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Vulnerable to climate change

Johnson Ndokosho, Technical Advisor of the Namibia Africa Adaptation Project (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Johnson Ndokosho, Technical Advisor of the Namibia Africa Adaptation Project (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Although Africa contributes less than 4 % of the global climate change, Namibia being one of the most arid countries in Africa, remains vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as increased temperature, highly variable rainfall, droughts and floods. The environment is considered to be a key element for sustainable development and given the reliance of the majority of the population on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, livestock management and fishing, the potential impacts of climate change could be catastrophic, according to Johnson Ndokosho, a technical advisor of the Africa Adaptation Project at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Ndokosho emphasised the importance of the National Climate Change Policy, which is a legal framework implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in 2011. It forms the framework to strengthen the local capacity to reduce climate change risk and build resilience for any climate change shocks. The policy, Ndokosho said is a statement of intent and the national strategy and action plan for climate change is currently being finalised to facilitate policy implementation at sector level. “Without, it will be hard if not impossible for a nationally coordinated response to climate change issues to take place in order to tackle the problem.” he said.
Each sector, according to Ndokosho is expected to implement measures in order to promote adaptation and mitigation efforts. “For example, agrictural sectors is expected to implement strategies such as drought tolerant crops, heat-adapted livestock breeds, promotion of organic fertilizers, conservation agriculture and efficient irrigation. The water sector is expected to protect water resources against pollution, promote integrated water resources management, rainwater harvesting and demand management. Road construction strategies are for example buiding roads with adequate bridges and culverts. Energy is expected to implement strategies such as promotion of renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind and also promote the use of energy saving bulbs, “ Ndokosho elaborated.
Adaptation, mitigation and cross cutting issues are some of the main objectives of the policy. They include developing and implementing appropriate adaptation strategies and actions that will lower the vulnerability of Namibians and various sectors to the impacts of climate change. The policy document provides the guidelines to design the required strategies, and to ensure that various groups responsible for implementation, will coordinate all strategies.
Ndokosho underlined the importance of a reciprocal technology transfer incorporated in the education sector to educate the younger generation about the climate so that they will be able to make informed decisions concerning climate change.
A Climate Change Knowledge Fair slated for August this year forms part of the policy strategy to reach the public. At that point, up to date information on the local impact of climate change, will be made available.
“Climate change is a fact of life, our livelihoods are threatened by it and we all have to collectively address its causes and find ways to adapt to it,” Ndokosho said.

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