WINDHOEK– The theme “Water and Sustainable Development” is of particular importance to Namibia as the country strives towards Vision 2030.
Namibia as a semi-arid country with limited and unevenly distributed water resources is faced with a challenge to ensure water security for social and economic development in doings so the country needs to ensure that national development does not compromise the environmental sustainability. This year’s rainfall confirms the country’s unpredictable rainfall pattern. So far the country has received below normal average rainfall compared to other years during the same period. Low rainfall means reduced available water and requires that water resources are used and managed efficiently. The belief “Water is Life”, can never be emphasised enough. As a life sustaining basic human right, water is used for drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene. Water shapes our lives. Water moves our economies. Water sustains our environment. Without water life would be impossible.
In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly recognised the increasing pressure on freshwater due to increasing demand and threat from pollution, coupled with the effects of climate change and climate variability by declaring March 22 as World Water Day.
World Water Day is celebrated annually to focus the world’s attention on the role freshwater plays in the development of humankind and remind the public of the increasing pressure exerted on the vulnerable and limited freshwater resources. World Water Day 2015 is celebrated under the theme ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. The year 2015 provides an important opportunity to consolidate and build upon the previous World Water Days to highlight water’s role in the sustainable development agenda. In addition, 2015 also marks 23 years after the Rio Summit on Sustainable Development in 1992, and the end of the International Decade (2005-2015) for Action ‘Water for Life’.
Water is a fundamental contributor to any country’s development and prospects. Sustainable Development means present development does not impede on the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. Namibia’s economy, like in many developing nations, is highly dependent on its natural resources for its main productive activities such as mining, agriculture, fishing and tourism.
The theme Water and Sustainable Development’ links well with the World Wetland Day 2015 theme, which is Wetlands for our Future. World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on February 2. Without sustainable water development, the future of wetlands looks brink and without efficient and proper management of wetlands, water resources will be compromised both in quality and quantity.
Namibia will commemorate World Water Day together with World Wetlands Day to raise public awareness on the importance of conservation, preservation and protection of wetlands, and to promote the wise use of our wetlands, to draw attention to the value and benefit of our wetlands, to enhance the understanding of peoples about wetlands and our shared responsibility as well as to draw attention to the value of water as a precious, life-giving and finite resource.
World Wetlands Day and World Water Day 2015 will be commemorated from on March 25 to 26 at Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute (KIFI) in the Kavango East region. As in the past World Wetlands Day and World Water Day commemoration will focus on the youth. Activities for the commemoration will include education tours for school learners, which will include among others mini-SASS demonstration at the Popa Falls, a Wetlands Talk at Mahango Game Park and vegetation identification at Frans Dimbare Youth Centre is also planned for the 25th March 2015. The main event, taking place on March 26 with a keynote address by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, speeches on wetlands and common vision for the Okavango River Basin resources; school competitions and presentations at Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute.