On Tuesday 22 of September 2020, the DRFN and its project partners University of Namibia (UNAM) and Reos Partners held an inception meeting for the CLARE project at Outapi Town hotel in Outapi, Omusati region.
The overall aim of the CLARE project is to create urgency and agency on climate action through collective action in semi-arid Namibia, that can be achieved through the vertical and horizontal integration of key actors from the national, regional, and local levels. The purpose of the inception meeting was to share the original objectives of the project with participants, share and refine a roadmap of the project, establish a foundation for a longer-term platform for vertical collaboration and gauge interest among the stakeholders in setting up a reference group, provide insight on how the project activities will be rolled out and share key feedback from the scoping and interview synthesis process.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, it was not possible to have a physical meeting with all participants, and as such a hybrid meeting was commissioned. This meant that out of the 37 participants that were in attendance, only 12 participants were onsite at the designated venue while the other 25 participants attended online via ZOOM. The participants of the inception meeting included high-level national government representatives, regional representatives, local representatives, project partners members of the clergy, International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) experts and the CLARE project management unit.
Reos Partners led the meeting design and facilitation making use of the session lab online application, with inputs from the CLARE project management team. ZOOM breakout rooms were used to address the language barriers and offer crossover translations to cater for the language gaps and discussions were captured using the Mural board, which allowed participants the opportunity to visualize the discussion points of the meeting.
The guiding principles of the inception meeting were the democracy of time, confidentiality, and presence. Numerous presentations aimed at raising awareness and understanding of Namibia’s specific climate change projections were done by a representative from various organizations such as UNAM, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (MEFT) as well as the IPCC experts. These presentations provided very relevant and pivotal information to the participants as an entry way to the 1.5 degrees work that the project aims to undertake. The CLARE project inception meeting not only acted as a basis to clarify and discuss the project road map, to facilitate clear communication across the consortium but it also provided high-level feedback necessary to constitute the project reference group and as such the CLARE project inception meeting was a success as it brought together diversity through the key stakeholders in attendance to outline the next steps and ensure the coordination of future activities which is vital to the success of the project.