Preparations for COP-11 in full swing

10 Jul 2013 05:00
WINDHOEK, 10 JUL (NAMPA) - Preparations are in full swing for the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations? Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP11), which takes place in Windhoek from 16 to 27 September this year.
Between 2 000 and 3 000 delegates are expected to attend the event, including Heads of State, ministers and other international dignitaries, a media statement issued by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism said on Tuesday.
This will be the first time that a Conference of Parties of the UNCCD is held in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Delegates from the 195 country parties of the UNCCD, various United Nations (UN) organisations as well as inter-governmental and civil society organisations will come together in the capital to debate and arrive at solutions towards improving the living conditions of people in drylands; maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity; and mitigating the effects of droughts.
?Each of these are critical issues for Namibia, especially bearing in mind the current drought situation facing the country,? the statement noted.
A national preparatory committee has been set up, comprising representatives from 38 institutions. The committee has been divided into sub-committees which are coordinating Namibia?s two-track preparatory approach, focusing on technical and logistical issues.
Namibia will serve as president of the UNCCD from the opening day of COP11 until UNCCD COP12, which is scheduled to take place in 2015.
This two-year term as president offers Namibia the unique opportunity to drive the global agenda on issues of desertification, land degradation and drought.
In addition to the conference, a two-week exhibition in which organisations and countries from around the world will showcase and share their good practices in a wide range of areas relating to sustainable land management and its role in enhancing food security and poverty alleviation, will also take place.
Technical side-events and seminars in which diverse issues relating to the objectives of the convention are presented and discussed by various organisations; a high-level segment from 23 to 24 September 2013 in which ministers and heads of delegations will bring political momentum to the deliberations of country parties on the best options to foster the implementation of the convention; as well as a two-day business forum on sustainable land management from 23 to 24 September 2013, which will bring together business leaders, politicians, experts and other stakeholders from across the globe, will also form part of the event.
The influx of such a high volume of delegates into the capital for a period of two weeks will have a positive knock-on effect on the tourism industry, and the wider economy.
The statement noted that accommodation establishments, tour operators, restaurants, retailers, transport providers and sellers of arts and crafts all stand to benefit greatly.
?Our successful hosting of UNCCD COP11 will further enhance our international reputation, and attract similar such events in the future,? it continued.