Members of Parliament attended a Parliamentary Public Engagement on Tackling Climate Change – Forestry as a Key Sector today, 20 May 2022. The aim of the engagement is to strengthen the Namibian Governments’ work in addressing the unsustainable use of timber resources and uncontrolled deforestation. Officially opening the event, Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Lukas Sinimbo Muha said he anticipates an engagement that will advance ideas about business or economic related conservancy concepts and strategies, while striving to reduce poverty and create job opportunities. “I hope that we all become more ecologically mindful for the care of Namibia’s diverse natural wealth”, he implored.
Hon. Muha stated that deforestation is a major threat to our natural resources and it is thus important that the intentional efforts towards the sustainable use of Namibia’s forests is intensified. The Chairperson noted that Namibian forests play a crucial role in stabilising the climate. “They are even one of the most important solutions to addressing the effects of climate change. Increasing and maintaining forests is therefore an essential solution to climate change” said the Chairperson. Namibia lost nearly one-fifth, or 20% of its forest area during the past 30 years. Wildfires, clearance of land for food security and illegal harvesting activities are some of the major causes of the loss. With predicted increases in temperature and poor rainfalls, this is expected to exacerbate the existing development challenges including inequality, poverty, and land degradation, and threatens to undermine progress towards sustainable development.
Member of Parliament, Hon. Peter Kazongominja at the indaba asked for assistance from the development partners to help spread the message to rural communities so that they can also get involved in nature conservation. From the Zambezi region, Hon. Micky Lukeazi informed the meeting that neighbouring countries are illegally entering Namibian territory to harvest timber and other vegetation. Hon. Lukeazi also noted that the cut lines must be revived to protect Namibian forests as well as curb wild fires. The MP also requested for funds to capacitate the local communities to manage their conservancies and take better care of their natural resources.
In concluding his official statement, Hon. Muha implored on all attendees of the public engagement which included experts, policymakers, government representatives and civil society organizations, to formulate an idea on how to improve climate change adaptation awareness campaigns that strive to incorporate human rights, gender equality, biodiversity, and habitat conservation in projects.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Vice Chairperson, Hon. Victoria Mbawo Kauma stated that engagement, consultation, information sharing and open dialogue on matters impacting the daily lives of Namibians is important for Parliament. “We have certainly gained additional knowledge on how to strengthen our development goals and do our part to improve the livelihoods of all Namibians…We all must become more ecologically mindful for the care of Namibia’s diverse natural wealth”, Hon. Kauma in her parting words.
The event is part of the European Union funded project, titled Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in the Kavango-Zambezi-Region in Namibia, in collaboration with the Hans Seidel Foundation, Desert Research Foundation of Namibia and the Parliament of the Republic of Namibia. The project actively facilitates multi-stakeholder dialogue about Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) practices to improve its implementation in the Kavango and Zambezi Regions respectively. The one day event took place at the Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre in Windhoek.