Shifeta hands over grants worth N$22 million

By Rosalia David

THE Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has handed over grants to 12 Community Based Natural Resource Based Organisations with a total value of N$22 000 000 through a project entitled ‘Empower to Adapt: Creating Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods Through Community Based Natural Resource Management in Namibia’.

Speaking at the handover ceremony that took place in Keetmanshoop last week, Shifeta said the Green Climate Fund has shown the world that direct access entities like the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia have potential to source, manage and deploy funding from global agencies more effectively.

“I am more than delighted to note the growing portfolio of the Green Climate Fund funded projects in Namibia. Through the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia alone, the Green Climate Fund has provided grant funding amounting to N$670 million. I would like to express my gratitude to the Green Climate Fund for availing these resources to Namibia.”

Shifeta further said, with global temperatures increasing by more than 1.5 Degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels by the year 2100. Adaptation to climate change is arguably one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.

He said climate change is already impacting vulnerable ecosystems such as dry lands, mountains and coastal areas while Namibia is not spared from climate change and the citizenry are already experiencing the impact as it continues to worsen.

“More than 70 percent of the Namibian population depends on climate vulnerable ecosystems for their livelihoods, thus it’s imperative that Namibia strives to identify pathways to implement adaptive mechanism thorough various developmental interventions among the citizenry to address impact of climate change,” he said.

Noting the risks posed by climate change, Shifeta added that the government and in particular MEFT is committed to continue serving the nation to ensure that they safeguard rural livelihoods from natural catastrophes.

With cognizance of the challenges that lie ahead the minister said the government will continue to strengthen its commitment to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a ministry responsible for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

According to Shifeta, the ministry has also developed several policies as a conduit to implement climate change adaptation projects.

Amongst them are; National Climate Change Policy of 2011, and National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.

“The Ecosystem-based Adaptation Project as it is known in short is based on the premise that biodiversity and ecosystems provide valuable services that increase the climate resilience of local communities. Activities undertaken as part of this project will maintain and enhance ecosystem integrity to continue to support the generation of food and income in order to reduce the severity of negative socio-economic impacts of climate change on vulnerable rural households. In addition, the project emphasizes on building resilient communities by restoring and maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services, increase habitat connectivity with co-benefits of carbon sequestration and restoring the capacity of ecosystems to regulate water cycles.”

He went on to say that it is estimated that the project will directly benefit about 60 000 people and an additional 156 000 indirectly, mainly natural resource reliant communities.

Meanwhile, between 800 and 1000 households are likely to benefit through community level adaptation projects.

Over 200 people, constituting of government officials and small scale farmers will also be directly trained in awareness of climate threats and related appropriate responses.

“I wish to commend the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia for their tireless efforts to secure resources from the Green Climate Fund. I am aware of how complex and challenging for entities to access such funding because of competing submissions. Only the best of the best is considered by the Green Climate Fund, we have therefore proved that our institutions are competent to meet global governance requirements,” he stated.

Shifeta further urged the successful grant recipients to manage and use the funds for the right purpose.

He said there will be consequences in the event that any form of inappropriate use of resources is proven against any of the beneficiaries.

“It seems like an easy task to undertake these activities, you have just been given a huge responsibility to manage large amounts of funds and ensure that they are used for the right purpose. I am therefore requiring you all to maintain the highest possible fiduciary, financial management and ethical standards during the implementation of this project,” he added.