Land degradation, desertification, and climate change are some of the environmental challenges affecting Namibia's sustainable development efforts.

It is against this background that Namibia will continue with the implementation of the Great Green Wall initiative as a way to address these challenges.

Stakeholders in the Great Green Wall initiative held a validation workshop in Windhoek to formulate a national action plan for Namibia.

The initiative is a regional attempt for Africa to address desertification, land degradation, and climate change effects in a coherent manner and was adopted by the African Union in 2007.

It aims to restore the continent's degraded landscape, transform millions of lives through food security, and introduce drought-resilient measures.

"The Great Green Wall, as you have heard, is not a new initiative; it started already in the Sahara region up in Africa, so we're not starting from scratch, but we need to recognise that it's a unique one for our region. There will be no way we will be able to copy and paste because these are two different regions," said Timoteus Mufeti, Namibia's Environmental Commissioner.

The workshop is also expected to validate Namibia's National Action Plan.

"We want to come up with our own approach that fits our region. It's important to understand that this initiative will be implemented at the country level and at the community level. Meaning, Namibia will develop its own strategy, and now we are here to look at the draft national action plan to see how we are going to implement our strategy that looks into our problems."

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has been supporting the on-the-ground implementation of Africa's Great Green Wall through the Action Against Desertification programme.

"FAO is providing technical support to SADC members, including Namibia, in designing and implementing the Regional Strategy for the Implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative (SADC-GGW). This technical cooperation is part of a broader collaboration between FAO's Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa (SFS) and the SADC Secretariat and aims to support and coordinate the implementation and scaling up of the Great Green Wall activities in the Southern Africa region. Namibia's National Action Plan (NAP) is a significant step towards kick-starting this initiative," said Ferdinand Mwapopi, FAO representative in Namibia.

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July Nafuka