Striking a better balance: An investigation of mining practices in Namibia's Protected Areas

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With its unique ecosystems, mineral reserves, and developing institutions, Namibia can harness a wide range of resources both to improve the welfare of its citizens and to protect the integrity of its environment. From eco-tourism to mineral extraction, many of Namibia's current economic development plans depend on the long-term availability and integrity of the country's natural resources. A central challenge in any effort to create a balanced and environmentally sustainable development plan is to discern among those activities that will likely dead end in exploitative, short-term growth spurts and those that could provide productive resources for future generations. This report explores a number of ways in which the Namibian Government could address the critical development tension that Namibia is now confronting: how to balance the economic benefits of mineral extraction with the threat that it poses to the long-term integrity of protected areas with the economic benefits of eco-tourism and the cost of implementing a viable environmental protection program. These issues have been recognized and explored in several Government policies, such as the Policy on Prospecting and Mining in Protected Areas (1999). This report seeks to advance the discussion of the problems, opportunities, and possible solutions to the competing interests of mineral extraction, environmental and wildlife conservation, and eco-tourism. More specifically, the report explores the history of mining operations; the laws, regulations, and policy protections put into place for protecting the environment; the current institutional framework; and a range of international best practices and case studies that offer lessons from which Namibia may wish to draw.

Legal Assistance Centre / Mills International Human Rights Clinic, Stanford Law School
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Mining in Protected Areas.pdf 1.85 MB

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