WINDHOEK: The first-ever Climate Change Knowledge Fair commenced at the Habitat Research and Development Centre (HRDC) in the capital on Thursday.
The two-day event is taking place under the theme ‘Knowledge, Innovation, Action and Resilience’, and aims to stimulate and facilitate the exchange of knowledge about climate change across different sectors in Namibia, and to advance cross-sectoral interaction, cross-practice learning and collaboration.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said while Namibia has done a lot of work in documenting its vulnerability to this phenomenon, more still needs to be done to translate this knowledge into actions and decision-making tools for all sectors to participate fully, and to engage meaningfully.
She stated that a large body of climate change literature, including published books, science journals and information on the Internet, exists.
Ndaitwah, however, raised the concern that the wealth of this knowledge remains meaningless if it is not utilised to improve the lives of the Namibian people.
“My call to the climate change practitioners is to move away from the tradition of writing well-decorated reports and publications in highly scientific jargon that is only understood by a few.
With this approach, scientists and practitioners will remain in their own silos, without influencing decision-makers and local managers,” she noted.
Namibia has introduced a few good examples of easily understandable information such as the Community Information Toolkits on Climate Change Adaptation, which the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has developed for all 13 regions in the country.
The toolkits were translated into local languages to facilitate and enhance comprehension of climate change issues by society in the context within which it occurs.
The minister said the country needs especially young Namibians to advocate, innovate and contribute to the global toolbox of addressing global changes, including climate change.
At the same occasion, United Nations’ Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Neil Boyer said climate change is one of the developmental challenges currently facing the world.
It is also expected to have unprecedented impacts on people worldwide, but more so in the developing countries, which have little means to adapt, and Namibia is no exception to this.
Meanwhile, Khomas Regional Governor Samuel Nuuyoma said climate change is not only an environmental problem, but also a developmental challenge that needs collaboration from various stakeholders.
The Africa Adaptation Project for Namibia (AAP NAM) Directorate in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism organised the event, which is aimed at building a foundation for a national approach to climate change adaptation in Namibia.
MET Environmental Commissioner Theo Nghitila will discuss the ‘National Policy on Climate Change for Namibia’ during the knowledge fair.
On climate change adaptation, deliberations will include “community-based adaptation in Namibia; the status of disaster risk management in Namibia; water supply and demand; e-learning, and mushroom production”.
A high-level panel discussion titled ‘How knowledge builds resilience to climate change’ is slated for Friday, with leaders from Government, academic institutions and private organisations expected to attend.
Cross-cutting climate change issues such as gender and climate change, and communication and awareness in climate change responses, are also to be discussed.
The event ends tomorrow.