By Louise Brown and Toini Amutenya, Triple Capital 

July 15, 2021

Namibia is highly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, despite being a net carbon sink.  In recent years, we have experienced prolonged droughts, heavy floods and extreme temperatures, with climatic conditions becoming increasingly erratic and unpredictable.  These impacts disproportionately affect the poorest and most marginalised members of our society: the subsistence farmers who cannot feed their families when drought or pests devastate their crops and livestock; the residents of informal settlements who have no safety net against extreme heat and bitter cold, fire, flooding and disease.

Responding to climate change requires two sets of actions. Mitigation actions address the root of the problem by reducing emissions of greenhouses gases that cause global warming.  For example renewable energy generation from wind and solar displaces energy generated from fossil fuels like coal and diesel, which emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Adaption actions build the resilience of communities, economies, and ecosystems to climate change impacts that cannot be avoided. For example climate-smart agriculture and diversification of livelihoods towards less climate sensitive activities to help communities adapt to a warmer and drier climate.

Funding that is spent on climate change mitigation and adaptation activities is referred to as “climate finance”. Namibia, like all other countries, is a signatory to the global Paris Agreement which aims to limit global warming to 2oC above pre-industrial temperature levels. Namibia has identified the actions it will take to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and communicated these to the global community in a commitment known as the “nationally determined contribution” (NDC). Implementing these actions will require a substantial financial investment, estimated at over NAD 80 billion between now and 2030.  Mobilizing adequate climate finance is thus crucial for Namibia to achieve its climate change goals.

Globally, the funding available to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation actions is insufficient to address the climate change challenge. Namibia therefore needs to position itself strategically to mobilise funding from a variety of sources towards its climate change commitments. These include from international donors such as the Green Climate Fund, as well as through its national budget, and from the private sector. Attracting private sector investment in Namibia’s climate change goals will require policy and regulatory measures to incentivise private investment in clean sectors such as renewable energy, electric transport, sustainable tourism, green buildings, and climate-smart agriculture. Namibia can also use its public funding more strategically to bring private sector investment into sectors of strategic importance, such as solar off-grid electrification for rural communities, or upgrading informal settlements to be more climate-resilient, by sharing the investment risk with the private sector.

As Namibia heads to the COP26, the global climate change conference scheduled to take place in Glasgow, UK from the 1st – 12th November 2021, we will be expecting to see scaled up commitments of climate finance from developed countries to supporting developing nations in realising their climate commitments. We also expect an agreement on the role of carbon markets in delivering additional revenues to developing countries for mitigation actions. Furthermore, Namibia will be sharing its rich experience and track record on sustainable, climate-resilient development with the world, and aiming to secure additional partnerships and funding to enable the most vulnerable communities who are on the frontlines of the climate change challenge to adapt and thrive.

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