Namibia's drought risk management policy is right approach: UNCC

17 Sep 2013 07:50
WINDHOEK, 17 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibia’s efforts to develop and operationalise a strong National Drought Risk Management Policy is the right approach, a top United Nations’ official said on Monday.
Luc Gnacadja, the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), made this observation during a media conference here prior to the opening of the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UNCCD.
“I take this opportunity during COP 11 to call on countries, the United Nations (UN) and international institutions as well as the business community to provide support to enable Namibia to move beyond crisis management and adopt strong preparedness and risk management strategies, which will help the nation’s resilience to drought in the future,” he noted.
According to Gnacadja, the venue could not be more suitable to discuss issues relating to desertification, land degradation and drought during the next two weeks.
He said over the years, Namibia has won many battles for the dignity and well-being of its people in the face of harsh conditions.
Namibia is the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa, hence is the best model because of its ability to adapt to an ecosystem which is prone to drought.
On the challenges brought on by the current drought, especially in the northern parts of the country, the UNCCD official said he is confident that the battle will be won, and is encouraged by the leadership of Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba in addressing this crisis.
The approach of the Namibian National Disaster Risk Management Policy involves a shift away from a perception that disasters are rare occurrences managed by emergency rescue and support services.
This approach requires a significantly-improved capacity for early warning and for tracking, monitoring and disseminating information on phenomena and activities which trigger disaster events.
The policy considers existing coping mechanisms of vulnerable communities, households and individuals by advocating the enhancement of coping capacities in the affected communities.
It also calls for improved institutional emergency preparedness and response capacity at local, regional and national levels, and implies an increased commitment to strategies to prevent disasters and mitigate their severity.
Meanwhile, Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga said during the opening of the event that Namibia is honoured to host it, especially at a time when Namibia is experiencing the worst drought in over 30 years.
“It is our conviction that delegates will experience COP 11 in a country whose interventions against the threat of desertification, land degradation and drought needs to continue to be strengthened so that we can arrest it comprehensively. Land degradation is a significant threat to our developmental efforts, and is a threat we are committed to address,” he stated.
Delegates elected Herunga as COP 11 president, and his two-year term as president offers Namibia the unique opportunity to drive the global agenda on issues of desertification, land degradation and drought.