Forests, Rangelands & Climate Change in Namibia
The Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) is a German political foundation with its Windhoek office dating back to 1978. Worldwide, the HSF is currently implementing roughly 100 projects in 70 countries. In collaboration with its local partners in Namibia, HSF is committed to the promotion of democracy and good governance, the rule of law and anti-corruption, sustainable development, and environmental sustainability as well as climate change mitigation and adaption. Through each of its respective projects, HSF Namibia seeks to facilitate information-sharing and active civic engagement in all facets of society.
Especially with its sustainability projects, the HSF aims at assisting Namibia in contributing to the goals of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. Namibia is one of the countries severely hit by climate change. In the past years, Namibia experienced various droughts resulting in state of emergencies declared by Government. Despite a good rainy season in most parts of the country last year, the North-Western part got hardly any drop of water; land degradation is gaining ground, harvests are low or are non-existing and livestock are dying due to lack of fodder. Many people have to go to bed hungry due to this food insecurity in some parts of Namibia.
To secure global net-zero by mid-century and to keep a maximum global warming of 1.5 degrees within reach, all parties of COP26 have to come forward with ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to, inter alia, accelerate the phase-out of coal, curtail deforestation and encourage investment in renewables.
The different sustainability projects of the HSF Namibia are coming in exactly at that point. One important part of HSF’s work is their awareness-raising campaign, but it also includes education and training as well as making hardware available. Already in 2015, HSF together with its local partner Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) initiated the TH!NK Namibia Information Campaign that informs on various topics of climate change and mitigation such as the use of renewable energies, climate-resilient aquaponics or the concept of sustainable forest management to combat deforestation. As part of TH!NK Namibia, various information and education material such as fact sheets, posters, videos or podcasts have been created which can be obtained at the office of HSF Namibia or downloaded at TH!NK Namibia’s website (www.thinknamibia.org.na).
Since its initiation, TH!NK Namibia is embedded into HSF’s sustainability projects, which are currently focussing on the promotion of aquaponics systems and sustainable forest management. All projects of the HSF are thereby consolidated within the three pillars of sustainability, namely environment, economy and social culture. All pillars have to be taken care of equally to ensure sustainable actions of which also future generations can benefit.
The Aquaponics Project (04/2020 – 12/2021) is an initiative funded by the Embassy of Finland aiming at strengthening food security and improving livelihoods through knowledge improvement, skills training and capacity development on climate-resilient aquaponics. So far, the first aquaponics system has been established at Aris Primary School some 25 km south of Windhoek and the learners of this school have been trained on how to build and maintain such a system. Further implementation sides will be in Groot Aub as well as in Rundu and Katima Mulilo.
HSF Namibia’s other current sustainability project is the Namibia Sustainable Forest Management (NSFM) Project (10/2020 – 09/2023) which is funded by the European Union and implemented together with the DRFN. This project aims at supporting an active, multi-stakeholder dialogue on sustainable forest management, centring the conservation of valuable hardwood, to improve the implementation of sustainable forest management in the Kavango-Zambezi Regions of Northeast Namibia. So far, a series of lively public discussions, as well as key stakeholder consultation events, have been organised in Windhoek and Rundu. Moreover, a pre-visitation trip to the two Kavangos and to Zambezi region has been done to introduce the project to the local target groups such as Community Forest members, regional administrative representatives of the Directorate of Forestry or regional politicians. As soon as the Government restrictions to combat Covid-19 are lifted, several workshops will start in the Kavango and Zambezi regions, mainly in the Community Forests, and the discussion events will be extended also to Katima Mulilo.