Namibia Under Siege: Unveiling Climate Change Crisis and the Shocking Awareness Gap

A recent article published in the Namibian Newspaper revealed that close to 50% of Namibia’s population does not know of Climate change and its effects.

Vanessa Simataa at a three-day trans-disciplinary workshop, unveiled this truth about Namibians while creating awareness creation of climate change impacts in Namibia held in Namibia’s capital Windhoek this week.

Simataa is involved in the implementation of the project and said that the study delivering these findings was conducted in 2021 and 2022 in the Kavango East, Kunene, Omusati and Zambezi regions. She said 18% of people interviewed spoke about increasing and devastating floods, while 39% mentioned intense drought in their areas. Simataa further said the study found a knowledge gap in promoting climate change information in the areas involved.

Climate Change and Its Effects in Namibia:

Namibia’s climate is generally hot and dry with sparse and erratic rainfall. 92% percent of the land area is defined as hyper-arid, arid or semi-arid. The country ranks second in aridity after the Sahara Desert.

It is widely recognized that climate change was caused by the industrialization of what are today’s most developed countries. Since most of these are located in the northern hemisphere, they are collectively termed the Global North.  According to Conservation Namibia, these countries are generally wealthier and thus have more resources to devote to climate mitigation or adaptation strategies. Many of these countries have service-based economies that are a few steps removed from the natural world and will therefore not feel the impacts of climate change as quickly and severely as industries like agriculture and fisheries which are majorly part of Namibia.

Here are two Climate Change effects in Namibia include:

  • Increase in temperatures

Conservation Namibia says that if the climate gets hotter and drier over time, Namibia can expect that the area of land suitable for commercial livestock production will get smaller. Land use and management have major impacts on the state of the vegetation and productivity of the land over time. The combination of continual grazing pressure and fire suppression, for example, caused bush thickening (encroachment) and declining farmland productivity in Namibia over the last century.

  • Less rainfall

As semi-arid to arid country, Namibia has always experienced fluctuations in rainfall patterns, but climate change has exacerbated the situation leading to droughts. According to NASA Earth Observatory, studies show that rising global temperatures and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns are contributing to decreased rainfall in the region. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Namibia is expected to face more frequent and severe droughts as a result of climate change, impacting water availability and agricultural productivity. The decline in rainfall not only affects food security and water resources but also exacerbates other climate-related challenges, such as desertification and ecosystem degradation, further highlighting the urgent need for adaptation and mitigation measures to address the impacts of reduced rainfall in Namibia.

Even with these issues, Namibia is fighting Climate change effects notably through Climate Change Policies. The National Youth Climate Change Summit which took place in Windhoek hosted a number of youths engaging in discussions around climate change awareness and the need to take climate smart action, where the youth can derive finances to support their project implementation plans and how they can overall contribute to the cause.

The National Youth Climate Action Network of Namibia (Youth4CAN) is a youth-led network with representation from all 14 regions of Namibia. Youth4CAN promotes evidence-based climate action at a local and national level.

In a statement during the summit, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said youth voices are a critical part of the inclusivity needed to ensure national policies such as the Namibian development cooperation.

Naango Kainge


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