Geingob’s dedication to the environment paved the way for international recognition

Martin Endjala

The Environmental Investment Fund’s (EIF), Chief Executive Officer, Benedict Libanda, said the late President Hage Geingob’s dedication to environmental sustainability garnered international recognition and it was exemplified by him leading the first cohort of countries to develop Sustainable Ocean Plans by 2025.

Libanda said this yesterday while paying tribute to President Geingob in Windhoek.

“On behalf of the EIF, it is with profound sorrow and deep reflection that I pay tribute to our late President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob, who recently departed from our midst. His passing leaves an immense void in our hearts and the fabric of our nation, yet his legacy of visionary leadership and unwavering dedication to the betterment of our country shall endure for generations to come,” he said.

According to Libanda, his interactions with Geingob span over a decade which began with the celebration of his 68th birthday.

“I vividly recall the sense of honour and privilege as I stood among the earliest guests, alongside esteemed colleagues, Francis Lilungwe, Augustinus Katiti and Tonata Shiimi. Little did I know that this encounter would mark the inception of a profound connection with our revered leader,” he recalled.

Libanda said that one of the pivotal moments in Namibia’s journey towards sustainable development occurred during a state visit to France on 29 November 2016, with Geingob, accompanied by a delegation of officials that also included representatives from the EIF.

The visit saw the signing of a landmark EUR 46 million pact for renewable energy and sustainable agriculture investment in Namibia.

This momentous agreement, Libanda said, laid the foundation for a vibrant green economy pathway in Namibia, marking a significant step towards reducing carbon emissions and fostering sustainable development as well as crowding in the domestic private sector to participate in the low carbon investments.

Since ratifying the Paris Agreement in 2016, he said Geingob consistently advocated for the integration of environmental sustainability and climate change commitments into Namibia’s national agenda.

“Likewise, President Geingob unequivocally supported Namibia’s endeavour to host the Green Climate Fund (GCF) headquarters, a clear indication of our nation’s leadership role in the global fight against climate change,” he pointed out.

Despite Namibia initially losing the bid to host the Green Climate Fund, He said Geingob demonstrated unwavering commitment by personally addressing the Board of the GCF on April 5, 2017.

Libanda had the privilege to personally deliver the letter to the Board of the GCF in South Korea, articulating Namibia’s keen interest in hosting the African GCF office, to what he described as an undisputable demonstration of Geingob’s dedication to climate action and environmental stewardship.

In the wake of devastating environmental crises such as the drought of 2019, he said Geingob’s steadfast leadership ensured swift and decisive action to safeguard the nation’s most vulnerable communities.

Additionally, his advocacy for environmental resilience and climate adaptation resonated deeply with the ethos of EIF, leading to significant grant funding for vital interventions aimed at enhancing the nation’s resilience to climate-related challenges.

Notably, on June 11, 2019, Geingob led the distribution of more than N$85 million in grants to support targeted interventions aimed at enhancing the resilience of rural communities affected by climate change in Namibia.

This critical support came at a crucial time, as Namibia grappled with the devastating impacts of a severe drought that affected over 700,000 people and prompted the declaration of a State of Emergency due to drought-related natural disasters across all regions of Namibia.

“Let us find solace and strength in the enduring legacy of President Geingob, whose unwavering dedication to environmental stewardship and the welfare of our nation has left an indelible mark on our collective consciousness,” he said.

Libanda further extended his deepest condolences to the Geingob family, and the First Lady, Monica Geingos and Nangula Geingos, with whom he says, he has forged a close bond over the years.

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