environmental treaties and has introduced a number of groundbreaking programmes and policies aimed at tackling environmental challenges while implementing national development goals. The outdated conservation legislation, Ordinance 4 of 1975, will be replaced by a more holistic Protected Areas and Wildlife Management Act.
Desertification is Namibia’s most pressing environmental concern. Other issues are deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, bush encroachment, climate change, loss of ground-water resources and decreasing crops. Recently threats related to mining and habitat and biodiversity loss have also been highlighted as areas of concern.