The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta highlighted that adopting to climate change is the only way to preserve the livelihoods of the people and curbing carbon emissions.
He was speaking during the handover ceremony of a solar plant at Sheya Shuushona Conservancy, at the Sheya Shuushona lodge in the Otamazi constituency of the Omusati region, during his visit to the region last week.
The project is funded by the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) to the tune of N$5,191,468.13 under the Ecosystem Based Adaptation investment window under the theme, ‘Empower, Adapt, Creating Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods’ through community based natural resource management in Namibia (CBNRM EDA) project.
He said that the intervention is a manifestation of local level empowerment and ownership as well as enterprise development through a joint venture by an off-take agreement with Namibia Exclusive Safari in Sheya Shuushona Conservancy.
The project, he said, demonstrates the conservancy’s unity, commitment and hard work, which is a
living-proof of local level transformation towards increasing resilience of these communities living in the CBNRM space conserving and protecting the precious environment.
He further highlighted that access to modern energy services is one of the indices for to measure the level of national development, worldwide.
Shifeta lamented that in developing countries such as Namibia, there is still quite a significant percentage of the population, without access to energy service such as electricity, let alone the use of green energy to curb emissions.
“I have seen and experienced the struggle and drudgery of most of our Community Based Organisations in the absence of basic energy service facilities.
Most promising community based establishments especially those in very remote corners of the country usually close down as a result of high operations cost related to diesel cost,” said Shifeta.
Therefore, the handover of the solar plant to the Sheya Shuushona Conservancy has come at an
opportune time, a time when CBNRM communities are diversifying livelihoods options in the
face of severe climatic challenges.
The National Policy on Climate Change aims to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development in line with Namibia’s Vision 2030, through strengthening of national capacities to reduce climate change risk and build resilience for any climate change induced shocks.
The constitution serves as the enabler for policy making with respect to sustainable development
through which the national policies are developed.
It is against this background that the MEFT Minster has lauded the EIF for its continued efforts to contribute to the realization of the environment sector policy objectives.
To date, the conservancy has benefited a total of 3551 people and created 17 jobs. The project further trained 10 youths on solar plants operation, maintenance and administration.
Shifeta underlined that the project is a flagship intervention, nationally and internationally where
community based organisations are at the centre of implementing projects of this magnitude.
Therefore, the minister, urged the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia to exert efforts in mobilizing more financial resources for other regions, so that they too can benefit from these interventions.
Sheya Shuushona conservancy covers an area of 506,600 hectares and the project size is one hectare. The project activities entail the establishment of a Solar Power Plant with a minimum capacity of 150 KW to provide power for the Sheya Shuushona Lodge.