Namibia to host SADC parliamentary meeting

CLIMATE ACTION ACCOUNTABILITY … National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi (middle) with AGNES officials Shadrack Arum and Angela Ogaba. Photo: Contributed

The African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES) has announced plans to host its second southern Africa parliamentarian regional meeting in Namibia.

The two-day event, scheduled from 31 July to 2 August, will focus on strengthening the capacity of national parliaments to oversee climate action accountability and reporting.

This initiative builds upon the success of AGNES’ inaugural southern Africa meeting held with Botswana’s National Assembly in September 2023.

AGNES research associate Shadrack Arum underscores the critical role parliaments play in implementing climate mitigation measures.

He emphasises the importance of fostering collaboration between policymakers, experts and negotiators to enhance regional climate adaptation strategies.

Arum notes that national parliaments serve as linchpins in addressing climate change through their core functions – representation, oversight, legislation and budget approval.

“We aim to develop model climate change laws adaptable by member states, as many face hurdles in crafting their own legislation. Equipping lawmakers with the necessary tools is paramount to achieving these goals,” says Arum.

National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi echoes Arum’s sentiments by acknowledging Namibia’s minimal carbon footprint.

He highlights the country’s significant vulnerability to climate change impacts, particularly for citizens reliant on subsistence agriculture.

Katjavivi has also emphasised the necessity of proactive measures.

“Recurrent droughts and floods pose a constant threat. This event serves as an opportunity to raise awareness and enhance lawmakers’ understanding to effectively fulfill their oversight duties. Strengthening national planning across all levels is critical to ensure better preparedness for these disasters,” says Katjavivi.

He adds that Namibia is a signatory to both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, demonstrating its commitment to global efforts aimed at limiting global warming.

The AGNES meeting is expected to attract over 70 participants from the 16 Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states.

Local stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism and the Environmental Investment Fund, will also be represented.

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