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Climate change, not a distant danger

by Honorine Kaze Chief Business Writer

Namibia is likely to struggle more in terms of adapting to the global climate change, said Namibia-Africa Project’s technical advisor, Johnson Ndokosho.
Namibia-Africa Project is a joint venture between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism with UNDP which aims to build effective leadership and institutional frameworks in Namibia for better co-ordination and integration of climate change programs into development policies.
Speaking during a Park Talk organised by Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) this week, Ndokosho, expressed concern that the country could have difficulty in shifting to economical activities less threatened by the global climate change.
“As a developing country, Namibia’s dependence on agriculture, which is highly vulnerable to climate change, is a danger to its inhabitants. However, the country cannot easily shift away from agriculture to a low risk sector such as manufacturing cars given the country’s skills shortage, which is also a handicap to diversifying its economical activities,” he said.
About 62% of Namibia’s total population lives in the rural areas and depends heavily on rain-fed agriculture, which is highly vulnerable to changes in climate, seasonal shifts and precipitation patterns, he stated.  
According to him, the marine fisheries sector, which relies on the nutritive-rich upwelling of the Benguela current system is under threat. When upwelling is suppressed by northerly or easterly winds, oxygen-poor water can accumulate near the seabed and suffocate marine life.
Furthermore, the economy of Namibia is highly dependent on its endowment of natural resources including diverse rangeland, mineral deposits, eco-system and bio-diversity, hence posing a threat to its economy and sustainable development.
In order to address these, Government has endorsed a national policy on climate change proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Ndokosho emphasised that the policy was drafted after extensive regional and international consultations. The policy aims to address climate change by responding in a timely and effective manner via exploring adaptation as well as mitigation approaches relevant to different sectors at all levels to improve the quality of citizens’ lives.
He further said some of the objectives aim to promote projects such as solar energy power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that there will be research on drought tolerant crops too.
“Without the people being educated about the policies, it would not work. Everyone needs to know the gravity of the global climate change; that it is real and happening hence everyone needs to be involved in activities that would save our country,” Ndokosho said.
He also called on all ministries not to assume that the project should be taken care of by the MET alone since it concerns them too given that the global climate change touches many sectors of the economy.
“When Cabinet structures policies, it needs to emphasise on climate change issues,” he urged.