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Namibia, SADC PF urge action on desertification

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Namibia and the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) Monday emphasized the importance of collective efforts to tackle land degradation challenges as the country marked World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which is observed each year on June 17.

In a keynote address at an event held in Eenhana town in northern Namibia, Namibian Minister for Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta noted the global significance of the day designated by the UN General Assembly, which focuses this year on the theme “United for Land. Our Legacy. Our Future.”

“The theme underscores the transformative power of sustainable land management in addressing global challenges and securing the future of land resources,” Shifeta said, outlining the critical role of healthy land in providing food security, livelihoods, and protection against natural disasters like droughts and floods.

Shifeta said desertification and drought, pose severe threats to human health and exacerbate forced migration while he highlighted the country’s commitment to addressing desertification and land degradation.

Shifeta highlighted Namibia’s efforts in combating land degradation, including the establishment of a Sustainable Land Management Steering Committee and participation in international initiatives like the SADC Great Green Wall and African Forest Landscape Restoration.

These efforts aim to restore degraded lands, enhance ecosystem resilience, and mitigate climate change impacts, he added.

He also announced Namibia’s involvement in the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Program and initiatives under the Paris Agreement for carbon emission reduction through tree planting and ecosystem restoration.

“The ministry will distribute 30,000 tree seedlings across the country this year to encourage community involvement in greening initiatives,” he said.

Reiterating the minister’s points, SADC PF Secretary General Boemo Sekgoma said in a statement in Windhoek, there is urgent need for collective action to combat the two scourges.

“Recent reports indicate an alarming increase in drought intensity, affecting over 55.6 million people in our region during the 2021/2022 El Nino-induced drought,” said Sekgoma, citing the SADC Disaster Risk Management Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2030.

“Addressing these challenges demands coordinated efforts across all sectors, with parliaments playing a pivotal role,” he concluded.

Namibia is a semi-arid country, with the lowest average rainfall in the Southern Africa region and is home to one of the oldest and largest deserts, the Namib.

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