Namibia’s upper middle classification worries Shifeta

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Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta.

Albertina Nakale

WINDHOEK – Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, expressed concern about the classification of Namibia as an upper middle-income country and the new co-financing requirements that may result in the reduction of resources allocated to Namibia to fund climate change mitigation activities.

According to the World Bank, Namibia is classified as an upper middle-income country, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of around US$5700 at current exchange rates.

Shifeta who is in Vietnam for the 6th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), said the continued reliance on GDP-derived indicators masks the stark past inequalities that continue to define the Namibian society as well as that of some of its neighbours.

“This overlooks the vulnerability of the majority of our population and is to the detriment of our rural communities whose livelihoods are so gravely threatened by climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation and who are in greatest need of support,” Shifeta expressed.

The meeting aims to help strengthen capacity on protecting natural resources and environment, including the implementation of the Paris Agreement at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015 and sustainable development goals of the United Nations. 

He therefore called on GEF to continue to deliver necessary project grants to all developing countries in the spirit of the common but differentiated responsibility principles as adopted in the Rio Declaration.
This he says will be critical for Namibia to attain the ambitious targets it has set for itself such as the Aichi Targets, the Nationally Determined Contributions and the Land Degradation Neutrality targets.

The Aichi 2020 Targets, under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), aim to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020, in order to ensure that ecosystems continue to provide essential services.

To date, Shifeta said Namibia has been able to implement over 30 national projects worth approximately US$71 million (approximately N$923 million) and has participated in 33 regional and global projects.
He noted these projects have been an enormous help to Namibia in catalysing innovations and best practice approaches in the areas of biodiversity management, climate change adaptation and mitigation and sustainable land management.

“We have also gained considerable experience over the course of implementing these projects in terms of what has and what has not worked,” he said.

He requested for the GEF to open up opportunities for the accreditation of national implementing agencies as is being done to good effect by the Green Climate Fund.
He viewed that this will be the best approach to strengthen capacities and the long-term benefits and impacts to developing countries from the GEF and will ensure better efficiency and effectiveness in overall implementation.

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