Namibia hails Paris Conference as revolutionary

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Windhoek

Namibia is pleased with the recently adopted Paris Agreement on the Conference of Parties on Climate Change, especially because the agreement gives countries access to much-needed funds to finance climate change mitigation and adaption measures.

Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta hailed the Paris Agreement as “not only historic but revolutionary, transformative and inclusive”.
“This agreement captures crucial elements such as deep emmission reduction whereby developed countries will take the lead; adaptation including loss and damage, and provision of a means of implementaion such as finance, technology and capacity building for developing countries,” said Shifeta who had just returned from the climate change conference that ended last weekend.

Even though Namibia has been accessing funds from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as early as this year to pilot climate change mitigation projects, the Paris Agreement on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that was finally signed last Saturday is clear on making funds available to countries that will not be able to finance mitigation measures on climate change.

“The agreement puts in place a robust financial mechanism to provide adequate and predictable financial resources to developing countries in order to meet their mitigation obligations and implement adaptation action effectively,” he says.

“We have accessed some of this money for losses and damages. Many people might not know, but we have some running projects in agriculture and community programmes. The GCF has been there and we have been accessing some funds. They will put up more funds, up to U$100 billion. This is huge, that’s why we have to be on time with our bankable projects so that we access funding,” Shifeta revealed in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the post-Paris Agreement briefing yesterday in Windhoek.

The GCF is a fund within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), founded as a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.

“We have climate resilient agricultural projects that are ongoing and others in the area of tourism. There are losses and damages. As a nation, we want to ensure that we recover from the effects of drought. We are going to access more funding,” he said.

Namibia through the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) is already accessing some of the available grant funding of US$10 billion (approximately N$150 billion) or more for climate change financing with respect to both mitigation and adaptation. A total of US$10 billion for country programming is allocated during this financial year as losses and damages from big nations which are big emitters.

Shifeta hailed the agreement, saying that for the first time in climate change history it includes human rights issues with special emphasis on the right to health, the rights of indigenous people, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and in vulnerable situations, and gender equality.

On the negative public reaction to Namibia’s announcement that it needs U$33 billion (N$495 billion) to fight climate change, while the country is reportedly short of cash, Shifeta says: “The statement in Paris on the U$33 billion is a projection we made after we had done scientific research for adaptation and mitigation. This in our ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). This is the amount we need, this money does not come from government. This is what we can take from the GCF. So we have to take our share from it, why not?”.

According to Shifeta, the negative impact of climate change on agricultural production will mean greater investment in agricultural productivity to achieve national targets for food and nutrition security.

One such funded venture is the Scaling Up Community Resilience (SCORE) project launched in August this year. The project aims to strengthen the adaptive capacity for climate change and reduce the vulnerability to droughts and floods for approximately 4 000 households, of which 80 percent are women-led, in the north of the country which is prone to environmental shock. Women in this project reported a bumper harvest compared to those not using the technology.

The next project on the ministry’s radar is the procurement of mobile water production machines that can produce between 3 000 and 5 000 litres of water per day depending on the size of the machine.

“It is good for farmers. There is a scarcity of water even if the rain continues like this. When I was in Turkey, I spotted it and instructed our EIF to procure it for demonstration purposes. It’s current technology. We will procure two machines,” Shifeta noted, without revealing the costs of the machines, but said they are cheaper than drilling a borehole.

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