The Sustainable Development Goals in Namibia
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth's environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Namibia.
27 November 2022
FAO supporting Namibia to develop new Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme
The first ever Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP 2015-2020) registered commendable progress towards improving food production and incomes for farmers in Namibia. The Framework aimed to increase the application of CA principles and practices among the crop-growing farmers of Namibia. Godfried Meeja, from Otjozondjupa region says that adopting CA was the best decision he ever made as a farmer as he increased yields and now earns a decent income, while Paulina Aluuma added her voice to the awareness encouraging other farmers to adopt CA as it is an effective means to counter negative climate change effects such as low and variable pattern rainfall experienced in their Oshana region. “CA has been promoted as an entry point to Climate Smart Agriculture and has the potential to contribute towards mitigation of some of the climate change and food systems challenges in Namibia,” Mildred Kambinda, Deputy Executive Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) noted in the meeting to evaluate the ended CA framework. Formulating second generation of CA Framework The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through a 10 countries regional project “Strengthening Coordination, Scaling Up and Governance of Conservation Agriculture in Southern Africa (SUCASA)” is supporting development of the second generation of CCAP in Namibia. The five-year Programme will inspire Namibia’s farmers towards adopting CA in order to ensure resilience, food security and nutrition as well as environmental protection. The development of the first generation of the CA framework was also supported by FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR). “As the global climate crisis intensifies, more and more countries are beginning to adopt climate-smart, sustainable agriculture to ensure food security to feed millions of vulnerable people", Ferdinard Mwapopi, Assistant FAO Representative (Progammes) in Namibia said during a consultative meeting. "Namibia still remains a net importer of food items and is thus highly exposed to environmental and economic factors affecting it as well as those prevailing in food exporting countries, and this increases its vulnerability to the shocks", added Mwapopi. Transitioning to climate-smart agriculture practices Consultations among key stakeholders are underway from development partners, academia and farmers to guide the design of the new intervention, and also ensure ownership and its successful implementation. The new CA framework is being designed with the technical support from FAO and will seek to transition Namibian farmers from rain-fed traditional farming practice toward climate-smart agriculture. Conservation Agriculture adoption and scaling up is highlighted in the 5th National Development Plan for Namibia 2017-2022 and the MAWLR Strategic Plan 2017-2022. The country has a target to have more farmers adopt at least one of the CA practices; minimum tillage, crop rotation and organic soil cover, by 2025 to ensure food and nutrition security. The urgent need to scale up CA Agriculture in Namibia is primarily rain-fed with the majority of the population engaged in subsistence farming. “Despite agriculture being the main source of food for the smallholder farmers, most conventional farming practices have negative impacts on the ecosystems and contribute to environmental degradation, for example loss of soil quality,” Mwapopi noted. With the country’s vulnerabilities such as prolonged dry spell and floods which at times take place simultaneously, Conservation Agriculture adoption would provide sustainable food production. The FAO support is aimed at enhancing institutional and individual capacities of researchers, extension officers and farmers to enable the adoption of new agricultural good practices for improved crop production. The capacities of the MAWLR are being developed to promote CA principles to help farmers increase production and productivity, thus reducing risks and building resilience to climate change.
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27 November 2022
Youthconnekt Namibia Launched
OTJIWARONGO, Namibia — The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), officially launched the YouthConnekt Namibia initiative on 21 September 2022. YouthConnekt Africa is a Pan-African program established by the African Union to co-design and expedite suitable solutions for youth socio-economic development, as well as to support intergovernmental knowledge exchange on policy, initiatives, and collaborations. Operationalised in 2020, the YouthConnekt Africa hub aims to contribute to the achievement of Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mandate, the AU 2063 agenda and the AU Youth Charter. Through national YouthConnekt initiatives, the hub accomplishes its mandate by coordinating a global network to create a continental ecosystem for African youth; sharing experience and knowledge on programme and policy design, youth initiatives and providing a conduit for resources at scale and data on youth empowerment initiatives. The Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Hon. Emma Kantema-Gaomas said YouthConnekt Namibia aims to involve Namibian youth in the YouthConnekt Africa Hub, where they will be expected to share ideas, submit business initiatives and acquire technical development skills. “Our mandate as a ministry is focused towards the promotion of youth empowerment initiatives as expounded in our third national youth policy. It is, therefore, our duty to ensure that we join hands with development partners and other progressive organisations in the development of youth,” said Hon. Kantema-Gaomas during the launch. She added that there is an urgent need for youth participation at the top end of the country’s economy, hence, the government has put together a variety of policy interventions designed to bring youth into the mainstream of the economy in order to improve inclusion and cohesion. “Africa's most valuable resource is its youth, and Namibia is no exception, with youth constituting the majority of the population,” she stated. Loide Amkongo, UNFPA Namibia Assistant Representative and Officer in Charge urged youth to read more to keep abreast with developments and opportunities. “Read, Reach and participate,” she advised the youth during a panel discussion on how Namibian youth can prepare themselves to fully benefit from the YouthConnekt. “Finally Namibia has officially become part of YouthConnect Africa. We have started to connect with youth from all over Namibia and I cannot wait to connect with youth from the rest of the continent. I want to thank our government for this wonderful initiative, bringing youth together for problem-solving, promoting youth engagement, and empowering the youth,” said Valmary Jantjie, a youth from! Kharas region. Riaan Siyama, a youth from the Zambezi region also looked forward to connecting with fellow youth and hearing their thoughts and ideas, especially on how to end gender-based violence (GBV) in the country. Siyama is a co-founder of Building Every Opportunity for Change, a civil society organisation that works with men to prevent GBV in Zambezi region. “Without concerted efforts to address GBV and other forms of gender injustices, the lives of women and girls in the country remain at risk." "I’m very thankful that we have been accorded the opportunity to be part of the YouthConnekt Namibia launch where we can showcase our work as well as collaborate with other youth around the country and make it effective for us to combat these social illnesses in our country,” he added. The fifth YouthConnekt Africa Summit took place in Kigali, Rwanda in October this year, where hundreds of young people from the member states of YouthConnekt Africa gathered to share experiences, knowledge, and skills. Some of the members of YouthConnekt Namibia attended the summit in Kigali.
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14 November 2022
Adolescents and youth with disabilities, and adolescents living with and affected by HIV empowered on HIV and Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights
UNAIDS Namibia in collaboration with the Namibian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) and National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) with the support of UNICEF and UNFPA recently facilitated a two-day workshop on HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Windhoek, as part of the 2gether4SRHR initiative. The workshop provided a safe platform for adolescents to interact and share key issues, successes and challenges that they face, for enhanced programming to address gaps in the HIV response, and to strengthen linkages between adolescents with disabilities and other adolescents, including those living with and affected by HIV to strengthen inclusion and partnerships. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive and other health services for adolescents, especially those with disabilities and those living and affected by with HIV. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive and other health services for adolescents, especially those with disabilities and those living and affected by with HIV. In her opening remarks, Dr Alti Zwandor, UNAIDS Namibia Country Director, encouraged participants to actively contribute during the workshop and continue engaging in programmes for and with youth and adolescents to end inequalities. “I hope that your views, suggestions, and recommendations from this workshop will inform the outcome document that will be developed to provide guidance on gender-transformative and human rights-based interventions for adolescents with disabilities in Namibia." " I therefore urge you to be as free, open, and frank as possible,” said Dr Zwandor. Among other challenges, the lack of sign language interpreters and skills is a big concern in Namibia as interpreters are usually fully booked when needed by the hearing-impaired community. This was also highlighted by the Namibia Planned Parenthooh Association (NAPPA), a youth friendly service provider for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care and support. This continues to limit access to health and other social and essential services, leaving people with disabilities behind. “We often get discouraged to seek services from health facilities as there are no sign language interpreters to communicate our needs to healthcare workers and information hardly reaches us," said Martha, an adolescent with hearing impairment. Participants emphasized the need for the inclusion of adolescents with disabilities in the HIV and COVID-19 responses to ensure that people with disabilities access quality and equitable health services. UNAIDS has long advocated for a three-track approach to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in the HIV response, being: Disability-specific activities and mainstreaming disability across all aspects of HIV responses. Participation and active involvement of people with disabilities in all programme elements. Disability-inclusive policies, programmes and implementation strategies that ensure appropriate funding and resources. UNAIDS Namibia calls for all partners to use the social model, which acknowledges that the current inequalities are not due to peoples’ disability or vulnerability, but the inability of society to eliminate barriers challenging persons with disabilities. This will ensure inclusive development and programming for adolescents and youth so that they benefit from available services, and that the social and structural barriers that prevent young people from accessing HIV services are removed. Speaking on behalf of the NFPDN, Mr. Orben Muluti calls for communities to start practicing equity and not equality. “Equity will help us move to a better world, where all societal systems recognize the issues of people with disabilities and work collectively with them to mainstream disability in all aspects of life.” said Muluti. In closing, the NNAD Director, Mr Paul Nanyeni highlighted the limited communication modalities for people with disabilities and emphasised the need to strengthen joint advocacy for the inclusion of sign language as an official language in Namibia. The workshop was facilitated by various partners including AfriYAN Namibia, Regain Trust, NAPPA, Youth Empowerment Group (YEG), UNFPA, UNICEF and UNAIDS. The outcome document will be shared with all stakeholders for accelerated action for HIV and SRHR programming for adolescents with disabilities.
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03 December 2022
International Day of Persons with Disabilities Marks 29 Years of Disability Advocacy
It was first launched in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3. The event is in its 29th year of celebration, marking nearly three decades of meaningful change for the community of Persons with Disabilities. Such days allow us to pose and shine a light on different situations of Persons with different disabilities worldwide and what our contributions as society are towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of life. This day is aimed at celebrating the successes of persons with disabilities and promoting their rights and well-being in all spheres of society and development. Although we live in a world where the contributions of persons with disabilities are not seen, it is very important to remember that a disability is less than the abilities of someone with a disability. This year’s theme is “Transformative solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of Innovation in Fueling an Accessible and Equitable World” Focusing on three areas namely- Employment, Sports and Innovation by and for persons with disabilities. Today and every day the UN is working together with people with different disabilities to create a world that is accessible, equal and inclusive for our fellow Brothers and Sisters who are differently abled, but the UN cannot do this alone since disability is a cross-cutting issue. How can you assist the UN in creating an accessible, equal and inclusive world for persons with disabilities around you? As we commemorate the 2022 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we do enjoy the following poem entitled "No One" by Ms Pelgrina Ndumba, a UN Namibia Country Staff Member with a Visual Impairment. No one Seeking the acceptance of our communities should not be in vein, because no one will live our lives on our behalf. A life of societal discrimination and ignorance should be a story of the past, because no one can live our lives on our behalf. A helping hand to cross the street or to count money should not discourage us from achieving our goals, because no one should live our lives on our behalf We are valuable agents of change; we are well able and should make a mark on the world because no one will live our lives on our behalf. We are more than our faces; we are more than what you see. Our potential SHOULD be fully realized because no one will live our lives on our behalf. Nothing about us will be done without us, because no one will live our lives on our behalf Daily, we must face the inescapable challenges birthed from stigma and hate. We are who we are today, because no one will live our lives on our behalf. Morale In whatever you do always be yourself, because you are not who you are by mistake and don’t let anything or anybody put you down, because you are able.
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15 November 2022
Towards an Early Warning System for Harmful Algal Blooms in Namibia
IOC-UNESCO and Namibia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources organized major consultation to assess the specific needs and requirements for establishing an early warning system for harmful algal blooms in the Southern African country. About 300 hundred species of microalgae are reported at times to form mass occurrences, so-called algal blooms. Nearly one-fourth of these species are known to produce toxins harmful to nature and to human beings, and the scientific community refers to these algal events as ‘Harmful Algal Blooms’ (HAB). Proliferations of microalgae in marine or brackish waters can cause massive fish kills, contaminate seafood with toxins, and alter ecosystems in ways that humans perceive as harmful. The impact of harmful microalgae is particularly evident when marine food resources (e.g. fisheries and aquaculture) are affected. Even though not all species are visibly affected by harmful algal blooms – such as shellfish and finfish –, they accumulate the toxins in their organs and subsequently transmit them to humans through consumption, leading to serious health threats. “In the interest of food safety for the end consumer, an early warning system for HABs will serve as a food safety intervention tool to identify potential risks required to be managed; to maintain consumer and customer confidence; and to expand national, regional and international trade through the promotion of a safe seafood commodity.” - Heidi Skrypzeck, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Namibia Monitoring of harmful algal blooms is essential in providing forecasts and early warnings for a potential HAB event, enabling regional authorities, industry, or individuals to take actions to mitigate public health, environmental, or economic risks and impacts. The 5-6 October workshop gathered 32 participants from government ministries, the private sector, academic institutions, and official laboratories to define the early warning system requirements for Namibia, review current capacities and resources in place, and outline missing knowledge and data gaps. As a result of collaboration between the Government of Namibia, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and UNESCO’s Windhoek Office, the workshop marked the starting point of the development of an early warning system for HABs in Namibia combining monitoring with a mitigation and adaptation strategy. “Through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO strives to assist Member States in managing and mitigating the impacts of harmful algae, essential for a productive and sustainable seafood industry.” - Henrik Enevoldsen, Head of Ocean Science at IOC-UNESCO The workshop helped national stakeholders identify and share the main causes and effects of harmful algal blooms in Namibia, including mortalities, human food poisonings, ocean oxygen depletion, and the associated economic and ecological impacts – in particular on the export of shellfish products. Participants identified an urgent need to establish a rapid monitoring and regulatory framework to ensure the protection of human health and safe seafood trade from the regular occurrence of harmful algae in the country. “Engaging from the beginning with the different stakeholders is crucial to ensure that the early warning system being developed will eventually effectively meet their specific needs.” - Marie-Yasmine Dechraoui Bottein, invited expert from the University of Côte d’Azur
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06 February 2023
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