17 Aug 2016 07:50am
WINDHOEK, 17 AUG (NAMPA) Delegates at the first African Drought Conference are expected to adopt the Windhoek Declaration on Drought Resilience in Africa on Friday.
The conference, which commenced on Monday, is divided into two parts: a technical segment ending Wednesday and a high-level session on Thursday and Friday.
President Hage Geingob will officiate at the opening of the high-level segment on Thursday.
The conference under the theme Enhancing resilience to drought events on the African continent brought together over 600 local and international delegates for five days; the first gathering to discuss issues of drought on the African continent.
Speaking on Monday, Namibias Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta noted that it is indeed a fitting time to host this conference now as countries are facing another year of severe drought across the continent.
Let us work together during this week so that we share and learn from best practices in drought management that are being undertaken across the world. And let this information be used to inform this strategic framework that we are busy developing.
Namibia has since 2013 been experiencing a drop in the annual rainfall, forcing Geingob to declare the drought a national disaster in February this year. Regional neighbours such as Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia have also been experiencing a notable decrease in the national grain production.
Amongst other speakers at the conference, the high-level session will include the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Monique Barbut, as well as the Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Veysel Eroğlu who is also the president of the 12th Conference Of the Parties to the UNCCD. The Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Petteri Taalas will deliver a video message during the event.
The technical segment include presentations and discussions on topics such as drought preparedness in Namibia; private sector perspective in drought mitigation; disaster risk management Act, 2012- a tool for drought for Namibia; a drought and flood monitoring and forecasting system for sub Saharan Africa; and reducing drought risk and impacts: making space-based observation usable in developing countries.
The conference focusses on identifying the specific needs of African countries in the area of effective drought mitigation, with a view to develop a strategic framework for enhancing resilience to drought events on the continent.