Namibia needs US$30 billion for climate change mitigation

By Timo Shihepo

Windhoek – Namibia will be forced to use money earmarked for other projects if the country cannot secure US$30 billion needed to combat climate change between 2012 and 2030, Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) chief executive officer, Benedict Libanda, has said.

Libanda, who was speaking at The Southern Times Climate Change conference in Windhoek last week, said the country also needs US$10 billion annually to combat climate change.

He said the money is needed to reduce rural human population‘s vulnerability and food insecurity to climate risks and threats while increasing the adaptive capacity, well-being and resilience of the vulnerable small-scale farming communities in crop production landscapes that are threatened by climate variability and change.

Libanda said the money will be sourced from international markets to complement the locally sourced funds.

Under the Multilateral Climate Financing category the EIF targets to get US$18 million from the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and Global Environment Facility.

EIF said it aims to get US$27 million from various sources under the Development Finance Institutions, including the Deutsche Bank.

Locally, EIF is projecting to collect US$23 million from environmental levies as well as US$2 million from several projects managed by the fund.

“We need to source funds for mitigation and adaption. If we can’t get $30 billion needed to fight climate change, I am sorry to say but we will have to use public funds. EIF is of course a government-owned company and we receive our portion from government but that’s not enough. But if we can’t get money we will use funds that are earmarked for other projects, which is not good because those other projects are also essential,” he said.

The EIF is also working tirelessly to get funds to help reduce climate vulnerability, increase the adaptive capacity and resilience of vulnerable small-scale farming communities in the vulnerable extreme northern crop production landscapes that are threatened by climate variability and change.

“Livestock production in Namibia continues to decline by 34% because of climate change effects including drought,” said Libanda.

Region needs to act on climate change

Several speakers who spoke on the climate change conference called on the region to act in combating climate change. They also called for the implementation of the Paris climate agreement.

The Paris climate agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

The SADC region is one of the most severely affected parts in the world by climate change. The 2015/2016 El Nino-induced drought,  the worst drought in 35 years caused by climate change, affected the region and left over 30 million people needing humanitarian assistance.

More than US$300 million was also needed to avert calamities such as hunger, famine, homelessness and all these were direct effects of either floods or drought in the region.

Namibia’s presidential affairs minister, Frans Kapofi, delivering the open remarks on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said Namibia and the region at large must put heads together and find modalities that can avert the effects of climate change.

“The SADC region, like other parts of Africa, is vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. This is especially due to the fact that the livelihoods of the majority of our people are dependent on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fishing and tourism,” he said.

Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land management (Sasscal) executive director, Jane Olwoch, said climate change is severely affecting not just the SADC region but the whole of Africa.

Sasscal is a joint initiative of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Germany in response to the challenges of global change.

“Apart from the humanitarian assistance that the SADC region needed last year, at the moment, Lake Chad region is being impacted severely with seven million people currently needing humanitarian assistance because of food insecurity.”

Olwoch also said climate change is being caused by accelerated emission of greenhouse gases and that population growth is also increasing the pressure on natural resources.

She also urged countries to develop data systems to record accurate information on climate change as this will help with mitigation and adaptation.

Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Chief Samuel Ankama said it was good to see that combined efforts through the Benguela Current Commission were underway to help combat climate change.

The Benguela Current Commission is a multi-sectoral inter-governmental, initiative of Angola, Namibia and South Africa. It promotes the vision of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) sustaining human and ecosystem well-being for generation after generation.

NDC partnerships executive director, Pablo Viera, said: “Climate change needs a global coalition of partners to increase the political momentum of climate change fight. Collective efforts so far are not yet sufficient to drive the Paris Agreement.” The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said the time for action on climate change was now and that assistance should come from both sides as government could not do it alone. “The private sector needs to come on board and assist in combating climate change on the African continent.”

EU representative, Achim Schaffert, said there was a need to seek ways to accelerate climate change actions in an effective, efficient and equitable manner. He said The Southern Times climate change conference came at the right time as the world was preparing for the Conference of the Parties (Cop 23) next month. Cop 23 refers to the countries that have signed up to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“These dialogues are important and I would like to thank The Southern Times and the Namibian government for providing this platform. Climate change is an issue that concerns us all. The EU is committed to fight global climate change it’s because of this that 20% of its budget is dedicated to fight climate change,” said Schaffert.

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