Now that 40 years of civil war has come to an end, the Angolan government has decided to prioritise the environment, as one of many important issues.
However, in a country that has seven national languages in addition to the official language Portuguese, it goes without saying that communication is a major challenge. Says Carlos dos Santos, National Director of Environment, “We have some tasks that must be addressed right away: Education about the environment, and awareness of how the environmental issues of our country affect the quality of life of our people. All of us, as citizens, are responsible to protect the environment.”
Clean water a key challenge
“The access to clean water is high up on our agenda. We have set up a strategy for the next ten years through the Johannesburg Summit, and established a commission to discuss sustainability topics such as water and fishery activities.”
The Johannesburg Summit 2002 – the World Summit on Sustainable Develop-ment – brought together tens of thousands of participants in South Africa, including heads of State and Government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organisations, businesses and other major groups. The goals were to focus the world’s attention on meeting difficult challenges, including improving people’s lives and conserving natural resources.
“In Angola we have a concentration of people on the coastal areas. Consider the fact that in our country, there are four million displaced people. In this era of development, we still struggle with basic concerns like the health sector and education. At the same time, we have to conclude on how we can embark on a development process that is sustainable.”
Eco-tourism for the future. Angola and Namibia are cooperating to combine the national parks to protect biodiversity, and develop eco-tourism. North Angola also has a common project with French and Belgian Congo to protect the Maiombe forests – both to protect biodiversity, and to develop sustainable timber projects.
Adds dos Santos: “Another important biodiversity project is to map flora and fauna in our national parks. We have now started an environmental assessment process through a national action plan for biodiversity, and believe that the work will take about 18 months.”
Cooperation across countries
“In general, the communication with our neighbouring countries is quite good. Internally, we have received positive signals from civil society and pressure movements.
“Angola is proud to be part of the African environmental network. In addition, the future for Angola will be better through working with DNV and other international companies – helping us attain high quality in our environmental work.”
DNV in Angola
DNV opened its office in Luanda, Angola, in March 2004.
To support the offshore oil and gas development in Angola, and assist the build-up of a local supplier industry.
Biodiversity, coastal zone management, waste management, and cleaner production.
Contracts in Angola
BP, Schlumberger, Sonangol, Chevron Texaco, Norsk Hydro, Pride, and Fina/Total.