26 Jul 2013 09:50
WINDHOEK, 26 JUL (NAMPA) Foreign Affairs Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said hosting the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP 11) here will not only solidify Namibias commitment in addressing land degradation, but will also offer a snapshot of interventions against that threat.
She said this during the signing of the host country agreement between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on Friday.
Cop 11 is slated for the country from 16 to 27 September 2013. As a focal point to the UNCCD, MET is co-ordinating the preparations for this conference.
Nandi-Ndaitwah, who was Environment Minister before her current position, said Namibias hosting of COP 11 is also an opportunity to showcase good practices to the world in the areas of land degradation and drought mitigation.
This is planned through side-events, an exhibition pavilion and technical tours to the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre in Swakopmund and other community-based project sites.
Cabinet endorsed Namibias hosting of the conference in late February this year, and this has enabled the organising committee to mobilise the necessary support from ministries, civil society and the private sector to make COP 11 a fantastic success.
This will be the first time for a southern African country to host a COP of the UNCCD, and Namibia thanks the Secretariat and the Convention for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We assure you that you will not be disappointed.
Namibia stands ready to host COP 11, and we look forward in welcoming all delegates to our beautiful country, said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Speaking at the same event, Minister of Environment and Tourism Uahekua Herunga said Namibia pledge to honour all the obligations in the agreement.
Namibia is the third country in Africa to host such a conference, said UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja, who signed the host country agreement on behalf of his organisation.
COP 2 took place in Dakar, Senegal in 1998 and COP 7 took place in Nairobi, Kenya in 2005.
It is a pleasure to support and facilitate Namibia to host the conference, and make sure that it is a resounding success, he added.
Between 2 000 and 3 000 delegates from 195 country parties of the UNCCD, UN organisations, inter-governmental and civil society organisations will come together to debate and arrive at solutions towards improving the living conditions of people in drylands; maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity; as well as mitigating the effects of drought.
The event will also reflect on the way forward after the Rio+20 outcomes on land degradation, desertification and drought.