WINDHOEK – A declaration to end hunger in Namibia was adopted by mayors, policymakers,technicians, experts, and representatives of civil society organizations in Windhoek last week.
The document promises a review of national policy and legal frameworks and a commitment to harmonize current efforts to tackling food and nutrition security. First concrete measures will oversee the establishment of Food Banks and greening the riverbeds in Windhoek.
Now, mayors and municipality will be working on implementing the agreed objectives. “We will be showing you the greatest political will this country has ever seen”, said Honourable Marco Hausiku, Deputy Prime Minister, at the closing ceremony of the workshop and thanked the World Future Council for facilitating this timely workshop.
The organization had brought in experts from the Brazilian city Belo Horizonte, to share successful solutions on food and nutrition security.
In Windhoek, where the informal settlement population is growing at a rate of 4-5 percent each year, plans are already underway to turn neglected riverbeds into gardens, where the city’s most deprived citizens will be able to plant and harvest vegetables. The city had been struggling to provide residents with access to sufficient and healthy foods.
Prestigious participants at the opening ceremony included the Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia, Honourable Marco Hausiku, the Mayor of Windhoek, Her Worship Agnes Kafula, Honourable John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and Her Worship Uika Nambahu, President of the Namibia National Mayors’ Forum and Mayor of Walvis Bay.
An increasing number of urban dwellers looking for food and jobs are confronting Namibian local authorities with new challenges. The workshop was a collaborative consultative event enabled by the World Future Council, the City of Windhoek, the City of Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to share experiences and ideas to develop local strategies for interventions in food and nutrition security, focusing on the themes urban and peri-urban agriculture as well as food loss and waste reduction.
Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Marco Hausiku, was impressed by the opening discussions.Speaking on the workshop’s first day, he said, “Namibia continues to face serious challenges in the field of food and nutrition security. This workshop offers experts and presenters a unique opportunity to promote awareness among mayors as local authority leaders on their crucial roles on food security”.
Her Worship Agnes Kafula, Mayor of the City of Windhoek added, “in Namibia, the informal settlements population, for example in Windhoek, is growing at the rate of 4 and 5 per cent per year and there is increasing difficulty in accessing food, housing and employment. I hope that we can use this meeting to examine the issues before us, as we pursue our ultimate shared aim of making food security and under nutrition in Namibia a thing of the past.”
City-regions and local governments are the agencies to assume responsibility and authority in implementing programs and policies that ensure the urbanisation development can occur as smooth as possible and enable a healthy diet for the high number of underprivileged urban dwellers.
Last year, the World Future Council invited local government representatives from four African cities, including the City of Windhoek, to Belo Horizonte in Brazil in order to share and disseminate the model that the city implemented for food and nutrition security.
The system is based on the Right to Food for all citizens and incorporates a set of 20 interconnected programmes that ensure compliance. It has proven effective in fighting hunger and malnutrition and improving the livelihoods of citizens by supporting the local economy. The partners believe that the Belo Horizonte approach could be adapted for other cities throughout Africa.
Ina Neuberger, Senior Project Manager at the World Future Council added “A policy is a strong driver for change as it provides the vision and the framework for a desired condition. But for change it also takes a strong political will and it takes people – change makers from the political arena and from civil society. So it is exciting, extraordinary and very promising to see the turn-out today”.
Ends, IRIN NEWS