Climate change a challenge to Govt efforts: Pohamba

07 Nov 2013 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 07 NOV (NAMPA) - President Hifikepunye Pohamba says climate change presents a threat to human security and poses a challenge to Government’s efforts to ensure food and energy security for its citizens.
The Namibian Head of State made this statement in the capital on Thursday during the inaugural session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) - an instrument aimed at promoting and strengthening Namibia’s and South Africa (SA)’s economic, diplomatic and cultural ties.
Bilateral co-operation between the two countries had previously been conducted through the Annual Heads of State Economic Bilateral Meeting, and the Namibia/South Africa Joint Commission on Defence and Security, which used to meet in South Africa and Namibia alternately.
During President Hifikepunye Pohamba's State visit to South Africa last year, the two governments signed an agreement for the establishment of the BNC.
“The challenge remains that while we should look after our planet, we should equally provide a better life for our people through sustainable economic and social development efforts,” the Namibian leader said.
Pohamba also informed the SA delegation who accompanied president Jacob Zuma that Namibia is facing its worst drought in 30 years currently, before stating that Government has and continues to distribute drought relief aid to all regions in the country.
Zuma is being accompanied by SA’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Energy, Benedict Martins; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom; Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa; and Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
“We are also in the process of drilling boreholes around the country to ensure that affected communities have access to potable water. At this juncture, I would like to thank the international community for the valuable support in our drought relief efforts,” he noted.
The Head of State then informed the visitors about how Namibia successfully hosted the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which was held in the capital last month.
He also commended the SA delegation to COP 11 for their valuable support rendered during the conference.
“It is our hope that the decisions taken, as well as the Namib Declaration adopted will provide renewed momentum to address the negative environmental and social effects of desertification, land degradation and drought, especially on the African continent,” Pohamba added.
The ‘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.