Namibia constantly affectedby global warming

WETLANDS … Ag-riculture, water and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein and environment, forestry and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta at the joint marking of World Wetlands and Water Day.

Global warming is constantly affecting Namibia’s highly variable rainfall patterns, making every drop of water and wetlands a very important aspect of people’s lives, senior government officials have said.

Speaking at the World Wetlands and Water Day, agriculture, water and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein and environment, forestry and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta emphasised the need to preserve water and wetlands for sustainable use.

International World Wetlands Day 2024 was held under the theme: ‘Wetlands and human well-being’ and the World Water Day 2024 was under the theme: ‘Leveraging Water for Peace’.

“Of the total volume of water on earth, it is estimated that a mere 2,5% is available as fresh water, and of that 96% is tied up in polar icecaps and glaciers or underground. Only 0,3% of freshwater is held in wetlands,” Schlettwein said.

Schlettwein added that climate change is causing disruption of the freshwater cycle bringing about severe negative consequences, including rising temperatures and increased rainfall variability.

“Namibia, with its erratic and arid climate, is vulnerable. We feel some of these consequences as we speak with a drought looming in most parts of the country,” said Schlettwein.

He added ,”Wetlands further provide a great variety of ecological niches for animals and plants and are the hosts of a great number of species and ecological processes that make out a significant component of the world’s biodiversity.

“Wetlands conservation and sustainable use must, therefore, be an integral part to any solution to the freshwater crisis.”

Schlettwein said demand for fresh water in Namibia has been increasing and will continue to do so over the coming decades.

“If we mismatch water demand with available water resources, we risk disrupting the fresh water cycle, depleting our resources and the chances of us meeting many sustainable development goals, which are aimed at alleviating poverty, improving public health, improving education, protection of the environment and ensuring safe drinking water and sanitation for all become slim indeed.”

He said the choice of Kunene to host the celebrations is appropriate because Namibia benefits from the Kunene River in various ways, including water to the four central regions through the Calueque-Oshakati canal.

Schlettwein added that 31 boreholes were installed this financial year, while the installation of nine other boreholes is ongoing and 27 boreholes are being rehabilitated. This brings the total number of active boreholes to 682.

The construction of two mini desalination plants was completed at Sesfontein and Petrusfontein constituencies. Traditional wells are having solar systems installed.

Shifeta said Namibia is party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, and has listed five such wetlands covering an area of 676 564 hectares, since becoming party to this international agreement in 1995.

The Ramsar Convention was created to prevent further loss of wetlands at global level.

“Globally our wetlands are in jeopardy. We are losing wetlands three times faster than we are losing our forests, and more than 80% of the wetlands have disappeared since the 1700s. The trend is accelerating even further since the Ramsar Convention was signed, and since then at least 35% of wetlands have been lost,” he said.

The main driving force leading to the degradation and loss of wetlands are human activities and climate change, he added.

“The Kunene region has experienced prolonged drought since 2012 with only one or two good rainy seasons in between. The drought has negatively impacted the available water resources and wetlands.

“This has resulted in increased human-wildlife conflict that has also impacted negatively on the livelihoods of local communities.” – email:

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News