Relevant accurate data and statistics are vitally important to a Green Economy Accounting Framework (GEAF) for Namibia. The lack thereof may constrain the design, implementation and evaluation of green growth policies, and even be detrimental to a green economy. Mr Mwala Lubinda, Lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) addressed the 11th After-work-talk of the Environmental Economics Network of Namibia (EENN) in Windhoek on 23 May, on how a Green Economy Framework could be created for Namibia. He is also a member of the EENN.

One of the biggest challenges is that the information needed is not updated. To undertake a green economic census would be expensive. Thus, one would have to rely on existing data. “There is a large amount of economic, social and environmental data, but the challenge is to organise the data into a framework that maximises its usefulness for measuring and generating statistics on environmental goods and services sector (EGSS) and green economy.”

The Namibia Statistics Agency, however, is doing as much as possible to obtain accurate and updated information, he added. If you don’t have information, you can’t plan. With relevant data we can simulate and determine the impacts on the environment and the green transition.

Mr. Mwala Lubinda, lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, addressing EENN’s 11th After-work-talk on 23 May 2018.

Mr. Lubinda started off his talk by explaining what a Green Economy means. He said it has to result in an economy of improved human well-being, reduced inequalities and reduced environmental risks and ecological scarcities. The importance of developing green economies is emphasised by the fact that nearly a third of all the world’s countries are developing a plan for green growth. Globally, nearly US$6,22 million is currently invested by the public and private sectors in a green economy, which is about 10 percent of the global economy.

The principles of going green are contained in Namibia’s National Development Plan and addresses inequalities, unemployment, the growing of work of the jobless, decent employment and climate change. “Internationally, the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) is being promoted as a standard for accounting for the environment and natural capital in national accounts. The implementation of a SEEA framework can be prohibitively expensive.”

A Green Economy Framework integrates the already existing economic, environmental and social data into an information system that accounts for not only the green economy but also for the environmental goods and services sector. It defines green economy as a subset of the economy composed of heterogenous economic activities that produce goods and services with an environmental purpose and are acceptable.

Mr. Lubinda referred to the different phases or tasks in the designing of a GEAF. The first task would be to establish and integrate a system of national accounts, a labour force survey and other relevant data/statistics. Task 2 involves the identification of environmentally linked economic activities such as in agriculture, waste management, electricity and tourism. The 3rd task would entail the identification of economic activities in the environment goods and services sectors. Task 4 would be the identification of green economic activities, and Task 5 would be the compilation of a ‘green’ social accounting matrix.

The scope of the green economy in Namibian can be considered in terms of sustainable agriculture, sustainable forestry, sustainable fisheries, sustainable tourism, renewable electricity, waste management, the wholesale of scrap and the protection of the environment. The green economy should also be assessed in terms of existing jobs and newly created ones in each sector, Mr. Lubinda emphasised, as a GEAF should provide for and which the NDP requires. According to the statistics of 2013, the size of Namibia’s green economy had been: sustainable agriculture and forestry (N$1,746.1 million), sustainable fisheries (N$2,623.9 million), renewable electricity (N$1,838.25 million), renewable water and waste management (N$695.90 million), sustainable tourism (N$991.65 million) and environmental protection (N$1,491.35 million).

Mr Lubinda reiterated that a GEAF provides for a consistent approach to a green economy. The statistics should be regarded as indicative and statistics generated can be used as initial building blocks for understanding the potential impacts of a green transition.

He concluded that a green transition should result in an increase in total output and employment. When “greening” the Namibian economy it will be important to understand the implications on employment.

Full presentation available here.