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Land degradation a serious concern for Namibia – Geingob

Land degradation a serious concern for Namibia – Geingob

Staff Reporter

NAMIBIA still faces many challenges with the desertification and land degradation on the back of Natural disasters such as prolonged droughts and floods.

President Hage Geingob raised these concerns at the 15th Session of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Conference of Parties held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The president further explained that regrettably, over the past six years, Namibia has experienced three devastating droughts, of which one was the most severe in the past 100 years.

“Since independence in 1990, Namibia experienced at least 12 years in which half of the country received below average rainfall, resulting in droughts and land degradation. During these years, a large number of farmers lost their livestock and experienced poor crop harvests. In some instances, droughts are followed by floods compromising food security and the livelihoods of farming communities. Therefore, land degradation and desertification, which are further compounded by Climate Change, are a matter of serious concern to us,” Geingob said

In 2013 Namibia hosted COP11, which infused political momentum to advance drought preparedness and land restoration as essential commitments toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Therefore, Geingob noted that this 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) in Africa, a continent which is disproportionately affected by Climate Change, gives African leaders an excellent opportunity to benchmark their national measures against best practices and to find innovative solutions to desertification and land degradation.

“The Summit will enable us to further strengthen our land restoration initiatives and sustainable land management frameworks.

“Currently, we are in the final phase of implementing our 3rd National Action Programme to Combat Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (2014-2024). This Programme further underscores Government’s commitment to integrating sustainable land management into national development priorities,” President Geingob shared.

He further explained that the alarming effects of land degradation including deforestation, the diminishing availability of flora and perennial grasses, soil erosion, water scarcity and bush encroachment, undermine the functional integrity of Namibia’s dryland ecosystems.

“Therefore, the focus of the 3rd National Action Programme seeks to address Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) holistically, based on our national priorities and unique circumstances,” Geingob said.

He further noted that Government, through its high education institutions and individuals, is researching how to restore and manage degraded land sustainably through diversification strategies.

“Through the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land degradation and Drought that Namibia and Iceland co-founded and co-chairs, we will pursue our role in championing national voluntary Land Degradation Neutrality targets as a pathway to accelerate progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” Geingob said.

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