CLIMATE change is one of the most pressing global challenges and the potentially disastrous local drought, the worst in decades, showed that Namibia is one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects and impacts of climate change in the world.
In this regard the Environmental Investment Fund has award 19 grants to the value of N$85 million for targeted interventions aimed at improving the resilience in the country’s rural communities from the impacts of climate change.
President Hage Geingob said during the ceremony in Windhoek where the grants were handed that the nineteen grants awarded said it is the result of the communities’ self-determined interventions in addressing climate change at the local level.
“These projects are expected to impact up to 58 000 beneficiaries, including small-scale farmers and natural resource users.”
The projects once implemented has the potential to create about 200 job opportunities and serve as a platform for rural economic emancipation to more than 36 Small and Medium Enterprises in 33 constituencies.
“This is a clear indication that these grants will contribute to our poverty eradication efforts, increasing the resilience of our vulnerable rural communities to cope with the ongoing drought impacts.”
Dr. Geingob said some people are under the impression that climate change is a problem waiting to happen.
“In Namibia, we can all attest that we are not waiting for climate change to happen, it is a problem that is happening as we speak. The time to act is now.The future of the Namibian House is at stake.”
Dr. Geingob’s full statement at the event reads as follows:
I am pleased to be part of this important event, at which we are witnessing the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia, award nineteen grants to the value of Eighty-Five Million Namibian Dollars (N$85 million) for targeted interventions aimed at improving the resilience of our rural communities from the impacts of climate change.
These occasions provide a platform for government to highlight its tireless efforts and ongoing support for climate change adaptation options for our farmers and all other affected parties. As Namibians, we are proud to be one of the few countries in the world with a constitutional provision for sustainable development as stipulated in Article 95 (L) of the Constitution, “maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians.”
This constitutional provision has created an enabling environment to develop innovative policies, laws and frameworks that are geared towards mitigating and adapting to the ongoing environmental challenges that the country is experiencing.
Upon assuming my duty as President in 2015, I declared war on poverty in Namibia.
This coincides with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals that same year, also committed to ending poverty in all its forms globally by 2030.
Government has been working to develop a myriad of measures to eradicate all forms of poverty in Namibia.
The mobilization of these resources through these climate change adaptation grants is one small, but significant part of these measures.
As part of our efforts to ensure poverty eradication, the Namibian Government recognizes climate change as one of the most pressing global challenges of our time, recognizing that Namibia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects and impacts of climate change.
The challenge is serious and poses significant threats to essential ecological systems and undermines in particular the livelihoods of the vast majority of our poor rural communities but also affects the entire Namibian population.
Our country has experienced five consecutive years of below-normal rainfall, with the 2018/19 season described as one of the worst seasons in decades.
More than 700,000 people are estimated to be food insecure in the lean season. This has resulted in the declaration of a State of Emergency on account of drought, as a natural disaster in all regions of the Republic of Namibia. I have instructed Ministries, Agencies and all other stakeholders to identify interventions and to pull together in the spirit of Harambee, in order to ensure that the necessary assistance is rolled out to those drought stricken communities.
I am glad to note that many stakeholders have embraced this call.
The nineteen grants awarded at today’s event, are a result of the communities’ self-determined interventions in addressing climate change at the local level. These projects are expected to impact up to 58,000 beneficiaries, including small-scale farmers and natural resource users.
In the process, they will create about 200 job opportunities and serve as a platform for rural economic emancipation to more than 36 Small and Medium Enterprises in 33 constituencies. This is a clear indication that these grants will contribute to our poverty eradication efforts, increasing the resilience of our vulnerable rural communities to cope with the ongoing drought impacts.
I had the honour of signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on April 22, 2016, in New York.
This is a global agreement, within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which provides a roadmap for the international agenda regarding mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaptation and climate financing.
In this regard, Namibia has developed the Initial National Determined Contribution and the National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan as a conduit through which we address our needs and contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement. It is on that basis, that the
Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia was able to access climate financing from the Green Climate Fund.
As Government, we acknowledge the Green Climate Fund as a key mechanism to help us achieve our national development priorities.
Furthermore, Namibia was among the first Governments that signed a “Privileges and Immunities Agreement” with the Green Climate Fund in September 2016.
This is a bilateral agreement through which Namibia provides certain immunities to the Green Climate Fund, its assets, as well its associated personnel in Namibia. At this juncture, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere gratitude to the Green Climate Fund for the resources provided to us.
Moreover, I would like to encourage other developmental partners to follow suit. Several partners are making significantly larger pledges in this Replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, and there are commitments from many new partners, including private sector. Their contributions are attributed to the Green Climate Fund results driven approach, which in turn enhances our knowledge and provide tools to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
It is why the Government of Namibia supports the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia, in order for it to leverage additional funding for the benefit of Namibians. I therefore give the responsibilities to the Ministers of Environment and Tourism, National Planning Commission and Minister of Finance, to explore affordable and sustainable support mechanisms for the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia that will complement multilateral climate funds, such as those from the Green Climate Fund.
As demonstrated here today, I believe with such support, we will be able to scale up climate financing for rural communities in Namibia.
Finally, to the grantees, let me congratulate you for competitively securing funding under this intervention. I challenge you to ensure the successful implementation of these projects.
The late Kofi Annan once said, “On climate change, we often don’t fully appreciate that it is a problem.
We think it is a problem waiting to happen. In Namibia, we can all attest that we are not waiting for climate change to happen, it is a problem that is happening as we speak. The time to act is now.
The future of the Namibian House is at stake.
It is a time to hold hands. It is a time to make sacrifices it is time to unite in the interest of mitigating climate change – for the future of Namibia.