Concerns about climate change in the Namakwa District and the recent completion of the Namakwa District Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment led to a gathering of stakeholders to put their heads together to find solutions to climate change in a one day conference held in Springbok on the 30th of October.
This event, proudly hosted by the Namakwa District Municipality (NDM) and Conservation South Africa (CSA) attracted well over 60 delegates. Chris Fortuin, Local Economic Development Manager of NDM and Acting Municipal Manager at the time of the conference, and Ronald Newman, Manager of CSA’s Namaqualand Green Economy Demonstration (NGED) office, welcomed all present and provided some background to developments that informed the achievement of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.
The programme for the day began with three interesting presentations. Dr Peter Carrick, Managing Director of the Nurture Restore Innovative (NRI) Ecological Solutions, shared his experience of restoration ecology in the NDM, his innovative restoration protocol for rehabilitating degraded mining lands, and he introduced his new research project focused on the value of restoration for climate change adaptation.
Then Halcyone Muller, CSA’s Namakwa Field Ecologist, presented draft outcomes of her stewardship feasibility study in the Rooiberg Critical Biodiversity Area (CBA), north-west of Steinkopf. Muller said “A concern is that our indigenous species are outcompeted by invasive species and this is mainly because of human activities.” Amanda Bourne, CSA’s Climate Change Coordinator, launched the final Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the NDM. This is the first critical step in developing adaptation plans to respond effectively to the local impacts of climate change.
The presentations were followed by a panel discussion in which six Succulent Karoo ecology experts, representatives of local government departments, and community leaders led a lively discussion on creative ways to ensure that restored grazing lands are not degraded again. The afternoon session consisted of interactive group work based on adaptation scenario planning. Participants worked together to develop solutions to locally relevant climate change challenges in the Namakwa District.
The Namakwa District Municipality Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Fact Sheet and Brochure are available for download at www.skep.org.za
The technical report and communications materials are available for download at http://www.conservation.org/global/ci_south_africa/publications/Documents/Vulnerability%20Assessment%20Full%20Technical%20Report%20-%20NDM.pdf