WINDHOEK – Global statistics show that the number of hungry people in the world continues to be high with 821 million people undernourished, and 113 million people experiencing acute hunger and requiring urgent emergency assistance.
This was revealed by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Alpheus !Naruseb when he addressed the occasion of the 41st session of the conference of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FOA) in Italy that started last week and ends this weekend (June 22 – 29).
!Naruseb said it is also documented that conflicts and climate change-related disasters are the main contributors to food insecurity and hunger.
“This hash reality is evident in our sub-region, where countries, including Namibia, just experienced El Ninõ-induced droughts, while others experienced devastating floods and extreme weather conditions caused by cyclones Idai and Kenneth. The effects of the two cyclones resulted in the death of over 1 000 people and the overwhelming destruction of agricultural and other economic infrastructure,” he noted.
Furthermore, he said the combined impact of the cyclones, floods and droughts left 30 million people food insecure.
Additionally, he stated, the frequent occurrence of these climate-change related disasters is an indication that “our journey towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the attainment of its goals will be protracted and full of hurdles, thus critically slowing down our pace towards the achievement of SDG 2 and related goals”.
“You will agree with me that the solutions that are required to end conflicts and reduce the impact of climate change and conflict on agriculture and food security are within our reach. We should therefore triple our efforts to end conflicts and accelerate the implementation of the Paris Declaration on Climate Change,” he suggested.
He said the conference theme, ‘Migration, Agriculture and Rural Development’, is indeed befitting, given the current high levels of migration and its impact on agriculture and rural development.
According to existing statistics, in 2017 there were 258 million international migrants of whom 68.5 million were forcefully displaced by conflict, while 23.5 million were displaced by climate-related disasters.
He stressed that the power to reduce forced migration and climate-induced migration-related disasters “is in our hands”.
He recommended that all that is needed is political will, resources and proper planning.
He said experts are cautioning leaders that migration is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, which can present challenges and opportunities. This, he says, means that in their search for solutions to migration, they should focus on the implementation of policies and strategies that maximise the benefits of migration, and simultaneously concentrate on the implementation of those that minimise the drivers of migration.
According to him, it has been proven that migration has the potential to play a critical role in agriculture and rural development.
“Our governments should therefore tap into, and exploit this potential for the benefit of sustainable agriculture and rural development. This will in turn contribute to the reduction of involuntary migration of people from rural areas,” !Naruseb said.
He explained that implementing a combination of policies and strategies at different points along the dynamic spectrum of migration will not only fast-track the realisation of the aspirations of the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and the achievement of the objectives of the Global Compact for Migration. He said it would also complement the implementation and enhance the impact of policies and programmes on the promotion of sustainable agriculture and rural development.
He revealed that Namibia continues to implement climate-friendly policies and programmes. In this regard, he said, Namibia has been implementing climate-smart agriculture initiatives with the assistance of the FAO.
In addition, he reported that Namibia has jointly with FAO developed a new Country Programming Framework (CPF), which was recently launched.
Under this CPF, Namibia is seeking FAO assistance in developing a Disaster Risk Management Strategy for agriculture. Once implemented, this strategy is expected to build resilience in agriculture, particularly in rural areas where the majority of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. He commended FAO for the support provided to Namibia in general, but in particular the recent financial and in-kind contribution that FAO made towards the country’s current drought relief programme.
2019-06-28 08:52:02 25 days ago