One of the many recommendations made by President Hage Geingob’s High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy (HLPE) is that Namibia implements its comprehensive national policy on climate change released in 2011.
The goal of the national policy on climate change is to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development in line with Namibia’s Vision 2030, through strengthening national capacities to reduce climate change risk and build resilience for any climate change shocks.
As indicated in the final report that the panel presented to Geingob on Wednesday, members believe this is a good policy that provides the basis for addressing the climate change problems facing the country and to leverage opportunities presented by climate change from an economic level.
Equally, the panel headed by Johannes Gawaxab, an economist of note, said the implementation of the national policy on climate change of 2011 would necessitate policy reforms that will help to ensure effective carbon pricing throughout the economy.
“This will encourage changes in consumer and business behaviour and facilitate an increase in sustainable public and private investment. The different pricing instruments must complement each other and jointly provide a coherent policy framework,” the panel recommends.
Increasing Namibia’s climate ambition towards achieving climate neutrality by 2030 to attract off-takes for green products from Namibia and to also mobilise funding for reaching that climate neutrality status, is another recommendation.
The panel suggests that climate neutrality should modernise and transform the economy through new enterprise creation, job creation and rural wealth creation.
Further, it says that ensuring that taxation is aligned with climate objectives, and well-designed tax reforms, can boost economic growth and resilience to climate shocks and help contribute to a fairer society and a just transition.
Tax reforms play a direct role by sending the right price signals and provide the right incentives for sustainable behaviour by producers, users and consumers.
Overall, the panel recommends that the national policy on climate change create the context for broad-based tax reforms over time, removing any subsidies for fossil fuels, shifting the tax burden from labour to pollution, and taking into account social considerations.
“While there is a view about the 50c levy on plastic shopping bags being excessive on local plastic producers, positive signals are arising from this. It shows government commitment to taking climate change seriously and taking decisive action to combat its negative effects,” the panel says.
It also believes the introduction of the 50c levy can create green jobs and potentially foreign income.
Furthermore, the panel says the proceeds from the levy will be ring-fenced for the greening initiatives led by the Environment Investment Fund of Namibia, which is also a good signalling effect to the potential green products markets and funders.
It also made recommendations on a sustainable “blue economy” which it says will have to play a central role in alleviating the multiple demands on Namibia’s land resources and tackling climate change.
The panel feels the role of oceans in mitigating and adapting to climate change is increasingly recognised, adding that the sector can contribute by improving the use of aquatic and marine resources and, for example, by promoting the production and use of new sources of protein that can relieve pressure on agricultural land. – firstname.lastname@example.org