African Drought Conference 2016
Drought is widely recognized as a slow creeping natural hazard that occurs as a consequence of the natural climatic variability. In recent years, concern has grown world-wide that droughts may be increasing in frequency and severity given the changing climatic conditions. The organization of the Conference is being coordinated through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in its role as UNCCD focal point but in collaboration with a number of other domestic and international partners.
This was the official website for the 2016 AFRICAN DROUGHT CONFERENCE held in Namibia.
Content is from the site's 2016 archived pages and other sources.
African Drought Conference
15-19th August 2016
Windhoek Country Club and Resort, Namibia
“Enhancing Resilience to Drought Events on the African Continent”.
This Conference has its origins in Namibia’s successful hosting of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in 2013, which resulted in a number of decisions and declarations to increase the emphasis on addressing drought vulnerability through the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Namibia continued to further this agenda as President of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification from 2013-2015, and its hosting of this Conference was finally agreed in September 2015 in a meeting in Windhoek between His Excellency President Dr. Hage Geingob and the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Ms. Monique Barbut.
For further enquiries on the Conference please contact:
Ms. Kauna Schroder and Ms. Yolande Witbooi
Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Private Bag 13346
Republic of Namibia
Tel: +264 61 284 2701
Welcome from Namibia
The Government and people of the Republic of Namibia extend a warm hand of welcome to all participants who will be attending the African Drought Conference from 15-19th August 2016 at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort in Windhoek, Namibia.
Hosting this conference is a signal of our commitment to addressing the critical challenge of drought, not only at home here in Namibia, but on the entire African continent. Drought events, which are likely to become more severe and frequent with climate change, are a major threat to the livelihoods of our people, to the health of our ecosystems and to growth of our economies. The ongoing El Nino has brought hunger, suffering and food insecurity to an estimated 60 million people across the world and we need to act now to find solutions to these challenges.
This Conference, organized by the Republic of Namibia, in collaboration with and with support from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and a range of other partners, seeks to enhance resilience to drought events on the African continent. It will involve the sharing and exchange of good practices from both inside and outside Africa and it is expected that the Conference will culminate in an outcome document that will be endorsed and will serve as a strategic framework for drought management and enhancing resilience to drought events in Africa.
Namibia is renowned for its warm hospitality and the easy going nature of its people. All our systems are geared towards ensuring that you will have fruitful discussions on issues of drought and its relation with socio-economic and environmental issues. I can assure you that all of your discussions will be hosted in accordance with the highest international standards associated with high level United Nations meetings.
Furthermore, I urge you to explore our capital city and country to the fullest, and experience true Namibian hospitality which awaits you in the myriad of attractions and facilities we possess. Take home a piece of our vibrant culture and friendliness that has earned us the accolade “the smile on the face of Africa”.
Welcome to Namibia – we look forward to amazing you!
Honourable, Pohamba Shifeta
Minister of Environment & Tourism
An aside: For a number of years my father worked in the UN on environmental issues. He was particlarly pround that he was part of establishing the internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification that resulted in the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification).The objectives of the UNCCD seeks to improve land productivity, to restore (or preserve) land, to establish more efficient water usage and to introduce sustainable development in the affected areas and more generally, improve the living conditions of those populations affected by drought and desertification. Although my father is now retired and living in a senior living facility in Maryland, his interest in the work of the UNCCD remains. When I was setting up his room at the Hart Heritage Estates assisted living community, he insisited that his computer be placed on the large desk that overlooked the 6.5 acres of the facility's park-like grounds. My father is very pleased with his new home which is a great relief to me. Whenever I am asked by my friends who are considering some type of assisted living arrangement for their folks, I recommend this place. For family members whose needs may require a higher level of care and assistance, but do not want to be in a nursing home, Hart Heritage Estates is a great choice IF one lived in the Bel Air area of Maryland. My father enjoys showing folks all around his new home in Forest Hill. And ever the enviromentalist touting his support for the UN and their work to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs, he always ends his tours with a plea to support the UN's efforts.
Agenda – African Drought Conference
15-19th August 2016
Theme: “Enhancing resilience to drought events on the African Continent”
Day I – 15th August 2016
- Official Opening of the Technical Segment
- Regional Statements from the Chairpersons of African Regional Blocks on the drought situation in the respective regions
End of Official Opening
- Panel Discussion on the role of synergies in the implementation of the three Rio Conventions
- Evening Reception (host country)
Day II – 16th August 2016 Scientific Sessions
- Drought Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (national, regional and global)
- Drought Risk Management including Vulnerability Assessments
Day III – 17th August 2016, Scientific Sessions continued
- Drought Preparedness and measures to mitigate the impact of drought
- Planning for appropriate response and relief measures
- Side Events
Side events organized within the sidelines of the official sessions of the African Drought Conference (ADC) provide an informal opportunity for participating countries and accredited observer organizations to exchange information and experiences on diverse issues related to the objectives of the ADC.
Day IV – 18th August 2016
- Official Opening of High Level Segment
- High Level Panel Discussion on the role of synergies in the implementation of the three Rio Conventions
- Discussions and interventions of Ministers
- Presentation of Strategic Framework (White Paper) and Conference Outcomes
18.30 Evening Reception
Day V – 19th August 2016
- Discussions continue
- Endorsement and Way Forward
- Official Closing
Situated in Windhoek’s leafy southern suburbs, the world class Windhoek Country Club and Resort is the venue for hosting the African Drought Conference. Truly one of the Namibian gems which embodies luxury and quality service, the Country Club has played host to several high profile events including the Miss Universe pageant in 1993 and the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in 2013.
Developed as a resort within the city, the Windhoek Country Club Resort offers conference delegates the best of both worlds. The resort’s unique combination of exceptional service, luxury accommodation and tranquil setting has ensured that it remains the final word in comfort in Namibia.
Surrounded by the expansive green lawns that make up part of the superb 18-hole golf course, the venue will provide a beautiful backdrop to proceedings.
With two world class restaurants, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), gymnasium, swimming pool and so much more delegates can expect that their time at the Country Club will not only be pleasant but ease of access to facilities is ensured. Wireless Internet access will be provided at the venue for registered delegates and delegates are encouraged to bring their laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Visa and Entry Requirements
All visitors to the Republic of Namibia must have a valid passport (valid for six months after date of departure). For the purposes of attending this Conference, participants from all countries require a visa, except for those coming from the 56 exempted countries listed below.
The Government of the Republic of Namibia encourages participants to apply for their visa as early as possible through their nearest Namibian embassy or consulate. A complete list of Namibian embassies and consulates can be found on www.mfa.gov.na and a visa application form may also be downloaded from this website by clicking here or at the end of this document.
Participants from countries without access to Namibian embassy or consular services are advised to send their completed visa application form and a scanned passport photo to email@example.com for assistance with the visa application process.
However all delegates are advised to check with their nearest Namibian Embassy or High Commission, or their travel agents before they travel. Delegates are also advised to check if a transit visa is required en route to Namibia, particularly if travelling via the Republic of South Africa or Angola.
Law for entry into the Republic of Namibia requires no immunizations except for participants travelling from an area where Yellow Fever is endemic. In that case, a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is mandatory and the vaccination must be obtained at least 10 days before entering the country.
Africa Drought Conference concluded with Windhoek Declaration
Windhoek, Namibia, 19 August, 2016 – African Drought Conference hosted by the government of Namibia ended with adaption of “The Windhoek Declaration for Enhancing Resilience to Drought in Africa” on 19 August. The declaration states the commitments to implement the Strategic Framework for Drought Risk Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa; to establish a continent-wide African Network with national institutions for Drought Monitoring and Early Warning Systems; and to convene biennial African Drought Conference to be held concurrently with the African Drylands Week to consider progress of the implementation of the Strategy adopted in Windhoek in August 2016, in order to promote investment among others.
The conference was one of the distinct outcomes of the Namib Declaration adopted at the UNCCD COP 11/Decision 36 which emphasized a stronger UNCCD for land degradation neutrality with increasing focus on mitigating the impacts of droughts and the development of national drought policies.
The UNCCD was a co-organizer of the conference and provided technical and financial support.
Drought management framework for Africa approved
October 24, 2016 /https://drought.unl.edu
Getting governments to consider a proactive approach to prepare for future drought events is almost always an uphill battle. This doesn’t daunt Tsegaye Tadesse, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In August, he attended the African Drought Conference in Windhoek, Namibia, where the goal was to develop a drought risk management strategy for all of Africa, a continent nearly 3.5 times larger than the United States. Such a strategy will enhance each country’s resilience to drought impacts.
“It is ambitious,” he acknowledged, “But you have to start somewhere; 10,000 steps start with just one.”
The conference may have propelled an entire continent into taking that first step. There, Tadesse presented a proposal on a drought risk management framework, “Drought Resilient and Prepared Africa,” which builds on the long legacy of international drought risk management work by NDMC faculty — current Director Mark Svoboda, Cody Knutson and Michael Hayes — and drought center founder Don Wilhite. The proposal was revised and approved by the ministers of all participating African countries over the five-day conference.
In the past, Tadesse said, many African countries have not placed a “proper priority” on drought risk management. Most often, countries have taken a crisis-management approach, rather than a proactive, preventative one.
But, since droughts are natural phenomena, they aren’t going anywhere. They are an expected part of all climates, and growing evidence indicates droughts in Africa are likely to become more frequent and last longer as a result of climate change and will leave severe economic and social damage. A report by the UNOCHA in July stated that more than30 million people in Africa were affected by severe El Nino-linked drought impacts in 2016, with southern Africa experiencing the driest cropping season in 35 years. The resulting food scarcity has led to thousands of deaths.
That means not having a plan really shouldn’t be an option.
“Each country needs a drought policy and a commitment to a drought policy,” Tadesse said. At the same time, he said in the proposal, “While each country in Africa has the primary responsibility for managing and reducing drought risk, it is a shared responsibility between African governments and relevant stakeholders, scientific institutions and the private sector, as well as UN agencies.”
To help countries create their short-, medium- and long-term drought mitigation plans, a Drought Task Force has to be created, Tadesse said. The African Union Commission and United Nations agencies also plan to help fund the creation of plans for the poorer countries in Africa.
“The African Union and delegates want to do the next step as soon as possible to keep the momentum going,” Tadesse said about the outcome of the conference. “Within a couple of years, they want to have an overarching drought policy and implementation plan for Africa.”
Still, Tadesse said, he and other leaders know political will and commitment is important, and planning for drought can’t be forced on people. Some countries may choose not to. But Tadesse is ever hopeful that won’t be the decision made.
“The president of Namibia, Dr. Hage Geingob was there while I was presenting the DRAPA proposal at the African Drought Conference,” he said. “I think he is committed to the issue, and that is really good. We have to try and move the needle and having his commitment to the issue will set a good example for other countries in Africa.”
Tadesse said generally Africa has shown recent enthusiasm for battling the issue, and some countries, such as Ethiopia and Kenya, already have policies in place. However, the plans need to be dynamic and improved periodically to incorporate lessons learned.
“These plans need to be proactive and dynamic and should be revised for each country based on resources, culture and indigenous knowledge,” Tadesse said. “Conditions change. We want each country to review their policy every five years, to look at what worked and what didn’t work, and then make significant changes if needed.”
The “Drought Resilient and Prepared Africa” framework incorporates the approach promoted by the Integrated Drought Management Program that highlights the development of national drought policies based on the three pillars of drought risk management:
· drought monitoring and early warning;
· drought vulnerability and risk assessment;
· and drought preparedness, mitigation and response.
Tadesse further emphasized three specific elements in the framework:
· policies and governance for drought risk management;
· drought awareness and knowledge management;
· and reducing underlying factors of drought risk.
If done appropriately, drought plans can help reduce impacts to people and property, but also strengthen the ties between the countries of Africa while reducing the monetary cost of drought recovery.
“Each country in Africa has a stake in this,” Tadesse said. “Having a drought plan is not just an advantage for an individual country. It also is a benefit to the entire continent.”
This work ties in closely with other recent work by the university in the Middle East and North Africaregion. The drought center and the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute are working together with the Dubai-based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture to help the region balance water consumption and increase agricultural productivity, with a focus on drought management.
— Shawna Richter-Ryerson, National Drought Mitigation Center