Water Sector Support Project committee inaugurated

05 Sep 2016 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 SEP (NAMPA) – Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa inaugurated the committee in charge of the Namibia - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Water Sector Support Project here on Monday.
The new committee, which is made up of geologists, engineers and academics, is tasked with ensuring capacity building through training of young professionals, implementing early disaster warning systems and developing policies and a long-term management plan in an effort to lessen the impact of droughts and floods.
Speaking during a media briefing, Mutorwa said Government approached the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the United Nations (UN) to assist with skills relating to water research, management, education and capacity building.
“We need to build capacity and train our young people who will become water engineers so that they can also offer their skills to other countries,” he said.
The members of the committee include Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Titus Ndove; Annely Haiphene of the National Planning Commission; Isabella Chirchir from the Ministry of Mines and Energy; Unesco representative to Namibia Jean-Piere Ilboudo; Professor Frank Kavishe of the University of Namibia; Damas Mashauri of the Namibia University of Science and Technology; Namibian National Unesco Commission representative Ferdinand Katire; Thomas Shikwa from Namwater and Cuvelai-Ethosa Basin Management Committee member Stevenson Tukondjela.
Their appointment is effective from 05 September 2016 and they will serve for five years.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Abraham Nehemia, who chairs the Namibia-Unesco Water Sector Support Project, added that Namibia lags behind in terms of capacity and human and financial resources during disasters which means there is an over-dependence on foreign experts.
“We need to be there during disasters and have our own people so that people can also see that we are there [for them] during droughts. First, we need experts, then we need a plan to inform us on disasters and carry surveys in flood-prone areas so that we can re-direct [flood] water into channels and build roads and bridges where needed,” said Nehemia.
Deputy Director of the National Hydrological Service, Pauline Mufeti added that Namibia must enhance collaboration with neighbouring states in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to ensure improved sharing of information during disasters.
“We have to address the communication barriers because most of these disasters come from countries beyond our borders,” said Mufeti.