Monday heralds the start of the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Windhoek. The COP 11 will take place between 16 September to 27 September, and approximately 3 000 delegates are taking part representing 195 countries.
This means a huge influx of people to the capital and according to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the conference will generate millions for the country.
For many, the conference comes at a time when Namibia is experiencing its worst drought in decades and is seen by many as a chance to learn and implement anti-drought measures aimed at uplifting communities across the country.
Namibia ratified the UNCCD in 1997, after launching the National Programme to Combat Desertification(NAPCOD) three years earlier in 1994. NAPCOD served as Namibia’s first National Action Programme (NAP) to the UNCCD, and was replaced in 2007 by the Country Pilot Partnership for Integrated Sustainable Land Management, which ran until 2012. A third generation NAP is currently under development and will be launched during COP11.
Namibia was one of the earliest developing nations to implement a NAP, and used this experience to play a leading role in the workings of the UNCCD. Namibian experts have been highly prominent in the various sub-committees and panels of the UNCCD, and their experiences contributed richly to the development of the Global 10 Year Strategic Plan of the UNCCD (2008-2018).
In order to host the deluge of delegates several structures plus a Supa Dome have been erected in the parking lot of the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino. The dome rises 15.5 metres high and has an internal width of close to 36 metres.