Govt committed to combating desertification: Shiweda

16 Jun 2017 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 16 JUN (NAMPA) – The Namibian government remains committed to strengthening and accelerating the implementation of all programmes and strategies that will make Namibia a degradation-neutral country.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Anna Shiweda said this at the commemoration of World Day to Combat Desertification in the capital on Friday.
Shiweda said in light of climate change, this is a daunting task that requires full commitment from all stakeholders, Government, private sector, donor agencies, communities and the general public.
“We need to increase efforts and mobilise resources from all sources to ensure that Namibia becomes a land degradation-neutral nation in which our production systems are thriving and desertification has been prevented and reversed,” she said.
World Day to Combat Desertification is observed annually on 17 June to raise awareness around efforts to, and the importance of, combating desertification and drought.
This year’s event is observed under the theme ‘Our Land. Our Home. Our Future.’
The theme underscores the importance of land as the basis for livelihoods and the future of humanity.
“This day offers us the opportunity to reflect on the measurement and progress we are making to combat desertification, while at the same time allowing us to identify the challenges we face regarding this issue,” Shiweda noted.
A 2011 Climate Change Vulnerability Index rated Namibia as the seventh most at-risk country in the world in terms of agriculture production losses due to climate change.
Speaking at the same event, United Nations Development Programme representative, Anita Kiki Gbeho, said in 2016 alone, 1.5 billion people were affected by land degradation and desertification, and more extreme weather events are expected.
“Thus, a longer-term approach to build the resilience of the most vulnerable is needed,” she pleaded.
On behalf of the UN system, Gbeho assured Namibians of the UN’s commitment to work with government and partners to enhance resilience to drought.
Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture.