Remarks by Musinga T. Bandora-UN Resident Coordinator at the UN Day 68th celebration and the launch of the United Nations Namibia Partnership Framework (UNPAF)

24 Oct 2013

Master of Ceremonies

Honourable Dr. Hage Geingob, Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia

Honourable Tom Alweendo, Director General of the National Planning Commission

Dr. Magda Robalo, Chair of the United Nations Programme Development Team and WHO Representative

Honourable Ministers and members of Parliament present

Excellencies Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other members of the diplomatic corps and spouses

Senior Government officials

Colleagues -members of the UN Country Team and of the UN family in Namibia

Representatives of civil society

Invited partners, media, guests, ladies and gentlemen

A warm welcome to you all to the commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and to the launch of the United Nations -Namibia Partnership Framework-UNPAF. The Partnership Framework will give content and context of UN work in Namibia for the period 2014-2018-building on the long partnership that Namibia and the UN have had over the years.

We are particularly delighted that the Honourable Prime Minister has agreed to lead us in the commemoration of this day and to launch the UNPAF. Sir, we hope this is the beginning of renewing your close ties and long standing association with the United Nations.

I am also grateful to Honourable Tom Alweendo. He has provided critical leadership in the development of the UNPAF that we will be launching today. His colleagues and staff of the National Planning Commission have been exemplary in their collaboration and support throughout the process of elaborating the framework.  We thank them most sincerely. I also want to thank the various government ministries and officers who were instrumental in providing the technical inputs into the UNPAF.

Honourable Prime Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

The world has undergone fundamental changes since the United Nations was founded. Every year we commemorate the occasion with a recommitment to the principles and ideals of our organization-those of development, peace, and justice, freedom and human rights. Today we meet to do just that- as one global family- of the United Nations. This year’s UN Day theme of “Partnerships for Global Progress” honours and recognizes the invaluable partnerships that further the mission of the UN around the world. We all here are partners.  We support and facilitate the work of the organization globally-and thanks to that partnership- the United Nations remains the axis around which global partnership and collaboration revolves. Yes, there are difficulties and challenges in the world-But that is pricelessly why the organization was created. But notwithstanding those difficulties and challenges, the centrality and role of the United Nations as an instrument of peace, security, human rights and development endures. These are the objectives and values that define and drive the organization-and it is those values that we celebrate today.

 Yet as we celebrate, we are mindful of the deepening challenges to peace and security in the world. From the Middle East to Africa-especially in DRC, Mali, Central African Republic, to the Horn of Africa-conflict and war persist with serious consequences to life and lost opportunities for development.  The United Nations is working to promote and keep peace in conflict situations-at great cost and sometimes of human lives. We honour the memory of the innocent victims of conflict. We also honour the memory of our colleagues in peacekeeping operations who have died in line of duty in the name of peace.

International terrorism as recently witnessed at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi-Kenya perpetrated by Al Shabab as well as the continued mayhem and wanton killings by Boko Haram in Nigeria call us to greater collaborative international action. Politics of exclusion and religious extremism continue to destabilize many parts of the Arab world-from Tunisia, to Libya, Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere. All these- call for renewed action through the United Nations- working with regional organizations, to seek peaceful and enduring solutions.

Notwithstanding tremendous progress made, the challenge to democracy and human rights endure- including in Africa. I wish to commend the efforts of SADC and of Namibia and  particularly of President Pohamba as Chair of the SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security,  for promoting peace and democracy in the region including for the brokering a plan that  has paved way to democratic elections in Madagascar tomorrow.

The imperative of preserving the environment and dealing with effects of climate change also call for innovative strategies of international cooperation.  I join in congratulating Namibia for hosting a very successful 11th Session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention against Desertification.  I am happy that UN colleagues of the UNCCD secretariat and of UNDP Namibia office worked with government to ensure a successful holding of the conference.

Honourable Prime Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

Development remains at the core of United Nations work and over the last many years the Millennium Development Goals have provided a guide for addressing development interventions in a multi-facetted way. MDGs have been described as the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. On 25 September, President Pohamba was among the world leaders who met in New York, to review the progress that countries have made in the implementation of the goals; to identify existing gaps to be addressed between now and the 2015 deadline; and importantly, to chart the path for a transition from MDGs to Sustainable Development Goals within the framework of the post-2015 development agenda. 

The message from the leaders at the New York meeting is that- it is indeed possible to end poverty and change the conditions of the poor, within our generation-provided there is determined national leadership and commitment, the right policy choices and investments are made -especially in women and youth. 

This is why in April this year the UN launched a-1000 days MDG acceleration campaign to re-invigorate the momentum for the attainment of the goals by end 2015. The campaign aims at political recommitment, at identifying the implementation bottlenecks and targeting those MDGs where-with significant push and investment- achievement is possible by the deadline.

The last national MDG progress report indicates that Namibia has achieved or is on course to achieving many of the goals. We have seen commendable progress in achieving the poverty, education, HIV and AIDS, gender equality and the empowerment of women as well as the environmental sustainability, energy, and water goals. The goal relating to child and maternal health, however, remains off track-notwithstanding the heavy financial investment being made by government in the health sector. Maternal and child mortality, malnutrition and stunting, inadequate immunization coverage, repeated outbreak of vaccine preventable diseases mainly measles; remain a challenge.

In this respect, our colleagues of the World Health Organization are partnering with the European Union in supporting the government in accelerating progress towards achieving the child and maternal health goal. UNICEF continues to support national response to improve sanitation and reduce malnutrition through the -Scaling Up Nutrition- movement, where Namibia has taken a global leadership role.  UNAIDS continues to support  resources mobilisation with the successful renewal of the Global Fund Phase II grants for HIV, TB and Malaria and is working to strengthen the capacity of the national HIV and AIDS Coordinating Mechanism and for implementing the signed grants.

Honourable Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

As the 2015 deadline to the MDGs draws closer, global consultations are already underway on where we go from there.  These consultations seek to integrate the lessons learnt into the next generation of development goals. Needless to say, in the implementation of the MDGs, we have learnt useful lessons. We have learnt, for instance, that it is NOT possible to make progress on MDGs, without fundamentally transforming the lives of the poorest.  We have also learnt that sustainable change requires functioning institutions and ought to be underpinned by good governance, the rule of law, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and greater accountability.

The voices from these consultations are saying that the post 2015 agenda should build on and expand the existing commitments reflected in the MDGs. As the UN Secretary General Bank Moon reported to the General Assembly on 25 September, there is emerging consensus that the new post 2015 development agenda should be ambitious and supported by a new partnership framework for development.

In specific terms the emerging view is that in the new post 2015 agenda, the world must aim do the following:- to eradicate poverty, tackle exclusion and inequality,  promote inclusive growth and decent employment, eradicate hunger and malnutrition, empower women and girls, provide quality education, improve health, address climate change and the environment. It must build peace and effective governance based on the rule of law and sound institutions. Nations should address the emerging challenges of demography, urbanization and migration.

We hope to undertake a reflection with the government, based on clear national priorities on how we can build on the tremendous progress already made in implementing the MDGs in evolving a new post 2015 development agenda for Namibia.

Honourable Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

Unfortunately, in the course of this year Namibia experienced one of the most devastating droughts in recent history which led to total crop failure- with severe consequences to food security, health and availability of water to people and livestock alike. While the effects of the drought continue to afflict the country, I wish to commend government for the sterling efforts it has expended and the resources deployed since the declaration of the drought emergency in May. The timely intervention by government has saved lives and underscored government commitment to the welfare of the Namibian people. I would also wish to thank all the countries and local corporations and individuals that have responded with food and cash contributions to the drought relief efforts.

We in the United Nations will continue to support the efforts of government-bringing technical support and strengthening national disaster relief and management capacities-targeting critical institutions and systems. We will work to reinforce national capacities for food security assessments and analysis, for emergency response coordination, monitoring and evaluation and information management. We will also be looking at supporting the creation of an early warning system and to build greater resilience so that the country is better able to withstand the shocks of weather and the cyclical disasters of drought and floods. 

Honourable Minister, Excellencies Ladies and gentlemen

Once more and on behalf of the UN family in Namibia, welcome to this commemoration. I wish you a pleasant morning.