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The first ever Spain Namibia Climate Forum

Posted on April 22, 2024

The platform, held at the Roof of Africa Hotel and online, aimed to foster cooperation and dialogue on climate change between Spain and Namibia, being both countries severely affected by climate change. Under the theme “Targeting resilience: Harnessing Spanish and Namibian Climate Solutions”, experts, researchers, stakeholders, and the public from both countries were urged to collaborate to address this global challenge.

The event was opened by His Excellency Alberto de la Calle, Ambassador of Spain to Namibia who underlined the value of the platform in promoting global cooperation and the important role of Scientific Diplomacy. "The Spain-Namibia Climate Forum represents an important milestone in our collaborative efforts to address climate change challenges and allow us to create long-term solutions for a resilient future”- he said. Ms Maria Luisa de la Puerta, CEO of Omeva consulting, followed building on her experience as a livestock scientist in both Namibia and Spain, emphasising key areas of cooperation – “Spain and Namibia are ideal partners, Spain boasts technology and a long tradition of cooperative, whereas Namibia is pioneer in drought resilience and mitigating climate change”.

The event was strongly supported by the Association of Spanish Scientist in Southern Africa, represented by their Vice-president, Dr Fabiola Quesada, a veterinarian working in One Health, who highlighted negative impact of climate change on African wildlife. – “I am disheartened by the effects of climate change on the wildlife of the beautiful savannah. It not only intensifies competition between humans and wildlife but also deteriorates their health and nutrition, endangering their very existence.”

The event also received the funds and support from the Ramon Areces Fundation, and it was carefully planned to highlight key areas for cooperation. It integrated research presentations with entertaining activities to explore attendants’ previous knowledge and dispel Spanish and Namibian stereotypes. The first session, “Understanding our systems and products” brought together Spanish and Namibian researchers as well as businessmen to explain their value-added products; from devils’ claws to Spanish olive oil and wine, passing through horticulture production in Zambezi, presenters explained their production systems and legislation frameworks. A special attention must be brought to Ms Ndapewa Fenny Ndakanyete, UNAM lecturer, who presented the legal framework to protect indigenous products exports, as well as Mr. Victorino Martinez, Director of Las Abogadas Wines, who explained the legislation and advantages of the Denomination of Origin Trademark. The afternoon began with an Agri-tech session featuring young, energetic researchers dedicated to promoting innovative approaches in farming. Houses made of mycelium, intelligent rangeland systems and resilient cattle through genetical modification were some of the cutting-edge technologies explored. The session also addressed the impacts of climate change on health, with the distinguished presence of Dr Rafael Langes, President of the World Veterinary Association, as the keynote speaker. Dr Langes eloquently explained the association's fervent advocacy against climate change and highlighted the effects of climate change in veterinary medicine and the profession. Another notable highlight was the presentation by the keynote speaker, Luis Cardenas, from the School of Agricultural Engineers of Western Andalusia. He shared the remarkable journey of transforming one of Europe's oldest deserts, Tabernas in Almeria, into the largest producer of horticulture on the continent, which was enthusiastically received by the attendees from Namibia.

To ensure continuity and foster cooperation, Dr. Ahmed Maalel and Dr. Yedilfana Setarge were invited to present on EURAXESS Africa Services & Funding, and Networking Opportunities Under Horizon Europe. This initiative provided Namibians with pathways to pursue funding and scholarships abroad as well as to invite Spanish guest to Namibia.

The event concluded with a warm speech from Ms. Emilia Celemín Redondon, Deputy Head of Mission of the Spanish Embassy, who genuinely encouraged participants to exchange contacts and keep in touch.

In summary, the event was a success. Presentations from both Namibia and Spain addressed climate change-related challenges, highlighting shared concerns such as irregular rainfall, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and droughts. Engaging Q&A sessions and networking opportunities enriched the event, fostering information exchange and collaboration among attendees. The cooperation is set to advance further. If you are interested in learning more about this or being informed of future related events, please reach out to info@omevaconsulting.com.

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