19 March 2019

Namibia: Climate Change Remains a Global Problem - Libanda

CLIMATE change remains a global problem as countries and communities everywhere are facing pressures that are being exacerbated by mega trends such as prolonged droughts, food insecurity, water scarcity and wild fires, the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF)'s chief executive officer, Benedict Libanda, says.

Speaking at world wetlands day, international day of forests, and world water day commemoration at the Oanob Dam, Rehoboth, on Friday, Libanda said the pressure is especially acute on people living in the drylands because of the marginal and fragile nature of the resources.

Namibia as an arid and hyper-arid country is the most vulnerable in sub-Saharan Africa.

"This vulnerability is already being felt with prolonged droughts and erratic rainfall patterns. This is because Namibia is already stressed, and on the brink of running out of water as we continue to battle the worst drought," Libanda remarked.

He said projections of the special report which was launched by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018 illustrates that at an increase of 1,5 degrees Celsius, the impact of climate change on Namibia will be greater than the global average.

He pointed out some of the impacts of global warming at 1,5 degrees Celsius, and said in relation to Namibia, the annual rainfall will reduce by 4%, while the evaporation rate will increase by 10%. The cereal and livestock production rate will reduce with 10%, while the number of severely hot days will increase to 21 per annum, with the impacts at a worst-case scenario projected at 3 degrees Celsius, a result that will be devastating for Namibia.

"We note that current adaptation actions are not sufficient, and there are many measures that could be applied in localised areas. We, therefore, need to maintain the balance in our production and consumption systems, and there is a need for new knowledge, access to finance, alternative policies and institutional changes," Libanda said.

He added that life without water is unimaginable, and the EIF does not wish to give such a dangerous way of life to the future generations.

"In view of these challenging issues, the EIF will continue to devise innovative mechanisms to deal with climate change. With the assistance from the Green Climate Fund, this year we will be investing more than N$200 million directly in marginalised communities within drylands to improve resilience and adaptive capacity," he said.

Libanda added that the time to act is now, and EIF is committed to ensure that the economy, livelihoods and essential eco-systems are 'climate-proof'. - Nampa

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