Namibia has an excellent legislative and policy backdrop for environmental protection and sustainable resource management. However, its economy is highly dependent on natural resources including diverse rangelands, arable land, mineral deposits, ecosystems and biodiversity. Economic and social development will be negatively affected with the challenges posed by climate change; especially with regard to water availability, food and livelihood security.
There has been progress towards public awareness on climate change in Namibia, which empowers stakeholders to participate and make informed decisions for the sustainable use of limited natural resources. However, key stakeholders identified the need to further stimulate public awareness in Namibia on the risks, impacts and responses to climate change. As such, the Environmental Awareness and Climate Change Project was conceived in 2014 by the Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia (HSF) and its main Project implementing partner the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN).
The Environmental Awareness and Climate Change Project complements the public awareness e orts of the Namibian Government and civil society to promote environmental awareness and empowers stakeholders to participate in climate change responses. Its main objective is to contribute to environmental sustainability in Namibia through awareness-raising on environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
This three-year project, to run from 2015 to 2017, is in support of the guiding principles of the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) particularly in terms of awareness generation, education, training and capacity building as key building-blocks for the national response to climate change.
The Project was offcially launched in April 2015 and has the objectives to:
- Increase knowledge and skills on environmental issues;
- Promote knowledge transfer in the environmental sector;
- Promote social entrepreneurship in the environmental sector;
- Support journalistic work in the environmental sector.
The Environmental Awareness and Climate Change Project implements these objectives through a dynamic approach including information and educational material development, a national information campaign, public dialogue platforms and training of multipliers.
Through its national information campaign, the Project further aims to create the supportive platform for other stakeholders to showcase research, achievements and knowledge products related to environmental sustainability in Namibia. The Project is geared to take pioneering steps toward cultivating systems-thinking approaches, with a more holistic view on the dynamic relationships of the environment, economy and society in Namibia. With great strides ahead, the ThinkNamibia Campaign is a timely initiative at this juncture of the Namibian national response to climate change to consolidate and complement the various efforts of the diversity of stakeholders actively engaged in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
About the author: Lesley-Anne van Wyk is the Project Coordinator of the Environmental Awareness and Climate Change Project at the Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia. She holds a Masters in Globalisation and Development Studies and has worked in communications, programme support and policy research roles in international development organisations based in Africa and Europe.