Remarks by the United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. Musinga T. Bandora during the signing ceremony of the UNPAF 2014 - 2018

22 Aug 2013

The Director General of the National Planning Commission, Mr. Tom Alweendo and officials from the Commission

Colleagues Heads of Agencies and officers from the UN family

Representatives of civil society, partners, invited guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen

The signing this morning of the Namibia-UN Partnership Framework Document- (UNPAF) 2014-2018 is a watershed event in our development cooperation. It is a culmination of more than a year of studies, consultations, meetings and drafting. This UNPAF analyses the development challenges that Namibia faces, past efforts and development frameworks put in place by both the government and the UN to respond to the challenges. It critically analyses the lessons learnt and proposes responses in terms what needs to be done, how to do it and with what means and what kind of partnerships. It also spells out how implementation is going to be coordinated, how we are going to monitor progress and report on results.

This UNPAF breaks new ground in terms of its guiding philosophy, strategic focus and relationship to the current and future National Development Plans.  Before we embarked on the elaboration of this framework, we engaged in an extensive and frank reflection on the role of the UN in the country-taking into account the changed national and global development contexts-  The global context in the sense of  the economic crisis that has led to diminishing development resource flows  including to the United Nations and  the national context  in terms of Namibia being classified as an upper middle income country and therefore not eligible for direct development funding.

In the reflection we recognized that working in an upper middle income country environment presents unique challenges and opportunities that require a different approach and modalities of partnership. On the one hand as an MIC, Namibia disposes considerable resources. Yet, it still has serious development  challenges which require  interventions that focus less on funding and more on developing the necessary national capacities, skills and institutions so that  the country can realize better returns  on the massive financial investments it is making in critical social sectors such as health and education.  On the other, the UN-not being a donor, its relevance must not be seen in terms of money but its proven technical strengths.

This new approach is encapsulated in this UNPAF and steers our partnership with Namibia into a new direction-moving from development funding to development partnership. It seeks  to leverage the core strengths of the UN system in Namibia, of building capacities of national institutions; strengthening knowledge generation and skills, promoting standards, norms and accountability mechanisms; and providing quality technical expertise and policy advice within the framework of a reinvigorated partnership which is driven by the principles of national ownership and government leadership; alignment  with national priorities, and rationalization of coordination, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

As indicated, under this UNPAF the UN will work in four areas-namely 1. Education and skills development, 2: Health, including health systems strengthening and promotion of multi-sectoral mechanisms for reducing the burden of priority diseases: 3. Poverty Reduction, including examination of the root causes of poverty, promotion of food security and income generation and strengthening of national capacities for environmental management as well as 4: Institutional environment, including improving governance and monitoring and evaluation systems.

These areas were identified through a consultative process with all stakeholders on the basis of their appreciation and judgment on the mandates, capacities, competences and country presence of the various UN agencies. These four pillars mirror those of NDP4 and are calibrated to support the achievement of its inter-related goals of growth, jobs and greater income equality.

We shall focus on upstream work-providing technical support for policy formulation, strengthening capacities and skills of personnel, strengthening institutions and systems for more effective public service delivery, for better governance, environmental sustainability, gender equality and human rights promotion, fighting poverty and building foundations for long term development. The underlying objective is make UNPAF a vehicle for supporting the delivery of NDP 4 and ultimately of Vision 2013.

In this, the United Nations will avail some resources now estimated at US $80 million to implement the targeted programmes over the five year period.  This figure is indicative and we hope to mobilize more-including through possible government cost sharing. What is central here though is not money.  Rather, it is the collective technical assets –of technical skills and systems that the UN –working across mandates-brings to the table of partnership with Namibia. What I want to underline is that these resources are insignificant when looked at against the development needs of the country-or indeed against the amount of resources that the government of Namibia can muster. This money is meant to be catalytic-both in terms of supporting those upstream interventions that catalyze development and also in terms of seed funding limited innovative downstream development approaches that render themselves for replication and up-scaling.

Ladies and gentlemen

With this UNPAF we are opening a new chapter in our cooperation. It is a chapter of more systematic partnership and firmly integrating what the UN does in the national development priorities. From here we will be developing an Implementation Plan for this UNPAF. As we begin this new journey, I wish to sincerely thank the government of Namibia and especially the National Planning Commission under Mr. Tom Alweendo for the leadership it has provided in the entire process of preparing this framework as well as for coordinating the work of our Joint Technical Committee that has and continues to provide technical support to our partnership. I wish also to sincerely thank all colleagues in the UN Country Team and members of the UN Programme Development Team and staff of the Office of the Resident Coordinator for their steadfastness and hard work in making this a reality.

I thank you