WINDHOEK: The future of Namibia’s dry lands does not need to be bleak if the search continues for good practices in improving knowledge, science, technology and innovation.
This was the view of Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah during the second day of an international conference on sustainable land and natural resources here on Wednesday.
In a speech read on her behalf by Khomas Regional Councillor Samuel Nuuyoma, the minister noted that many parts of the world are “surprisingly” dry.
“What has been lacking for years is adequate attention to dry lands – a proper understanding of the needs and potential of dry land communities coupled with inadequate investment and information. I hope this conference will contribute significantly to the search for good practices to improve knowledge, science, technology and innovation,” she said.
Over the past few years, Nandi-Ndaitwah said, she has observed and visited various initiatives from community members aspiring to address their own livelihood concerns and environmental initiatives.
She made reference to the Country Pilot Partnership for Integrated Sustainable Land Management Programme (CPP-ISLM), which included the implementation of a partnership approach that brings together different value-addition perspectives, and experiences in the environmental and development agenda and improved capacity at various levels by imparting knowledge and skills.
The minister said the programme will serve as a foundation for sustainable management long into the future as it instigated an inclusive model view that focuses on existing and ongoing initiatives that enable beneficiaries and all other partners to participate in the implementation process.
She added that it unearthed a number of innovative approaches such as the innovative grant mechanism, which provided communities with direct and alternative income generation and capacity-building in ISLM.
The CPP-ISLM programme, which commenced five years ago and comes to an end this year, was designed to address national development priorities such as Vision 2030 and the National Development Plans (NDP).
The programme focused on the development and execution of a suite of complementary interventions which tackled root causes of land degradation.
It has worked fundamentally at providing communities with implements, tools, and methods to adapt and tackle their own development challenges.
“This is only a glimpse of the work on the ground, but is our expectation that the value of these initiatives will be recognised by communities and their service providers… and multiply significantly in the months and years ahead,” Nandi-Ndaitwah added.
The CPP supports a number of community projects around the country, as well as training in various activities through its innovative grant mechanism.
These projects cover areas such as conservation, farming, fire management, holistic rangeland management, poultry farming, livestock husbandry, application of fertilisers and livestock marketing.
An innovative coordinating framework is in place involving seven ministries, United Nations (UN) agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academic institutions and donors to give policy direction, and to monitor and take the steps needed to improve the impact of the different projects. The financial and administrative management of the programme is overseen by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET). The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provided funds worth US dollars 40 million (about N.dollars 320 million), while the Government of Namibia, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Union, GTZ and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC-Nam) funds other projects linked to the CPP.