Ministry Meets on Land Management

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By Anna Ingwafa

ONDANGWA

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism together with its stakeholders held an inception workshop for the Country Pilot Partnership (CPP) for Integrated Sustainable Land Management (ISLM) yesterday at Ondangwa in Oshana Region.

On behalf of Oshana Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa, Ondangwa Councillor Ismael Uugwanga said that Oshana like most of the regions in Namibia is affected by the flood phenomenon, which has been devastating and resulting in major economic loss, loss of human life and homes, damage to infrastructure and recently a breakout of waterborne diseases that continue to affect local livelihoods negatively. He thus hoped that the CPP for the Integrated Sustainable Land Management Programme would contribute towards addressing these issues.

Uugwanga noted that not only Oshana Region in Namibia, but the entire Africa faces a huge food challenge as a result of land degradation and the climate change phenomenon. “We are the only region of the world where per capita food production has been declining for the past three decades and an estimated one-third of the continent’s population suffers from hunger.

“Cereal yields in Africa are a quarter of the global average, and its soils are the poorest and most depleted in the world. This is evident from most of the regions in Namibia and measures must be introduced to cut down this phenomenon. The CCP and ISLM alone will not solve all these problems at hand but provides a channel towards addressing the issues and should contribute to the solution,” he said.

Uugwanga called on all stakeholders to collectively join efforts in addressing climate change effects and land degradation for the betterment of economies, livelihood, the environment and other social aspects existing in the chain in order to realize and achieve Vision 2030.

Uugwanga noted that challenges related to land degradation and climate change in the country left it with no choice but to adapt and there is a need to mitigate the emissions.

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Assistant Resident Representative Martha Mwandingi said that the UNDP has been supporting the Government in its efforts to deal with national development challenges, especially those that contribute to the realization of the national development goals articulated in Vision 2030, the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations conventions and summits to which the Government is committed.

In October last year the Government and UNDP signed an agreement and cooperation on three projects that are to be implemented over the next five years.

“With these projects, UNDP Namibia aims to support the Government to achieve higher levels of sustainable human development with particular emphasis on improving land management by adopting sustainable land management practices and piloting climate change adaptation measures, while at the heart of the programme is the directive given in 2004 when we launched the formulation process, that this programme must deliver concrete results and real impacts on the ground.

“These are in line with the common framework adopted by Government and UN agencies for the current United Nations Development Assistance Framework, known as UNDAF,” said Mwandingi.

She noted that the country’s Pilot Partnership Programme for combating land degradation and desertification has special significance to the UNDP. “Indeed, it is one of the global and national flagship programmes as it can have serious consequences and spin-off results in many areas of our work, helping Namibia attain the Millennium Development Goals 2015.

“Millennium Development Goals 7 if compromised puts all other MDGs in jeopardy. In degraded environments women have to spend more of their time collecting water and wood fuel, and children suffer more from respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.

“With the recent floods, we can only estimate the number of children and the elderly who are suffering as a result of contaminated water supplies and lack of adequate and appropriate sanitation facilities.”

Mwadingi added that it is timely to talk about improved land management in the region where many community groups and local administrations have generally limited capacities to manage natural resources and provide basic services to the public, including the poor.

As a consequence the UNDP goal in the area of environment and energy is to strengthen national capacity to manage the environment in a sustainable manner and mainstream environmental and energy issues into development planning; mobilize finance for improved environmental management; address increasing threats from climate change; and build local capacity to better manage the environment and deliver services, especially water, information and energy, according to Mwandingi.

Ministry of Environment and Tourism Director from the Directorate of Environmental Affairs Theo Nghitila, speaking on behalf of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Kalumbi Shangula, said that the process of formulating the CPP framework was envisaged four years ago when six ministries, namely the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the National Planning Commission, agreed in conjunction with the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and its implementing agencies, the European Union, GTZ and the non-governmental organisations community to spearhead a Country Pilot Partnership for Integrated Sustainable Land Management.

Nghitila applauded the six ministries involved in the programme for forming the core and good partnership in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders including NGOs, CBOs to ensure that proper and sustainable land management practices are applied.

“The goal of the CPP is to combat land degradation using integrated cross-sectoral approaches which will enable Namibia to reach its MDG 7, even environmental sustainability and to assure the integrity of dry land ecosystems and ecosystem services. “Therefore, the objectives of this programme are to build and sustain capacity at systemic, institutional and individual level, enduring cross-sectoral and demand driven coordination and implementation of sustainable land management activities and to identify cost effective, innovative and appropriate sustainable land management methods which integrate environmental and economic objectives.”

The workshop will finalize preparation of the project’s first annual work plan on the basis of the project’s long frame matrix. This will include reviewing the indicators, means of verification, assumptions and imparting additional detail as needed, and on the basis of this exercise finalize the annual work plan (AWP) with precise and measurable performance indicators, and in a manner consistent with the expected outcomes for the project. The workshop ends tomorrow.

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