NAMIBIA has made significant strides in implementing the resolutions of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at national level, a senior official at the environment ministry has said.
The chief conservation scientist at the ministry of environment, Marthin Kasaona, said this when briefing minister Pohamba Shifeta on the upcoming 14th UNCCD conference set to take place in New Delhi, India, from 2-13 September, under the theme: 'Restoring Land to Sustain Life,' which Namibia will attend.
Kasaona said from the last UNCCD conference, Namibia hosted the African drought conference in August 2016 that culminated in the adoption of the Windhoek declaration on enhancing resilience to drought through the African Union (AU).
"Through Namibia's participation in the UNCCD, there is integration of issues of desertification, land degradation and drought to the sustainable development goals framework. There is now a dedicated goal which includes issues of desertification and drought, the restoration of degraded land and soil and the achievement of land degradation neutrality," he said.
The Cabinet, Kasaona said, has since also approved Namibia's third national action programme to the UNCCD and this document commits the country to the achievement of land degradation neutrality. "The pilot project to implement this concept of land degradation neutrality in Otjozondjupa and Omusati regions is complete while the data collection for Kunene region was recently completed as the third phase of the initiatives undertaken to address degradation in Namibia," said Kasaona.
He also mentioned the Scale-Up Community Resilience to Climate Variability and Climate Change in northern Namibia (SCORE) project as another initiative which the country has undertaken to address land degradation, desertification and climate change. This project is being implemented by the environment ministry in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.
Kasaona also said progress has been made towards bringing the Great Green Wall Initiation for the Sahara and Sahel (GGWISS) to Namibia and southern Africa. The GGWISS is aimed at restoring Africa's degraded landscapes, desertification and to transform millions of lives in one of the world's poorest regions. Several consultations and meetings have been held in Namibia, and the country is now viewed as the secretariat for these initiatives.
Namibia has also made a submission to the UNCCD to access funds for a drought early warning system.
Namibia ratified the UNCCD in 1997. The objective of the UNCCD is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serous drought, particularly in Africa.