16 November 2016
Climate change is a global phenomenon experienced by all countries in the world, regardless of the level of development each country possesses. This has prompted urgent efforts of joint actions among the countries of the world, to combat and mitigate climate change. On October the 4th, the historic Paris agreement on climate change came into force bringing all nations in a common cause to fight climate change and deal with its alarming effects, through the implementation of sustainable adaptation measures (let's see how this holds up in the Trump aftershock). It brings together financial resources from developed countries, to help support our developing countries, particularly African countries that remain the most vulnerable to climate impacts. Over 200 countries signed the treaty, of which Namibia was part of, agreeing to respond to climate change by keeping a limitation of the temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.
In order to materialise this agreement signed by all nations, it led to the birth of COP 22 climate talks in Marrakesh starting on 7 November 2016. Here, countries will have to identify the strategies and action areas to implement the agreement. African countries should make the most of COP 22, since many of our countries do not have the financial and technical capacity to boost adaptation efforts. Thus, we should expect scaled up financial support by developed countries and wealthier developing countries. Billions a year should be pumped into African climate coffers by 2020, with a commitment of further finance in the future. Africa is the lowest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions but it is the among the most affected by impacts of climate change. Thus, COP 22 should promise committed enhanced adaptation support from the developed countries. Public investment in clean energy research and development should also be doubled in African countries in the coming years.
Namibia is one of the African countries already experiencing the severe effects of climate change, having encountered severe floods and extensive droughts over the past years, leading to an immense strain on the agricultural sector. Currently, there is water shortage in the country which shows signs of what we can expect as normalcy in the coming years. The country's National Development Plans call for an industrialised Namibia by 2030. In relation to the country's long-term vision, COP 22 should signal Namibia to achieve its vision via a road consisting of a low-carbon economy, a road paved by continued innovations in energy production, finance and a revamp of our economic model. Ultimately, Namibia's capacity and finance should be enhanced through the COP to be able to define the development of our country in a more resilient and sustainable fashion, as proposed in our National Development Plans, while at the same time dealing with the immense impacts of climate change as set in the agreement.About Our Guest Author
Reinhold Mangundu is currently in Marrakesh taking part in young Africa leader discussions on climate change. He is a graduating student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, and sits on the newly appointed Board of the Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate Change as the Communications Officer. Reinhold is also on the committee of the Namibia Wildlife and Environment Society, as well as the For Progress Namibia project (that aims to identify new progress indicators towards a successful Namibia). Next year, Reinhold will be working full-time at Progress Namibia.