THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism wants to sensitise the public on land degradation, desertification and reduced productivity caused by overgrazing, bush encroachment and overstocking, through its newly-developed Communication, education and public awareness strategy.
The strategy which was launched by deputy environment minister Bernadette Jagger at Rundu last month, provides guidance, knowledge and environmental skills to members of the public and other stakeholders.
Other areas which the CEPA strategy focuses on are climate change and mitigation.
"We are now seeing the impact of climate change with increasing frequency and we need to step up our resilience to this threat," said Jagger at the launch of the strategy at the 2019 International Biodiversity Action Day commemorations.
Jagger said the strategy will specifically look at issues related to sustainable use of natural resources, tourism, human-wildlife conflict, anti-poaching strategies and alien invasive species.
Jagger said the document will guide the ministry during the 2019-2030 period. Meanwhile the 2018 report on land degradation and restoration by the Intergovernmental Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), says unless urgent action is taken, global land degradation will worsen due to population growth, increased human consumption, a globalised economy and climate change.
The report said lack of awareness on land degradation is a major barrier to action and added that land degradation is often not recognised as an unintended consequence of economic development.
It says high consumption lifestyles in developed economies and rising consumption in developing and emerging economies are the driving factors to global land degradation.
IPBES says land degradation is the major contributor to climate change, while climate change can worsen the impacts of land degradation and reduce the viability of some options for reversing land degradation.
"Combating land degradation and restoring degraded land is an urgent priority to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services vital to all life and to ensure human well-being," IPBES added.