The vulnerability of the San to change in climate spotlighted

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WEST NEST LODGE – The plight of the San, who are already highly impoverished, and particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as they are heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture and traditional veld (bush) foods, came under the spotlight last week.

Garbriel Hipandulwa & Kahepako Kakujaha of the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia explained the overall objective of this EU funded project is. They spoke at the 18th Namibian Rangeland Forum , stating that the aim of the project is to “ adapt land use to reduce the vulnerability of the indigenous San communities in Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna conservancies to the impacts of climate change‟. This means re-assessing, and where necessary changing the land use to reduce late hot fires and prevent over-grazing while supporting the local community in adapting their livelihoods to ensure their survival.

The specific objectives of the action are:

– To integrate conservancy, community forest and agricultural/rangeland management plans and activities to maximise food security and minimise climate change impact on livelihoods.

– To improve agricultural yields from crops and livestock and prevent over-grazing and land degradation.

– To reduce production of CO² from destructive, late seasonal, hot fires.

The expected results all relate to the planning and implementation of land and resource management practices that are within the control of the local community. The results will provide more secure livelihoods for the San communities, ensuring that they get the most benefit from the resources available and ensure sustainability of those resources while adapting their livelihoods to the impacts of climate change and trying to mitigate climate change by reducing CO² emission from fires and land degradation. The results expected are:

– Integrated land management plan implemented across the 18,000km² of the two conservancies using the land sustainably and to the greatest benefit for the community

– Improved crop yields from implementation of conservation agriculture

– Planned grazing and herding implemented across the conservancies with larger herds and no over-grazing

– Reduced heat and impact of late seasonal bush fires.

Caption: Gabriel Hipandulwa (Programme Officer of the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation), Efraim Kyoava (Agriculture Officer of the Nyae Nyae Consercancy), Glao !Amaceg (grazing champion of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy) and Kahepako Kakujaha (Nyae Nyae Livestock Consultant for Planning and Grazing) at the opening of the 18th Namibian Rangeland Forum at West Nest Lodge. Picture: Deon Schlechter

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