By Staff Reporter
COP 11 is a United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) initiative that has 195 members who meet every two years.
This will be the first time COP11 will be held in the Southern African Development Community region since its inception in 1994 to address the management of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub- humid areas with a view to maintain and restore land as well as soil productivity.
Ministry of Environment and Tourism confirmed in a statement that UNCCD COP11 will take place at the Windhoek Country Club Resort. It is expected that between 2000 to 3000 delegates will attend COP11 including Heads of States, Ministers and other international dignitaries.
Namibia is home to the Namib Desert, the second largest in Africa which stretches for more than 2,000 km along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Angola, Namibia and South Africa.
The decision to have the conference held in Namibia was made at the 11th session of the UNCCD’s review committee convention held in Bonn, Germany on April 15-19 this year.
Member state delegates from the UNCCD, various UN organisations as well as intergovernmental and civil society organizations will come together in Windhoek to debate and arrive at solutions towards improving the living conditions of people in drylands; maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity; and mitigating the effects of drought.
“Each of these are critical issues for Namibia, especially bearing in mind the current drought situation facing the country.” Said in a statement.
In addition to the Conference itself, A two week exhibition in which organisations and countries from around the world will showcase and share their good practices in a wide range of areas relating to sustainable land management and its role in enhancing food security and poverty alleviation.
During the conference, A two week programme of technical side events and seminars in which diverse issues relating to the objectives of the Convention are presented and discussed by various organisations.
A two day high level segment from 23-24th September in which ministers and heads of delegations will bring a political momentum to the deliberations of country Parties on the best options to foster the implementation of the Convention.
A two day business forum on sustainable land management from 23-24th September which will bring together business leaders, politicians, experts and other stakeholders from across the globe. The aim of the Forum is to raise awareness among the private sector of the importance of land management and in particular issues of desertification, land degradation and drought.
As focal point to the UNCCD, Ministry of Environment and Tourism is coordinating preparations for UNCCD COP11. A national preparatory committee has been set up with representatives from 38 institutions. The committee has been divided into sub-committees which are coordinating Namibia’s two track preparatory approach focusing on technical and logistical issues.
An Events Management Company – Conference Systems Namibia (CSN) – has been appointed to manage all logistical preparations with support from the logistical sub-committee.
Some progress milestones so far includes the development of a concept site plan for COP11 at the Windhoek Country Club Resort.
The establishment of the host country COP11 website: www.unccdcop11.com
The commencement of block-bookings of accommodation for COP11 delegates. A centralized booking system is being put in place to manage the allocation of accommodation.
The influx of such a high volume of delegates into Windhoek for a period of 2 weeks will have a positive knock-on effect on the tourism industry and wider economy. Accommodation establishments, tour operators, restaurants, retailers, transport providers and sellers of arts and crafts all stand to benefit greatly. “Our successful hosting of UNCCD COP11 will further enhance our international reputation and attract similar such events in the future.” Said a statement.
At the technical level, Namibia will serve as President of the UNCCD from the opening day of COP11 until UNCCD COP12, which will take place in 2015. This two-year term as President offers Namibia the unique opportunity to drive the global agenda on issues of desertification, land degradation and drought.
The participation of all Namibians in UNCCD COP11 is encouraged as far as possible:Accommodation establishments are encouraged to make available rooms for the high volumes of arriving delegates;Sponsors are welcome to support this internationally significant event and a variety of sponsorship opportunities have been identified; Institutions operating in the area of sustainable land management are encouraged to showcase their good practices through the exhibition and side events programme.
However, a wide range of services is required for COP11 and Namibian companies are encouraged to apply through the host country website; and All Namibians are encouraged to welcome the delegates and show off Namibia’s unique cultures and sense of hospitality.