Delegates impressed with Namibia's COP 11 arrangements

09 Oct 2013 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 09 OCT (NAMPA) - COP 11 delegates have expressed satisfaction with the recent event here, and have left Namibia with a very positive impression.
Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga made this statement in the National Assembly on Tuesday, saying Namibia with its long history of battling desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) made its voice heard during the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD-COP 11).
The conference took place in the capital from 16 to 27 September under the theme “A stronger United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for a land degradation-neutral world”.
DLDD was the major point of debate during COP 11, which resulted in the establishment of an Inter-governmental Working Group to follow up further on land degradation-neutrality and its implications for the convention.
“In order to enhance the UNCCD as a global authority on DLDD issues, the establishment of a Science-Policy Interface (SPI) was approved by the parties at COP 11. The SPI will serve as a platform to bring together scientists and policy- makers so that policies become more influenced by science-based facts and solutions,” said Herunga.
The minister noted that there was strong local participation in the Parliamentarians’ Forum and the Sustainable Land Management Business Forum, both of which resulted in strongly-worded declarations.
A total of 89 side-events and special events were also held on different aspects of DLDD during COP 11, 15 of which focused directly on Namibia's experiences.
Herunga went on to state that ‘A Namib Declaration on a stronger United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification for a land degradation-neutral world’ was issued during the final day of COP 11.
It outlined six priority areas of action for the UNCCD from the Namibian perspective, which are strengthening the leadership of the UNCCD for the future; addressing drought mitigation as a matter of priority; advancing the science-policy interface; focusing on local communities; engaging with the private sector; and empowering women.
Herunga, who is president of COP 11, said he will ensure that they work closely over the next two years with incoming UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut to ensure that the decisions of COP 11 are effectively implemented for maximum on-the-ground impact.
Over 3 000 delegates, including 45 ministerial participants, attended the two-week COP 11.
The next COP will be held in Turkey in 2015.