WINDHOEK – Climate change is recognised as one of the world’s biggest development challenges in the 21st century that continues to pose serious threats to the environment and human life. Climate change undermines efforts to achieve key development goals towards rural development, poverty reduction and food security.
These were the words of Alpheus !Naruseb, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry during last week’s national conference on the current state of sustainable natural resource management in Namibia and ways to unlock its bioeconomy potential.
In addition, he said, climate change is one of the main impediments to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To counteract the numerous risks associated with climate change, there are many ongoing initiatives at global, regional and national levels.
At global level, such initiatives include the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Paris Agreement.
Namibia is an active party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.
As a result, !Naruseb noted, Namibia has resolved to adopt and implement policies and measures designed to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on the environment and to adapt to such change.
Namibia’s vulnerability to climate change is evidenced by continued exposure to extreme weather-related events such as flooding and droughts, erratic rainfall patterns as well as gradual temperature increases observed over time. Namibia is thus classified as one of the countries at risk in terms of agricultural losses.
“For example, since climate change is expected to impact agricultural yields, there is no doubt that it will impact negatively on the livelihoods and food security of farmers in particular and the Namibian citizenry in general. This means that for sustained food security to be assured, climate-resilient approaches and responsible agriculture investments should be made in order to improve productivity and increase yields,” !Naruseb said.
About 70 percent of the Namibian population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture in terms of food, income and livelihoods.
It is for this reason that at the national level, he said, the agriculture sector has been singled out as one of the priority sectors which should be harnessed to bring about the much-needed socio-economic development and improvement to the well-being of the majority of the Namibian people, taking into account the effects of climate change.
He said Namibia is committed to a climate smart agriculture approach. In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry with the assistance of development partners introduced various programmes, namely, Dry Land Crop Production Programme (DCPP), the Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP), Climate Resilient Agriculture in the three Vulnerable Extreme (CRAVE) northern crop-growing regions as development of the Rangeland Management Policy and Strategy (NRMPS) with the objective of mitigating and adapting to climate change to build the resilience of farmers and agro-foresters.