Workshops on climate change and Marine Spatial Planning held in Namibia

By Tapiwa Warikandwa and Laura Merilainen

In September 2023, Hub researchers in Namibia held a series of workshops in partnership with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas, UK) under the theme “fair and inclusive decision-making for a healthy ocean whereby people and planet flourish”. In the workshops, the researchers engaged with fishers, managers, scientists, policy makers and anyone else whose life is intertwined with the ocean in Namibia.

The key issues discussed were:

  • Key risks from climate change to Namibia’s different fisheries sectors;
  • The appropriate adaptation actions that are needed to reduce these risks, and so increase climate resilience in Namibian fisheries;
  • The need to manage the intensifying competition for space and resources which is turning the coast in Namibia into an area of social and political conflict, including contestation about knowledge;
  • Practices of interactive governance and co-management of coastal resources that can be refined and/or adopted to advance the effectiveness of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in Namibia;
  • The opportunities and risks for MSP in Namibia to help empower or further marginalise small-scale fishers (SSFs) and fisheries communities; and
  • Measures to be adopted beyond the 2022 National Plan of Action for SSFs in Namibia what measures should be taken to ensure that the socio-economic rights and interests of this marginalised group are recognised and/or protected.

The workshops were organised in Henties Bay, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Luderitz, and Windhoek. The workshop in Windhoek was attended by policymakers and other key stakeholders, including representatives from The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, German Cooperation (GIZ) Namibia, the Namibia Tourism Board, Chairperson of Namibia’s Marine Spatial Planning Committee as well as recreational, small-scale/artisanal, and commercial fishers.

“A policy brief will be created and shared with policymakers based on the workshops. One of the primary issues discussed was Namibia’s draft Marine Spatial Planning strategic plan. The importance of cultural heritage was discussed at the workshop, and we are glad to say that cultural heritage has been integrated into the draft MSP strategic plan”, Hub researcher Tapiwa Warikandwa (University of Namibia, Namibia) says.

Participants at the windhoek workshop. Photo: Tapiwa Warikandwa