Namibia, which currently lacks a uniform land cover management system, will soon have one implemented through the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).
NSA statistician-general and chief executive officer Alex Shimuafeni said NSDI initiated a process of implementing a national standard with the aim to harmonise land cover classification in the country.
“Through meetings with the NSDI Committee for Spatial Data and the NSDI Inter-Agency Sub Executive Committee (SEC) during 2019, a consensus was reached that Namibia needs to formulate its own National Land Cover Standard to harmonise and align land cover maps to enable comparability through time and space for land cover types in Namibia. The Committee for Spatial Data constituted an inter-agency technical working group on environment to be the core development team for the standard,” stated Shimuafeni.
He added that with the support from UNDP Namibia and the GIZ-SDG project, the NSA managed to hire two consultants to work with the technical working group in formulating the standard.
Executive Director at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform and Deputy Chairperson of the NSA Board of Director Ndiyapuki Nghituwamata said land cover data is critical because it allows the country to track and report on our own national development planning frameworks, such as Vision 2030, NDPs, the Harambee Prosperity Plan, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“As the ED of Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform responsible for land reform in which surveying and mapping are among the core functions, I would like to emphasise the importance of geospatial information and standards. In order to produce geospatial data that is accurate and reliable for spatial and environmental planning, we need to be guided by standards that provide accurate measurement. Standards ensure quality, compatibility as well as data exchange and sharing among organisations,” she said.
Nghituwamata said in order to track the changes in land cover in Namibia over time, the country needs a national land cover classification standard to guide mapping exercises and ensure consistency in how Namibia define its landscapes.
Furthermore, he said land cover mapping is an important component of sustainable development.
“For us to sustainably use the land and preserve it for future generations, we need to be informed by spatial data and standards in all our activities. Sustainable use of natural resources such as water, forest and fisheries can only be monitored if we are able to accurately document our landscapes including occurring changes over time, “she added.