21 Jul 2016 07:00am
WINDHOEK, 21 JUL (NAMPA) Close to 600 delegates are expected to converge in Windhoek next month for the first ever Africa Drought Conference.
They will discuss ways how to enhance resilience against recurrent droughts.
The conference will take place from 15 to 19 August 2016.
Conference organisers said in a media statement issued on Wednesday most African countries remain inadequately prepared to cope with and adapt to drought events - an ever more frequent occurrence in the wake of climate change.
The role of drought resistant crops, adaptive strategies for drought-affected rural communities, developing safety nets and the possibility of establishing a global trust fund for drought events are some of the topics that will come under the spotlight at the conference, it said.
Delegates will also discuss short, medium and long-term drought preparedness, mitigation and adaptation measures in order to formulate a strategic framework for drought management across Africa. The conference further aims to strengthen partnerships and cooperation for improved drought resilience.
The conference will kick-off with a three-day meeting of technical experts followed by a one-and-a-half-day high-level segment to be opened by President Hage Geingob and attended by ministers from various African countries as well as other dignitaries.
Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta was quoted as saying: It is no longer acceptable for us to be caught unaware by droughts as they are set to become even more frequent.
About 23 million people in 10 sub-Saharan countries require immediate humanitarian aid to cope with the effects of drought.
With 10 of its member states in dire need for assistance, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat has now appealed internationally for US dollars 2,4 billion to support efforts to bring relief to drought affected communities. According to the SADC Regional Humanitarian Appeal launched in June this year, approximately 640 000 livestock died as a result of the drought in Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe alone due to lack of grazing, lack of water and disease outbreaks.
In Namibia, about 596 000 people need drought assistance.
Geingob recently declared a state of emergency and announced that about N.dollars 655 million is needed for drought aid until March 2017.