KATIMA MULILO – The Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu has called on the region’s residents to preserve forests, as they play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change.
He made these remarks during a panel discussion organised by Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) in collaboration with the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, which was held under the theme: ‘How to integrate Local Communities as Equal Partners in Sustainable Forest Resource Management’.
“Increasing and maintaining forests is, therefore, an essential solution. It is not just the connection between forests and rain; we need to cultivate our crops. Our local communities also depend on the forests and its products for their livelihoods,” said Sampofu.
He also highlighted Namibia has over the last 30 years lost nearly one-fifth of its forests area, as such, it is crucial that community members are reminded about the importance of forest preservation.
“Reasons for the forest lost are man-faced, including wildfires, clearance of land for food security or illegal activities,” he observed.
Speaking at the same event, Namibia Sustainable Forest Management (NSFM) project manager, Lara Beer pointed out that the project aims to support an active, multi-stakeholder dialogue on sustainable forest management, particularly in the Kavango and Zambezi regions.
Arguing that “northeast of Namibia community members are the main forest users”, therefore, it is crucial that they are engaged, for them to be able to preserve the forests for the future generation.
The panel discussion was attended by various community members from rural areas in Zambezi region, including subsistence farmers and members of community forests. During the discussions, panel members reiterated that an improved understanding of sustainable forests management will go a long way in achieving the concept of forest preservation.