Exchange between the Namibian and German Councils for Sustainable Development
Members of the Namibian Sustainable Development Advisory Council visited the equivalent German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) from the 1-5th June 2015 in a first ever exchange visit between the two Councils. The exchange followed a formal invitation from the German Council in 2014 and was facilitated and supported through the GIZ.
The Namibian Sustainable Development Advisory Council was inaugurated in 2013 to advise the Minister of Environment and Tourism on critical matters for sustainable development and to promote cooperation and coordination on environmental issues relating to sustainable development. It comprises equally of representatives from state institutions and civil society.
The German Council is comprised fully of civil society representatives, which are appointed by the German Chancellor. Their main role is to foster social dialogue on issues of sustainability, to elevate the importance of sustainability as a public issue and to demonstrate the consequences of social action and put forward possible solutions to identified challenges.
The two Councils deliberated on the institutional frameworks of the two Councils as well as some of the initiatives of the German Council, including the:
- German National Sustainability Strategy, which has been in place since 2002;
- A Sustainability Code, which intends to provide guidelines and systems to make the operations of business more sustainable;
- A sustainability impact assessment tool, which screens all legislation to ensure their compatibility with the National Sustainability Strategy; and
- A variety of public awareness initiatives, which include a national and European Sustainable Development Week.
The exchange was also timed to coincide with the 15th Annual Conference of the German Council, which took place on the 3rd June 2015 under the theme “A new equation of globalization and national responsibility – Ideas and innovations in sustainability politics”.
Debates on how to best to give national effect to the post 2015 sustainable development goals dominated the conference agenda and the Deputy Chairperson of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council – Ms. Martha Naanda represented the Council in a high level forum on national and global sustainability perspectives. Representatives from the German Parliament, the Chinese Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development and the Organization of American States also took part in this forum.
A week long programme of meetings was further arranged with relevant stakeholders for the Council to learn from areas in which Germany has demonstrated excellence in the transformation towards a more resource efficient economy and greener industrialization. This included meetings on Germany’s transition towards renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cutting-edge waste management practices undertaken through the Berlin municipal waste management company, and meetings with Ministry of Environment officials to discuss Germany’s environmental policy framework.
A return visit from representatives of the German Council for Sustainable Development to Namibia is planned to take place in the near future, while collaboration between the two Councils is likely to be strengthened through a number of joint initiatives.