Finnish Embassy hands over grants to DRFN, Gobabeb

12 Aug 2013 04:20
WINDHOEK, 12 AUG (NAMPA) – The Embassy of Finland on Friday handed over Euros 145 500 (about N.dollars 1.9 million) to the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) as well as the Gobabeb Training and Research Centre.
The DRFN received Euros 77 500 (about N.dollars 1 million), and the Gobabeb Training and Research Centre Euros 68 000 (about N.dollars 900 000) through the embassy’s Fund for Local Co-operation.
Speaking at the grant-signing ceremony here, Finnish Charge d’ Affaires Anne Saloranta said both agreements are focused on sustainable environment and natural resources’ management, and also include contributions towards the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP 11) of the United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), scheduled to take place here from 16 to 27 September 2013.
“Under this component, we support projects that promote sustainable environment and natural resources’ management. The two projects, for which we are signing the funding agreements today, fall under the Green Economy component.
We believe that developing countries can promote their own development and well-being by means of a Green Economy, and sustainable use of natural resources,” she noted.
Saloranta furthermore commended both the DRFN and the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre for doing remarkable work in the field of environment in terms of its protection, management of natural resources, research and training while developing local capacity and livelihoods.
Speaking at the same occasion, DRFN Director Vivian Kinyaga said the funds will be used for sharing best practices and lessons learned with high-level decision makers and the general public for the up-scaling of best results and influencing attitudes towards sustainability.
The DRFN, as the co-ordinating body of civil society organisations’ contribution towards COP 11, will provide training to journalists on environmental matters, and also ensure follow-ups from COP 11 recommendations with relevant stakeholders.
“The DRFN will hold information-exchange sessions with decision-makers, exposure trips to projects and at the same time strengthen the capacity of local journalists to report on environmental issues and provide on-the-job training for Namibian students,” she added.
Meanwhile, an Associate of the Gobabeb Training and Research Centre, Dr Mary Seely commended the Finnish Embassy for investing in various phases of a programme called ‘Modules of Education (MEG)’ at Gobabeb.
She said it was in the final phase of MEG that the centre identified, elaborated and implemented an innovative concept called the Youth Environment Summit (YES).
The format of the summit is a week-long, intensive environmental training course with a challenging but well-mentored structure, exposing Grade 11 learners to science and how scientific research is conducted.
According to Seely, Gobabeb will be hosting a YES from 18 to 24 August this year.
The overall theme is “Proud of deserts, while combating desertification”.
She said a second YES is planned for May 2014, and will focus on the recent inscription of the Namib Sand Sea as a United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.
“Through this ongoing collaboration, we will be making a joint contribution to the desired outcome of Namibia’s Fourth National Development Plan (NDP 4) by actively promoting education and skills.
We will be creating awareness around issues that impact on the environment, society and economy of this country; and we will be imprinting values and a sense of responsibility regarding the environment and its enormous possibilities in tomorrow’s leaders,” she added.