Addressing climate change through mitigation, adaptation activities in Namibia
By Dr Moses Amweelo
According to Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) 2001, mitigation refers to an anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.
These include the use of renewable energy sources and efficient technology among many other actions.
Namibia developed a national climate change strategic and action plan 2013-2020 and two themes under mitigation namely: sustainable energy and prioritised low carbon development and transport.
Under these themes, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed a programme called Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) and it refers to any action that reduces emissions in developing countries and is prepared under the umbrella of national governmental initiatives.
They can be policies directed at transformational change within an economic sector, or actions across sectors for a broader national focus.
National appropriate mitigation actions are supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity building and are aimed at achieving a reduction in emissions relative to business as usual emissions in 2020.
Namibia’s NAMA is focused on rural development in Namibia through electrification with renewable energy.
The NAMA programme presents an opportunity for sustainable development for Namibia, and, at the same time, an opportunity for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
The proposed programme was designed to support Namibia in achieving its strategies for rural electrification and to complement on-going activities in this field.
The programme’s overall target is to support Namibia in achieving the goal defined in the off-grid energisation master plan namely, to provide access to appropriate energy technologies to everyone living or working in off-grid areas.
In respect of transport, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with the City of Windhoek has developed a project proposal on low carbon transport in Windhoek.
The project aims at providing the necessary means for the development of a low-carbon city (that can be replicated to other towns in the country).
Windhoek is rapidly developing and so this project will set Windhoek city as a role model for sustainable transport in southern Africa.
The project would contribute to climate change mitigation through increased access to public and non-motorised transport and avoid increasing congestion and thus reduce Namibia’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Target actions would include construction of public transport, walking and cycling facilities, raising awareness of low-carbon transport options and vehicle fuel efficiency, strengthened institutional and regulatory systems for climate responsive planning, integration of climate change into land-use plans and renewal of the existing public vehicle fleet.
The project will be submitted to the Green Climate Fund, an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was adopted by 195 Parties at the end of 2011.
Its primary purpose is to promote a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries that are vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
The fund is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise climate finance of US$100 billion per year by 2020.
Regarding adaptation activities in Namibia, climate change will affect everyone, all sectors and at many levels and it will have a profound impact on the entire chain of livelihood, economic growth and ecosystem.
This is proven by scientific modelling and prediction for the factor that the country is characteristic with most arid climate in southern Africa; hence our economy is already exposed to difficult and harsh conditions with water accessibility a serious threat.
Prolonged drought, although considered normal to some extent, has devastating impacts on livelihood, food availability, health and wellbeing in many of our rural communities.
Namibia has placed more focus on adaptation that is currently implemented under four key critical themes, that is, food security and sustainable biological resources; sustainable water resources base; human health and wellbeing; and infrastructure development.
To date, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism – which is responsible for planning, formulating and coordinating all climate change-related initiatives – has initiated notable interventions that aim to embrace national government/development plans towards a resilient nation.
The following programmes were initiated to address climate change adaptation namely: scaling up community resilience to climate variability and climate change in northern Namibia, with a special focus on women and children.
This project aims to strengthen the adaptive capacity to climate change and reduce the vulnerability of 4,000 households (80 percent of which are female headed) and children in 75 schools, to drought and floods in northern Namibia by scaling up the most promising adaptation pilots from Namibia’s community-based adaptation (CBA) programme and a Green Climate Fund project previously implemented as well as developing a response plan for the identification and prioritisation of technologies to address water scarcity in Namibia.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed a response plan for climate change adaptation technology that allows the country transition to sustainable water security.
The response plan was submitted to the Climate Technology Centre and Network, which is one of the arms of the UNFCCC responsible for facilitating and assisting the non-annex countries such as Namibia with relevant technologies to address impacts of climate change and advocacy on climate change awareness campaign.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation and Desert Research Foundation of Namibia are conducting the public awareness workshops on climate change issues, to ensure that the information is disseminated to all interested and affected parties’ country wide.
Awareness raising efforts are a key feature of attaining the goals of our national climate change policy.
As such, cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as this collaboration, are of great importance to support education and public awareness for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change and continuing to oversee the implementation of these activities in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan.