Story by Rafael Hangula
WINDHOEK- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), held a Parliamentary-Public Engagement on “Tackling Climate Change in Namibia – Forestry as a Key Sector” today (02/11/2021) at Parliament.
It is the second engagement on natural resource management that the National Assembly has organised in partnership with the (HSF).
The platform served as a way to improve climate-change adaptation measures and awareness by incorporating human rights, gender equality, biodiversity and habitat conservation.
The engagement also formed part of the project ‘Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in the Kavango-Zambezi Regions in Namibia’, which is funded by the European Union (EU).
The Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi who officially opened the half-day event said that over recent decades, Namibia has lost nearly one fifth of its forest area, as a result of wildfires, clearance of land for food security, and illegal harvesting of timber among others.
“As we are all aware, Namibia is a dry country. In fact, it is the most sensitive country in Sub-Saharan Africa to climate change. Predicted increases in temperature and evaporation of water, as well as increased variability of rainfall, will probably exacerbate our existing development challenges of inequality, poverty and land degradation,” noted the Speaker.
At the same event, the EU Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Sinikka Antila stated that climate change was not just an environmental issue but that it was multifaceted and includes economic, social, security and moral issues.
“It is therefore our responsibility as leaders to provide leadership in addressing climate change challenges,” she stated.
“Halting the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems and promoting their restoration have the potential to contribute over one-third of the total climate change mitigation that scientists say is required by 2030 to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” said Ambassador Antila.
Several experts who attended the event shared similar sentiments, recommending that State Forests be well managed and protected with better integration with community conservancies.
They further implored for the stoppage of harvesting of timber for commercial purposes, unless there has been a thorough, transparent and verifiable resource assessment to determine its sustainability and that all harvested timber will be used for significant value addition in Namibia.