Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa yesterday commissioned the joint management committee of the Namibia/UNESCO Water Support Project (WSP) when he revealed the names of the appointees to take up leadership roles to ensure the implementation of the project.
Mutorwa advised the group to always treat the policy framework document as the main guiding document in the practical implementation of the project.
“Handle, treat and use the said policy document as the dynamic document. Enrich, adapt and refine the document as a work in progress, in accordance with the dictum: practice makes perfect.”
He said the country has in the past and will in future suffer a series of hydrological extremes, such as droughts and floods and these will affect the country’s economy and the livelihood of its people negatively.
“The government of Namibia has called for support by and from the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation through its international hydrological programme (IHP) and they responded positively,” he said, adding that Unesco’s IHP aims to improve water security, provide assistance and build competencies in reducing vulnerabilities, as well as increasing water security for its member states.
Mutorwa said the Namibia/UNESCO WSP would be implemented by government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the country’s two State universities, as they will be involved in the education, training and capacity building component of the project.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy will involve its geological survey directorate in the groundwater component, whereas the Office of the Prime Minister through the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management will be involved in the flood and drought risk management plans and mitigation.
Dr Jean-Piere Ilboudo of UNESCO said the strategy is to train young people as engineers at the two State universities and to develop long-term integrated flood and drought management plans and to demonstrate the implementation of flood and drought management policies in an applicable and transferrable manner in the Etosha Basin.
“First, we need to have experts. Second, we need to have a plan, which is not coming after the disaster, but [will] be able to prevent and to inform people before disasters, like an early warning system, and to be able to demonstrate that concretely in the field you are working in that it is useful for the country,” the agriculture minister further elaborated.
Deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Abraham Nehemia said one of the primary aims is to build capacity at home.
“We need to carry out practical surveys of the infrastructure to determine the way in which the water is flowing and redirect it to certain channels. It will then guide you on the engineering and technical interventions one must take. Once it is done it will allow you to put up models to see where the low and high levels are,” he argued.
The committee is composed of Abraham Nehemia as chairman, Japhet Itenge (OPM-DDRM) Titus Ndove (MOF), Annely Haiphene (NCP), Isabella Chir Chir (MME), Dr Jean-Piere Ilboudo (UNESCO), Prof Frank Kavishe (Unam), Prof Damas Mashauri (NUST), Ferdinand Katire (Namibia National Unesco Commission) and Stevenson Twkondjele, representing the Cuvelai Etosha Basin, which is located in the central northern part of the country and stretches across the Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto regions.