Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

16 November 2012

Namibia: Climate Change Adaptations to Be Recognised At Cop18 Conference

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has invited community-based adapatation activities in Namibia to participate at the 2012 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities.The event will take place at the Conference of the Parties (COP) 18th session from Monday, 26 November to Friday, 7 December 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar.

Momentum for Change provides a public platform to highlight broad-ranging climate change actions that are already achieving tangible results on the ground. By shining a light on inspiring and transformational mitigation and adaptation activities, Momentum for Change aims to strengthen motivation, spur innovation and catalyse further change towards a low-emission, high-resilient future.

The activities taken to the forum are part of the community-based adaptation programme (CBA).

This programme supports various coping strategies in local communities, with the expectation that these efforts can be duplicated on a large scale to communities in similar situations. The strategies include the innovation and use of energy-efficient stoves (the EzyStove) as well as agro-forestry and vegetable production under micro drip. These activities help sustain food security and income generation with no adverse impacts on the land and other natural resources.

According to the UNFCCC, these activities fall under the Urban Poor pillar of Momentum for Change, which has been generously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They consist of mitigation and adaptation activities that are a result of collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors and bring multiple benefits to the urban poor in developing countries.

EzyStove, an initiative of the Creative Entrepreneurs Solutions (CES) based in Ondangwa and Swedish company, Ergonomidesign, is a fuel-efficient wood-burning stove. It is produced locally and provides a solution that replaces cooking over an open fire. The stove reduces harmful smoke, decreases deforestation, creates local jobs and drastically reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

The initiative is a response to communities' concerns over alarmingly high rates of deforestation and increasing respiratory illnesses due to the widespread practice of cooking over open fires. The CBA activity focuses on awareness of climate change, coping strategies and nutritional needs, as well as social mobilisation of communities. It uses a participatory approach throughout the activity cycle: planning, development, implementation and resource mapping, all to assist in retaining sustainability once the activity is completed. Self Help Groups (SHGs) were formed as a way for communities to take charge of their own development, savings and lending. Gender mainstreaming and social inclusion approaches are used to ensure everyone's needs are met and all concerns are addressed. The activity also used a distinctly Namibia-specific method of conservation agriculture, known as conservation tillage (CONTILL).

The activity is already yielding results through its multiple focus areas on adaptation. In June 2010, the first harvest of pearl millet by the Siya SHGs increased from an average of 70kg per hectare to 570kg. In addition, the Siya groups generated cash from their maize harvest and are planning to sell cooking oil they extract from their sunflower harvest.

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