Land degradation critical concern for Namibia: Herunga

RUNDU; Issues of land degradation, desertification and drought remain critical concerns for Namibia, Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga said on Saturday.

He made the statement in a speech read on his behalf by Cletius Maketo, the Environment Ministry’s deputy director for the north-eastern regions during the National Climate Adaptation Day held at Rundu on Saturday.

This National Climate Adaptation Day commemoration is part of the celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification which is observed annually on 17 June to increase attention given to land and soil within climate change adaptation, and mobilise support for sustainable land management as well as call for inclusion of land and soil and their significance to food security.

Herunga thus appealed for support towards sustainable land management, saying conserving forests and wetlands and the biodiversity they contain mean opportunities and options for the future.

This year’s theme for the World Day to Combat Desertification is ‘Ecosystem-based adaptation, land belongs to the future, lets climate-proof it’.

The Environment Minister said the theme highlights the benefit of mainstreaming sustainable land management policies and practices in their collective response to climate change.

He said ecosystem-based adaptation wants everyone to direct their attention to the essential role healthy ecosystems can play in adapting to climate change.

“Intact ecosystems and the multitude of goods and services they offer need much more attention,” said Herunga.

The minister, however, assured the gathering that his ministry is committed to finding a lasting solution to address the difficult challenges of land degradation and desertification facing the country.

Speaking during the same occasion, Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa said the issue of sustainable land management and utilisation of natural resources in the country is not only a policy matter but is a constitutional imperative.

Mutorwa explained that the Namibian government is obliged to “actively promote and maintain the welfare of her people by adopting policies aimed at the maintenance of the ecosystem, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis”.

During the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP) which Namibia hosted last year in Windhoek, member states and inter-governmental organisations were called upon to commit to enhance sustainable land management and improve livelihood, especially at the local level.