Climatic events hit hard

The SADC region is faced by common challenges and opportunities when it comes to climate change, according to environment minister Pohamba Shifeta.

16 December 2019 | Disasters

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has expressed concern about an increase in the number of people affected by severe climatic events such as droughts, floods and cyclones in Southern Africa.

Shifeta was part of the Namibian delegation that attended this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 25.

The 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in Madrid, Spain from 2 to 13 December.

Shifeta spoke at a side event on accelerating Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) implementation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through improved access to finance.

He said accelerating NDC implementation in the region through improved access to finance was a matter of critical importance.

According to him the region is faced by common challenges and opportunities when it comes to climate change.

“Most, if not all, of us have been hit in recent years by the severe and prolonged drought and the majority of our member states are also prone to extreme climatic events such as floods and cyclones,” he said.

Shifeta said there has been an increase in the number of victims and damage to infrastructure that these events are causing.

“In addition many of our member states, including Namibia, face broader challenges in terms of water, energy and food insecurities.”

According to Shifeta climate change threatens to worsen vulnerabilities in these areas, but the formulation of NDCs provides an important opportunity to put the region on a pathway towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy that is also water, food and energy secure.

“This is an opportunity we need to embrace by showing high levels of ambition and by being aggressive and coordinated in how we pursue the mobilisation of resources from all sources.”

He said without this ambition, the effects of climate change - floods, droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels and more intense storms and cyclones - are likely to become frequent and much more dangerous to the sub-region.

According to Shifeta it is for this reason that Namibia developed an ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the reduction of greenhouse gases in 2015.

The INDC covers a range of strategic sectors in the Namibian economy including energy, transport, industrial production processes, agriculture, water, forestry and waste management.

“Just as an example, we have committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 89% by 2030 and to increase the share of renewables in electricity production to 70% by 2030.”

Shifeta said next year offers the opportunity to review the implementation of NDCs and to revise them as may be necessary.

“I urge all of us to ensure that this process does not only cover the aspect of mitigation but also adaptation and how we are performing in terms of mobilising the needed means of implementation. As a region, we should have our own facts and figures in this regard as we come to negotiate at these international platforms.”

He said the region should work together as member states to ensure that it develops bankable project proposals and mobilise projects that have a transformative impact, especially in rural communities.

“As Namibia, we support the accreditation of the SADC Secretariat to the Green Climate Fund and the use of regional entities such as the African Development Bank and Development Bank of Southern Africa to develop and execute projects in the sub-region.”

Shifeta said the private sector also has a key role to play to take the region forward in a range of areas including renewable energy, clean transportation, alternative approaches to water provision such as desalination and in ensuring a climate resilient agriculture sector.

ELLANIE SMIT

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