Climate change adaptation is a multi-dimensional developmental challenge facing Namibia and other developing nations. But when planning for the unforeseen impacts of a phenomenon as encompassing as climate change, leaders and technicians require an integrated approach to accurately map the potential outcomes in an array of sectors. More so for adapting to climate change as adaptation measures have far reaching costs and benefits which are not always easy to gauge through scientific approaches.
Members of the public were recently introduced to this System Dynamics model at a Public lecture organized in partnership with the Polytechnic of Namibia on Thursday 1 March 2012 at the academic institution. The Threshold 21 (T21) Namibia Model was developed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) through its Africa Adaptation Project Namibia (AAP NAM) and is focused on integrating Climate Risk Management (CRM) into development planning at a national level within Namibia.
The National Policy for Climate Change states that the challenges posed by climate change and capitalizing on the associated opportunities clearly requires an inter-sectoral approach in which MET is taking the lead coordinating role. The goal of the National Policy for Climate Change is aligned with the attainment of sustainable development in line with Namibia’s Vision 2030 through strengthening national capacities to reduce climate change risks and build resilience against climate shocks. The T21 Namibia Model is focused to enable multi-sectoral analyses of priority sectors not only to assess the impacts of climate change on sectors but also assess the cost of not adapting and benefits of early climate change adaptation within sectors. It tests climate change policy strategies as well as the implications of implementing specific adaptation measures.
Dr. Weishuang Qu, the Director of Modelling at the Millennium Institute-USA (contracted to develop the Model), explained that the model can generate scenarios covering the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of development to the year of 2030 or longer. He continued, “Users of the model can run scenarios that show the results of different development policy choices and assumptions about climate change impacts across a wide range of variables related to all three dimensions.” The model can also be used for development challenges other than climate change.
The major sectors in the Namibia version of the model include the main production sectors of the economy, government activities, population dynamics, education, health care, HIV and AIDS, land, water, energy supply and demand, and greenhouse gas emissions. The model is based on historical data, the best existing models, and other research and studies covering individual sectors, including those mentioned above. The major innovation is primarily integrating them into a single, dynamic framework.
Other countries to embrace the T21 model include Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and China.
For more information on the T21 Namibia initiative and to access the model, click here.