Climate change is real. It threatens our future if nothing is done.

Climate change is real. It threatens our future if nothing is done.

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Fridays for the future Windhoek started this petition to Minister of Environment and Tourism and

Climate change (CC) poses threats to humankind, and undermines Namibia’s efforts to achieve key development goals, including poverty reduction.  All thinking people in the world now realise that CC is mainly caused by human activities, and will be compounded by natural climate variability.  The predictions for Africa include water scarcity, degradation of arable land, loss of biodiversity, more desertification, and increasing poverty for our people.

Climate change will cause alterations to water availability, with more severe droughts, floods and storms. Already up to 250 million people in Africa experience inadequate access to water.

In Namibia, rural communities and poor people are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts.  Key sectors where impacts will be most severe are health, water, crop and livestock production, and infrastructure.  Projected sea level rise could submerge some of our coastal towns. 

Namibia’s contribution to CC is negligible and this country is a net sink of CO2.  Our greatest contributions of CO2 and other greenhouse emissions such as methane and nitrous oxide come from transport (vehicles), coal-fired power generation and our current agricultural practices 

Namibia has its own CC Strategy, but it is not adequately implemented

Namibia’s national response, as stated in the National Policy on Climate Change (2011) and the National CC Strategy and Action Plan (NCCSAP, 2013) is to reduce climate risk and build resilience to climate shocks. 

Guiding principles of Namibia’s Strategy on CC, and response from Fridays for Future:

PRINCIPLE - FFF RESPONSE

1. Mainstream climate change into development planning.

Why do we resort to seeking volunteer contributions from the public to assist Drought Relief?  This shows that Namibia, and the government, are not adequately prepared for droughts.

2. Ensure environmental sustainability.

The way Namibia over-exploits its natural resources such as timber, fish, water, land and grazing is not sustainable.

 3. Partner with civil society to implement the CC policy.

In some instances, Namibia does this well; a good example is CBNRM. However, several other civil society organisations are overlooked.

 4. Build awareness and capacity, integrate CC into the education system

Not enough is done. Many Namibians are unaware of CC and the close interlinkages between human behaviour and climate change. People would behave in more climate-friendly ways if they were helped to understand the consequences of climate change. The education system is outdated; learners need to learn real skills that they can use in their lives, combined with more  environmental awareness.

 5. Base development on human rights and equity.

Namibia still suffers from widespread poverty, inequality, corruption, inadequate sanitation and housing. 

6. Promote adaptation and mitigation as key approaches

Namibia is the driest country south of the Sahara, droughts are normal and occur at irregular intervals.

If we were well adapted to CC, we would not be is such a state of crisis from the current drought. 

Mitigations such as improved rangeland management, crop production and improved water supply from desalination are not adequately implemented.

 7. Develop public – private partnerships (PPPs) to address CC

Lots of effort has to be invested to form partnerships on CC. Fridays for Future is a brilliant example for PPP on CC. It needs support by all Namibians.

 

A.      Adaptation measures proposed in the NCCSAP

MEASURES - FFF RESPONSE

Improve food security and sustainable use of natural resources
Inadequate implementation. Natural resources (e.g. fish stocks) are over-exploited instead of sustainably used.  Food-producing plants and trees should be grown in all schools, hospitals and government institutions.

 Promote sustainable use of water resources

 Namibia faces absolute water scarcity.  Where are the plans to reduce overall consumption levels?

All buildings should have water tanks and reservoirs to save water and to use it in their own gardens.  We do not have a culture of sustainable water use. 

Desalination of seawater will be the only long-term solution. Transportation of desalinated water to the inland can be done with solar energy. It is a matter of political will.

 Strengthen disease prevention and treatment

 Namibia’s health sector is a mess.  Hospitals are unable to cope, and the hepatitis E crisis could be totally prevented if there was proper sanitation in Katutura.  Many children are undernourished.

 Adopt infrastructure standards for climate-resilient settlements

 Are we ready for floods? What plans are being made for inundation of coastal towns e.g. storm surges and rising sea levels?  We see just a ‘business as usual’ approach.  Government is protecting investors instead of the natural environment.

  B.      Mitigation measures proposed in the NCCSAP

MEASURES- FFF RESPONSE

Promote sustainable energy and low-carbon development
There is totally inadequate implementation of renewable energy policies in Namibia.  We have the best solar resources in Africa, and other available sources like wind and biomass are poorly used. Namibia could be leading in renewable energy generation on the African continent, if not globally.

In 2018 we imported 73% of our energy requirements, mostly from South Africa which is heavily coal-based.  This is not sustainable and would not be necessary if Namibia had implemented its renewable energy commitments long ago.  

 Improve public transportation and fuel-efficient transport systems
There is no promotion of improved public transportation, cycling-friendly and pedestrian-friendly initiatives, or electric vehicles.  An effective and affordable public transport system is imperative. 

Transport of freight via road should be switched to railway, especially since the Walvis Bay harbour will be a logistics hub for goods from neighbouring countries.

 Cross-cutting issues 
Population growth in Namibia is not being tackled, although the high unemployment rate of 34% indicates that Namibia can’t serve all the people.

Family planning should be more effective.

Under present circumstances,  our future under climate change will not come near to the hopes and promises of social equality, human prosperity and ecological sustainability as set out in the Namibian Constitution.   

Fridays for Future Windhoek is concerned that the National Strategy on Climate Change of 2011 and the Action Plan of 2013 are very poorly implemented. Do our leaders not care about making Namibia resilient to CC? We see very little commitment from our leaders in helping Namibia to become ‘future-fit’.

 

 

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