Southern Africa: Namibia Making Strides in Global Environment Agreements

Namibia has finalised efforts to participate in the Africa Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFRO 100), which aims to restore 100 million ha of land in Africa by 2030.

This is according to a senior official in the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

Natalia Nakashona says the roadmap for Namibia to take part in this initiative was submitted to the AFRO 100 secretariat in Pretoria last year.

The AFRO 100 is set to complement the Bonn Challenge, which is a global goal aimed at restoring 150 million ha of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and 350 million ha by 2030, as well as the African Union-led Great Green Wall Initiative, which aims to restore 100 million ha of land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon, and create 10 million jobs in Africa.

Participating in the AFRO 100 is one of the goals Namibia has achieved towards the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), says Nakashona.

She made a presentation at the two-day second bi-annual meeting of the national committee on the Rio Conventions i Windhoek last week.

The meeting was on the progress Namibia has made during 2023/24 under the UNCCD.

Nakashona said a working group to coordinate the implementation of this endeavour is yet to be established.

She said Namibia has secured US$150 000 to implement the Great Green Wall Innovation Programme from the Global Environment Facility, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme.

Namibia has also secured US$20 000 from the secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity for the implementation of a bio-bridge project, focusing on the little unfinished work on land degradation and knowledge management in the Ohangwena and Kunene regions.

This is in an effort to attain land degradation neutrality (LDN) in Namibia.

Thus far, the environment ministry has appointed a consultant to do LND data analysis, and has secured two interns to assist with LDN soil samples and data processing.

Nakashona said Namibia has also completed its national action plan for the implementation of the Great Grean Wall Initiative.

She said some of the challenges the ministry is experiencing are a lack of interest from development partners to support projects related to these issues, and lack of national data to update the UNCCD reporting and progress.

Meanwhile, Sion Shifa, who deals with climate change issues in the environment ministry, said Namibia has a national framework on carbon markets, and the country is now in the process of establishing a carbon market fund.

He said the ministry, with the financial support from the World Bank, has hired a consultant to work on this.

Shifa said the ministry has also hired a national climate financial adviser, while Namibia's updated national determined contributions have been approved and submitted to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In her opening remarks at the meeting, the chief conservation scientist in the ministry, Josefina Kakololo, said addressing issues of climate change, desertification and biodiversity loss in isolation may not be as effective as taking a holistic approach that considers their interdependencies.

She said climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification are interconnected environmental challenges which often exacerbate each other.

Kakololo said the UNFCCC, CBD and the UNCCD share common goals related to environmental protection, sustainable development and resilience building.

Namibia is party to all three global environmental agreements, better known as the Rio Conventions.

"By working together, these conventions can leverage their respective strengths and resources to achieve shared objectives more efficiently," Kakololo said.

The objective of the meeting was for member institutions to provide updates on the activities they have implemented under the three Rio Conventions strategies since the first national committee on the conventions' bi-annual meeting last year.

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