WINDHOEK, 28 JUN – Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has expressed displeasure over Namibia’s classification as an upper-middle-income country, which he said will likely result in reduced funding in the country’s climate-change mitigating projects.
Shifeta made these remarks during at the 6th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on Wednesday in Da Nang, Vietnam.
In his speech availed to Nampa, Shifeta said Namibia is currently faced with an array of challenges that emanate from climate change, particularly human and wildlife conflict which will be a key focus area under the GEF 7 cycle.
“We are very much conscious of the need to prevent human wildlife conflict from occurring, minimising its negative impacts and offsetting the costs to communities associated with human wildlife conflict,” he said.
However, it is the funding aspect that worries Shifeta the most.
“The continued reliance on GDP-derived indicators masks the stark past inequalities that continue to define our society as well as that of some of our neighbours,” bemoaned Shifeta.
Since 1998, Namibia has implemented over 30 national projects worth approximately U.S. dollar 71 million (approximately N.dollars 964 million) and has participated in 34 regional and global projects.
“These projects have been an enormous help to Namibia in catalysing innovations and best practice approaches in the areas of biodiversity management; climate change adaptation and mitigation; and sustainable land management,” he said.
These projects have covered areas such as the management of protected areas, promotion of climate smart agriculture, sustainable land management and integrated coastal zone governance.
The middle-income tag overlooks the vulnerability of the majority of Namibia’s population and is to the detriment of its rural communities, whose livelihoods are gravely threatened by climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.
“Thus, I would like to call on GEF to continue to deliver necessary project grants to all developing countries in the spirit of the common but differentiated responsibility principle,” Shifeta asked.
The GEF has played in important role in catalysing innovations and best practice approaches for improved environmental management, he said.
The particular focus under GEF 7 is to help safeguard the world’s forests, land, water, climate, and oceans, build green cities, protect threatened wildlife, and tackle new environmental threats like marine plastic pollution.
The GEF Assembly is the governing body of the GEF and is composed of all 183-member countries. It meets every four years at the ministerial level to review general policies and review and evaluate the GEF’s operation based on reports submitted to the council.