It is a fact that transport is a prerequisite for sustainable development, as it allows the safe and efficient movement of people and goods from production areas to industrial centres for value addition, distribution and consumption.
Transport is critical for both rural and urban development. Commercial farmers and small-scale farmers in rural areas will need their goods to be transported to the markets. It has to be acknowledged that global warming and its negative impact on climate need to be well managed, if not, transport can negatively affect the environment.
There is a need to seek solutions on the use of technology and innovation that will ensure sustainable transport. This will enable us to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Namibia recognizes the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fighting Climate Change to achieve the future “WEWANT.” As a young country, in 1995 Namibia adopted a White Paper on the Transport Policy.
One of the major elements of the policy was the establishment of an integrated transport system, cognizant of the requirement of
Namibia’s international and regional network connectivity and the welfare of its citizen.
In implementing the policy on Transport, Namibia has embarked on a project to upgrade the Walvis Bay Port and the establishment of the Walvis Bay Corridors, namely Trans-Kalahari and Trans-Caprivi. This has enabled landlocked neighbors, such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, to have access to the sea through allocation of dry ports at Walvis Bay. As a matter of fact the Port of Walvis Bay has become the preferred African West Coast port of logistics corridor for southern and central African logistical operations.
Aware of limitless integrated development that include manufacturing, research of technological components, as well as the transit, import and export of goods, Namibia took on board the development of the most efficient and reliable port hub for Southern Africa with the shortest routes to Europe, the two America and North and West Africa.
Working within the SADC Industrialisation strategy, NEPAD projects, and in line with the AU Agenda 2063, as well as the UN Resolution
70/197 of December 2015, Namibia is pursuing the development of transport infrastructure, which will have a great impact on the regional and continental connectivity, job creation and poverty eradication. Such projects are a mix of road, water, air and rail transport.
Our Logistics Master Plan is for Namibia to be connected with reliable transport to all her neighbours. Currently we have serviced road and air connection with all our neighbours, rail connection with South Africa and Namibian railway line has reached our boarder with Angola.
An agreement on the construction of the railway line between Namibia and Botswana was signed and discussion with Zambia for the two countries railway lines to connect is underway.
With the coming into force of our Environmental Management Act and guided by our Constitution, environmental impact and management are always considered in the planning design and implementation of all projects in Namibia including those of transport.
To that end, this conference has come at the right time, when environmental protection is taking a centre stage globally. We are therefore looking forward to this conference to come up with clear and workable recommendations.
Those recommendations must become strategies for the realization of Agenda 2030, with special attention to poverty eradication.
Following our president’s declaration of war on poverty guided by the Harambee Prosperity Plan each and everyone in Namibia has to play her or his part.
Namibia is confident that with political will adequate and targeted funding and innovation, Sustainable Transport will be realized.
• This is the edited statement by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, at the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon first ever High Level Global Conference on Sustainable Transport, in Turkmenistan which took place on 26 and 27 November.