The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) was privileged to participate in the International Climate Change Conference, organised by The Southern Times Newspaper for Southern Africa and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The conference was held on 12 October 2017 at the Windhoek Country Club. The conference attracted delegates from the SADC region, members of the diplomatic corps, heads of the Namibian corporate sector and other dignitaries who play a pivotal role in combating climate change.
During the opening session of the conference, Hon Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism, welcomed the participants and thanked the organisers for hosting such an important event. Hon Shifeta welcomed the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon Frans Kapofi, who officially opened the proceedings. Hon Kapofi said that the conference had created a platform for organisations actively involved in climate change interventions. He said that government was committed to supporting this move as reflected in the national climate change policy that was approved in 2011 and the related change strategy and action plan (2013) that are crucial to climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Hon Kapofi further mentioned that government has thus far developed programmes, such as climate smart agriculture, that support sustainable economic development. Hon Kapofi said that Namibia was also privileged to host the Green Climate Fund through the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia that facilitates access to resources to implement climate change interventions. Finally, he challenged everyone to spread awareness on climate change and to help protect and conserve the environment for the benefit of future generations.
Dr Jane Olwoch was delighted to have been invited to present SASSCAL and its relevance to climate change in the SADC region. Dr Olwoch gave a brief overview on the vision of SASSCAL. She said that climate change remains a key issue impacting on the earth’s resources. Dr Olwoch said that changes in temperature and an increasing population have had adverse effects on the quality and availability of natural resources. She advised that this calls for countries to put in place strong adaptive strategies. Dr Olwoch commended Namibia for taking a leading role in this regard.
A high-level panel consisting of officials from government ministries responsible for the environment, tourism, agriculture, water, forestry, mining, energy, fisheries and marine resources, as well as representatives from the EU, SADC and UNDP, lead interesting discussions on what SADC countries can do to address the adverse impact of climate change in the fields of agriculture, energy, water, transport, and health.
The conference concluded with discussions on possible financial opportunities and made recommendations on the way forward.