…Governments’ call for public- private partnerships
By Hilary Mare
OVER the past decade, concerns and wide recognition about drought events and water scarcity have grown across the Sub Saharan region.
Like other hazards, the impacts of drought span economic, environmental and social sectors and can be reduced through mitigation and preparedness. Because droughts are a normal part of climate variability for virtually all regions, it is important to develop plans to deal with these extended periods of water shortage in a timely, systematic manner as they evolve.
It is equally important to quickly rebuild the state’s stock numbers and improve each producer’s earning capacity as quickly as possible after a period of drought thus the Government in its need for capacity and expertise to respond timely and effectively to drought across various farming communities, especially those with poor resources has taken a strong leap into inviting the private sector to partner it in its plight.
President Hage Geingob at the recent the high level segment of the African drought conference recognised the need for a strategic framework, which will serve as an overarching guide for countries and sub-regions to put the required drought policies in place whilst harnessing efforts to ensure that all existing deficiencies are eliminated and that the appropriate policies are put in place.
In light of aid, Geingob went on to say: “It is critical that we interrogate the issue of how best we can insure our communities and farmers so that they can cope and bounce back from drought events. This is where we need the private sector and our international partners on board. The burden of drought must not only fall on Governments – ipso facto, in Namibia our economy and businesses will no longer be able to operate if the country runs dry. This situation places responsibilities and obligations on all of us. We all have a role to play – from civil society to the private sector; including the young and the old. Once again I call upon all of us to embrace the spirit of Harambee. Let us pull in the same direction – the same direction towards a more drought prepared and drought resilient Africa; for it has been said that: where there is unity, there is always victory.
“This year we have estimated that the Namibian Government needs to raise N$659 million (approximately US$48 million) for our drought relief programme in order to allow the country to continue distributing food to the needy and vulnerable. In Southern Africa alone, an estimated US$3 billion is required to assist countries affected by drought. These are significant sums of money and we need the support and solidarity of the international community in order to ensure that lives are saved and that our critical short term needs are met.
“It is important that we distinguish between our short term and long term needs. Enhancing our drought preparedness and resilience to drought over the long term will reduce the expenditures associated with providing emergency relief and response measures and in so doing; we will guarantee the long term sustainability of these programs. This is the shift we need to see happening and I am confident that this conference will set in motion the realisation of this process on the African continent”.
Essentially in Namibia, the central and state ministries will mainstream disaster management efforts in their developmental plans. In the annual expenditure plans, specific allocations will be made for carrying out disaster awareness programmes, maintaining preparedness and for undertaking mitigation efforts. Wherever necessary and feasible, the corporate sector has been called on to be involved in supporting drought risk management efforts as part of CSR.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015