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Monday 16 December 2019
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Adapt now: Cautions the report of the Global commission on adaptation

On 10 September 2019, the Global Commission on Adaptation released its report titled: “ Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience.”
The global Commission on Adaptation is chaired the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and co-chaired by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the World Bank Executive Officer, Kristalina  Georgieva. The report warns that climate change is fueling disasters including heat waves, hurricanes, cyclones, droughts and floods.
The leaders of the Global Commission on Adaptation noted in the forward to the report: “…The climate crisis is here now: massive wildfires ravage fragile habitant, city taps run dry, droughts scorch the land and massive floods destroy homes and livelihoods.”
They further observed: “… So far the response has been gravely insufficient.”
The report concluded that without urgent action to respond to the ravages of climate change, millions of people could be plunged into poverty.
The report further warned that those most affected are the millions of smallholder farmers and their families in developing countries who are struggling with poverty and hunger due to low crop yields caused by extremer changes in temperature and rainfall. The report warned: “…The toll on human life is irrefutable.”
The report recommended five key areas to be addressed.
These are: countries should build effective early warning systems for storms; the creation of more resilient urban infrastructure;  prudent management of water as many countries experience more frequent droughts;  farming systems should be changed to respond to extreme weather events and coastal areas with mangrove forests should be protected.
The report makes an economic case in investing in adaptation. It states that investing US$1.8 trillion over the next decade in those five areas of adaption would lead to US$7.1 trillion in benefits. In other word prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes. And prevention has a potential of creating economic opportunities, says the report. “…
We must invest in massive efforts to adapt ourselves to conditions that are now inevitable: rising temperatures, rising sea levels, stronger storms, unpredictable rainfall.” summed up the report.
The Global Commission on Adaptation through its report seeks to engage leaders at every level to proactively prepare for the disruptive effects of climate change. Leaders with foresight and determination should take cost effective measures to reduce risks to their countries and communities.
In this regard, the report is a must read for every leader especially those in countries vulnerable to climate change.
Southern Africa in general and Namibia in particular are vulnerable to extreme climatic events.
This year alone ,Cyclone Idai devastated communities in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
At the same time Namibia, Angola, Zambia, parts of Zimbabwe and Botswana experienced crop failures.
The extreme events call for stronger measures of adaptation and climate resilience.
This report is therefore is a wake- up call for Southern Africa to devise strategies for adaptation.
Such strategies should particularly focus on early warning system, water management, new farming methods including drought resistant seeds and cattle breeds and the creation of resilient urban infrastructure.
In 2013, Namibia adopted the National Climate Change Strategy and Plan of Action 213-2020.
With regard to climate adaptation  the Strategy sought to develop among others, climate resilience farming crops, identify climate resilient livestock breeds, promote game-meat as a source of protein, develop methods of sustainable land use, maintain systems of early warning and risk management, develop conservation measures and sustainable utilization of forest resources, improve management of and utilization of marine resources as well as coastal zone management and ensure sustainable water resource management.
It is not clear whether this strategy was implanted as envisaged.
Perhaps it is high time now that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism conducts an evaluation exercise to determine as to what extent the strategy was implemented.
In any case since the strategy period ends in 2020, the Ministry should revise it to meet the current climatic challenges.
At the regional level, SADC should be proactive in matters of climatic adaptation.
The regional body should not just respond to climatic emergencies but should embrace relevant measures for adaptation. Now it is the time for our countries to take leadership in climate adaption.
The report of the Global Commission on Adaption posed an important question: “… how will the world respond: Will we delay and pay more or plan ahead and prosper?”
Our leaders should provide the answer!




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