Legal Assistance Centre-Namibia
Legal Assistance Centre
Other Environmental Activities

Current Areas of Research
"Uranium Rush” in Erongo Region
What happens after Land Reform?
Illegal Fencing in Communal Areas
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
Mobility, Networks and Institutions in the Management of Natural Resources in Contemporary Africa

Groundbreaking research into some of the challenges rural Namibia faces, is a focus of LEAD. The following are current initiatives LEAD is currently investigating:

"Uranium Rush” in Erongo Region
The Government of Namibia, through the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and supported by the German Government, has initiated for the “Central Namib Uranium Rush”. This Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) will provide a big picture overview and sound advice on how to avoid antagonistic and cumulative impacts, as well as how to enhance synergies linked to uranium prospecting and mining. It will provide practical, outcomes based tools for achieving best practice. It will also propose ways that the operators in the industry can collaborate to achieve a common approach towards long term management and monitoring – in some cases well beyond the life of individual mines. This will be useful even for existing mines, but even more valuable for those mining companies that have not yet started their operation.

Through this SEA, it is hoped that the “Namib Uranium Province”, and the individual mining companies operating in it, will be regarded as an environmentally responsible ‘brand’. This will be good for their reputations and triple bottom-line, and for Namibia’s reputation. The Project Coordinator has been requested by the Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment (SAIEA) under the direction of Dr Peter Tarr to assist the SEA team with legal and policy research as it relates to the study.

What happens after Land Reform?
In Southern Africa many agree that land reform is an essential component of efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, but despite important empirical studies there has to date been no systematic assessment of the poverty reduction and livelihood impacts of land reform in the region. Through case studies in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia (field research conducted by LEAD and Dr Wolfgang Werner), this project aims to explore to what extent land redistribution in southern Africa is achieving poverty reduction and livelihood improvement objectives. In addition, the project aims to engage a range of end-users in Government and other implementing agencies (NGOs, service providers, donors), as well as beneficiaries, in exploring the policy implications of research findings.

Illegal Fencing in Communal Areas
LEAD organized and implemented field research for the study on Fencing in Communal Areas. The study focuses on Otjozondjupa as a case study on issues of fencing in communal areas. The purpose of the study is two-fold, firstly LEAD wants to quantify the magnitude of the fences and secondly to ascertain whether the provisions of the Communal Land Reform Act is been complied with by communal farmers and the traditional authority concerned. Throughout 2008, LEAD conducted research to:

  • measure the enormity of the problem,
  • illustrate the sizes of fences,  
  • examine the complaint process of reporting illegal fences and
  • identify some of the issues related to fencing in communal areas.

The findings of this study are expected to be released in an upcoming publication.

Research - Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
During 2007, LEAD was commissioned by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) to conduct research on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the feasibility of introducing such a system in Namibia. The objective of EITI is to promote transparent reporting by governments of aggregate revenues derived from mineral resource, oil and gas extraction. The initiative has attracted the attention of many African countries and it is envisaged that the EITI principles have the potential of enhancing government accountability and transparent management of mining revenues in Namibia.

Volkswagen Project - “Mobility, Networks and Institutions in the Management of Natural Resources in Contemporary Africa”
In 2008, the LAC became a partner of a 3-year comparative research project that will focus on the topic of “Mobility, Networks and Institutions in the Management of Natural Resources in Contemporary Africa” funded by the German Volkswagen-Foundation. The project has three aims, namely: research, capacity building and the elaboration of new forms of collaboration between researchers and local communities. This project investigates the realation between new patterns of mobility and natural resource management in African savannah environments. Processes of globalisation, commoditization but also of rural impoverishment lead to an increasing flow of people, ideas and capital that influence the regulation of sociol-ecological systems. The research will take place in Cameroon, Tanzania, Zimbabwe/South Africa and the Caprivi region of Namibia.