Shot in the arm for natural resource management

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Steven Klukowski
KEETMANSHOOP – Twelve community-based natural resource management entities received grants to an amount of N$22 million from the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia last Friday at Keetmanshoop. 

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta explained the grants have been presented to the beneficiaries through a project called ‘Empower to Adapt: Creating Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods Through Community Based Natural Resource Management in Namibia’. 

“Once again, the Green Climate Fund has shown the world that direct access entities like the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia have potential to source, manage and deploy funding from global agency more effectively and efficiently,” said Shifeta. 

The environment minister also informed the audience that Namibia is not spared from climate change, as citizens are already experiencing the impact, which will continue to worsen. 

“Noting the risks posed by climate change, the Namibian government and in particular the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Tourism is firmly and undoubtedly committed to continuing serving the nation to ensure that we safeguard rural livelihoods from natural catastrophe,” Shifeta assured.  

While referring to the Ecosystem-based Adaptation Project for which the grants has been pledged, Shifeta explained it was based on the premise that biodiversity and ecosystems directly benefit 60 000 people whilst a total of 156 000 will benefit indirectly from the project.

Shifeta also expressed awareness on how complex and challenging it is for entities like the EIF to access such funding because of competing submissions. Also addressing the audience on the first batch of grants handed over to recipients under the programme last year, he explained it has a significant impact as a result. Shifeta continued that about 80 000 small-scale farmers and resource users have benefited from the fund whilst it also created 200 jobs. 

The minister added that as a result of the grants, 14 small and medium enterprises have been established, whilst 100 boreholes have been rehabilitated and retrofitted with solar pumping systems, providing clean water to more than 55 000 people and more than 100 000 livestock. 

“For the reasons outlined above, you will agree with me that these grants contribute to poverty eradication in Namibia through increasing the resilience of our vulnerable rural communities to the impacts of climate change,” he then emphasised. 
 EIF CEO Benedict Libanda explained that the impact of climate change in Namibia is greater than the global average. “At the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia, we see these challenges as opportunities to be transformative and introduce a paradigm shift to business unusual,” Libanda added. 

He said this will be achieved through convening diverse stakeholders around a common vision and agenda for action, and by backing government to fortify their support to farmers, as well as enforcement systems. 

“If we get it right, it has a real potential to tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time, including those identified in our national climate change strategies, biodiversity plans and poverty reduction plans.” 
He also said the fund has to date mobilised N$680 million from the Green Climate Fund – and as it pursues its reaccreditation, it intends to unlock a further N$800 million for climate change interventions in Namibia.