World to zoom in on the Africa Drought Conference in Windhoek

by Deon Schlechter

World to zoom in on the Africa Drought Conference in Windhoek

Windhoek

A climate change conscious world will turn its eyes on Namibia on August 15 to 19 when close to 650 delegates, including some of the best academics in their fields from around the globe, are expected to attend the African Drought Conference in Namibia.

Deputy minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Christine //Hoëbes, recently launched the conference where representatives of the government, United Nations and foreign government missions in the country and the private sector would seek to unite Africa during the conference to enhance resilience to drought events in Africa and improve the lives of its peoples, create employment and eradicate poverty.



Namibia has spent more than N$250 million since last year on drought food aid and a few weeks ago, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared a regional disaster while East Africa is suffering its worst drought in 60 years and the United Nations (UN) has declared a famine in Somalia.

It was agreed that Namibia should take the lead and host the historic conference after a meeting last year between president Hage Geingob and the UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) executive secretary, Monique Barbut. “Namibia is honoured and proud to take the lead in hosting this conference. The need for and hosting of this conference has been endorsed by the recent sixth special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in April and the African Union Commission has also given its full backing to this conference ” she concludes.

The key objective of the conference will be to develop a strategic framework for drought management and enhancing resilience to drought events at the African level. Other objectives are:
• Focus regional and international attention on the issue of enhancing resilience to drought events.
• Identify needs and shortcomings as well as good practices in the area of enhancing resilience to drought events.
• Encourage African countries to develop their short, medium and long term drought mitigation and adaptation measures/interventions and plans.
• Strengthen partnerships and cooperation for enhanced drought resilience.
• Develop a strategic framework for drought management and enhancing resilience to drought events at continental level.
• Focus regional and international attention on the issue of enhancing resilience to drought events.
• Drought Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (national, regional and global).
• Drought Risk Management including Vulnerability Assessments.
• Development of governmental and private insurance and financial strategies for drought events.
• Drought preparedness and measures to mitigate the impact of
drought including drought tolerant crops.
• Planning for appropriate response and relief measures in
Namibia and Africa are particularly vulnerable to the impact of drought events, whose frequency and severity are set to increase with climate change.
This vulnerability has been highlighted by the ongoing El Nino phenomenon.

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