Category Archives: Latest News

The dilemma of Poverty and Urban Development in Namibia

Namibia is an upper middle-income country, one of only eight in Africa. Despite relatively good economic and employment growth, the Namibian population continue to be susceptible to poverty. Namibia’s poverty and inequality levels remain among the highest. About 28.7% of the population is poor while 15% are extremely poor. Poverty is highest in rural (37%) than in urban areas (15%). It is also high among women (32%) than man (26%). The mostly rural regions of Kavango, Zambezi, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Ohangwena and Kunene have poverty levels that are high than the national average while poverty in Khomas and Erongo which are more urbanized regions is 10% or less.

Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhoek (DHPS), grade 10 classes, host an annual two- day education project with experts to strive to understand the issue of national concern and work toward  empowering the youth to take considerable action in addressing poverty and related issues and ensuring no one is left behind As one of the longstanding partners since the inception of this project, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) delivered a presentation on the topic,”Poverty and Urban Development” following the students’ field visit to the informal settlements in Katutura.

UNIC presented recent studies on the poverty rate in Namibia, in conjunction with causes of poverty and solutions on how we all can ‘take action’ in tackling the current water crisis and economic recession hindering the counties growth. An introduction to the United Nation’s programmes and mandates was given to the learners to allow them to have a better understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The presentation also elaborated on the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) 2019-2023 which contributes to four main result areas:

  1. Economic Progression
  2. Social Transformation
  3. Environmental Sustainability
  4. Good Governance

The learners described their visit to the township, as eye-opening and impactful. One learner recounted seeing many children of her age and younger who were unable to attend school as a result of circumstances and felt saddened by the sight. Statistics revealed that the rapid growth of informal houses in Namibia amounts to nearly 140 000.

The UNIC team also used the opportunity to introduce the ActNow  global campaign which aims to generate momentum towards the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019. The youth were encouraged to add their voice and to take action to reduce emissions and build climate resilience and adaptation.

 

Sowing the seeds of environmental harmony at Pandora Pre-Primary School for International Mother Earth Day

On 10 April 2019, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) teamed up to bring International Mother Earth Day to the youngsters of Pandora Pre-Primary School in Khomasdal, Windhoek.

In honour of Earth Day, a special visit was paid to Pandora Pre-Primary School to spark the children’s fascination about planet Earth, gardening, and appreciating our environment. The children shared their excitement with well-known songs and nursery rhymes. It was a great way to help the children to settle and feel comfortable to participate in the interactive presentation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13, 14 and 15.

It does not take much to turn children into natural environmentalists. With minimum efforts and conversations, we taught the youngsters to appreciate butterflies and flowers and why we can’t just leave our trash on the ground. The children enthusiastically considered the things the Earth gives us. They thought about different sources of water and their favourite plants and animals, and mentioned these to the team through the interactive engagement.

Along with their ideas and enthusiasm, the preschoolers were also confronted with the world’s environmental challenges. The presentation summarized the links between pollution, deforestation and breathing air as a natural health effect for all. Climate change is a global challenge that has no borders and all of us (including children) are mentioned in climate change discussions to combat it.

The outdoor activity was the best way for the children to learn by doing, understanding the relevancy of what they are doing in the garden, and how what they are learning in the classroom can be put to use in their real lives. Just knowing that they have planted something, tended to it and watched it grow and ripen innocently, allows them to form a relationship with nature and science.

The ideal introductory gardening experience also provided the children with hands-on learning, inquiry, observation, experimentation and when edible plants are used, children are more motivated to taste, eat, and enjoy fruits and vegetables. The small garden is a wonderful way for the school to grow their own veggies (as they provide meals to the youngsters), thus also contributing toward food security and self sufficiency.

Educational materials to enhance teacher-children learning about the SDGs and climate change were handed to the school.

Lights out at UN HOUSE Namibia for #EarthHour

On 30 March 2019, the UN System in Namibia joined the millions across the globe in observing #EarthHour by switching off the lights of the UN compound from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, local time.

A great opportunity for the UN to lead by example and connect with the Earth in such a unique way. It is imperative to voice the importance of and put the spotlight on renewable energy which is clean AND green. Citizens should be encouraged to build the habit of turning off their lights whenever they are not needed. It is also important to know savings in energy and money will make the habit worthwhile. Turning off lights will also keep a room cooler, an extra benefit in the summer.

With an assortment of visuals, the UN virtually brought our audience content aimed to inspire them to interact with nature and empower them to take the protection of the Earth into their own hands.

Earth Hour intends to amplify the all-important conversation about the fate of our planet and move people to go beyond the hour to instigate change for the environment. With this year’s digital #Connect2Earth initiative, the UN in Namibia aims to spark conversations about the inter connectivity that exists in nature and the ways in which people feel connected to the environment. The UN Namibia used the hashtag on its social media platforms and prompted individuals to reflect on the impact they have on biodiversity.

One of the objectives of Earth Hour 2018-2020 is to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity:

“By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.”

Educating people about the need to preserve biodiversity will more likely motivate them to make more sustainable decisions.

Given the alignment between climate change and sustainable development, the SDGs present an opportunity, as never before, to forward climate action and ensure tackling climate change is a priority for human development.

To ensure sustainability, we have to take action and make the right choices to steer the world away from a climate catastrophe.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL REMARKS AT UNITED NATIONS HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CEREMONY

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

REMARKS AT UNITED NATIONS HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CEREMONY

New York, 28 January 2019

[as delivered]

We are here together to remember the victims of the Holocaust – the six million Jews and many others murdered during a period of unprecedented, calculated cruelty, when human dignity was cast aside for a racial ideology.

I extend a special welcome to the Holocaust survivors with us today, especially Mr. Marian Turski and Ms. Inge Auerbacher, who will share their testimony.

This International Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp 74 years ago yesterday. I also pay tribute to the veterans here today for their role in bringing the war and Holocaust to an end.

Yesterday was, by the way, also the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad.  That prolonged the blockade — 872 days of siege, starvation and suffering – that was a horror within the horror. Continue reading

Good Practices, Success Stories and Lessons Learned in SDG Implementation – Call for Submissions

Submit your contribution!

Three years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals (SDGs), many Governments, UN entities, international and regional organizations, Major Groups and other Stakeholders, are planning or have initiated evidence-based stock-taking of progress.

Where do we stand? Are we on track? What are the inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that are showing results and impacts? What are the good practices that can be replicated and scaled up? What are the gaps and constraints and how should we address them? Looking ahead, what steps should we take to accelerate progress?

These are among the questions that are under consideration. To help answer these questions, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) is launching a call for submissions of good practices, success stories and lessons learned in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The submissions will be analyzed by a dedicated inter-agency team coordinated by UN DESA, and the results will be made available online for easy access and broad dissemination. Where applicable, the submissions can serve as inputs to thematic preparations for the 2019 sessions of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

An event will be organized in the lead-up to the 2019 HLPF convened under the auspices of the General Assembly to showcase a selection of the good practices and success stories and to present the main findings of the evidence-based stock-taking. It is hoped that the submission, collection, analysis and dissemination of good practices, success stories and lessons learned will help galvanize the momentum for implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

Submissions can be made between 1 November 2018 and 28 February 2019 by using a web-based portal. All are encouraged to follow the template to the extent possible. For queries, please email DSDG@un.org, at the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of UN DESA.

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Visit: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs/goodpractices

Photo exhibition encourages youth to stand up for human rights

20 November, Windhoek: The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek launched the #StandUp4HumanRights Photo Exhibition in collaboration with the Human Rights Documentation Centre of the University of Namibia (UNAM) on 20 November 2018.

The exhibition consists of images of the movers and shakers behind the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document for human rights which came to life in 1948. It sets the fundamental human rights to be universally protected for all people. The 70th Anniversary, being celebrated this year, is a chance for the world to celebrate this document and to reaffirm the enduring principles and standards it established.

Open to students and the public for a week at the UNAM Campus in Windhoek, the exhibition allowed visitors to reflect on the context of the Declaration and educate themselves on the extensive research done by the those who championed and formulated the document.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor John Baloro, officially opened the exhibition and delivered remarks on behalf of UNAM. He said, “The event exemplifies the University’s commitment to human rights. It also reminds us that the youth are the future and have the responsibility to uphold and ensure the promises as well as the fulfilment of this illustrious document.” Continue reading

Windhoek International School (WIS) SDG club visit the UN house

The WIS learners “Make the World a better place” through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), visited the UN house. The group buzzed with excitement as they toured the building, stopping by each agency and finding out which SDG relates to which UN agency in Namibia.

After the tour, the group made their last stop in the library where Anthea Basson from the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek tested their understanding about the tour and provided more information about the United Nations and the SDGs. She expressed her gratitude to the young SDG advocates and their teacher for reaching out to UNIC Windhoek for teaching support on specific projects.

She encouraged them to continue their excellent work and learning process and most importantly to take action. Reminding them of their integral parts in working towards the achievement of the SDGs

The visit ended with a group photograph in front of the UN House.  The Centre were impressed with the elevated level of awareness and understanding the group has shown throughout the sessions.

The UNIC staff have facilitated several learning sessions with the school which involved children of all ages in an enriching experience to take action and providing complimenting resources for our SDG educational outreach programmes in Namibia.

UN Day #UnitedwithUNNamibia

On the 24th October, the United Nations (UN) in Namibia celebrated 73 years of existence under the theme #UnitedwithUNNamibia. This entailed visiting different community centres: The Humble Care Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre, the Katutura Old Age Home, the Central Hospital Children’s Cancer Ward and the International University of Management (IUM).

Since its formation, the UN’ s goals have been to protect human rights and ensure peace for all. In Namibia, the UN has established itself as a trusted partner in its fight against poverty and in the path towards sustainable development. While challenges remain, Namibia has made great strides in line with national and international development agendas.

Reiterating the UN’s support in addressing these challenges, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Rachel Odede said, “Our partnership framework with the Government, the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) 2019-2023, outlines our plan of action to ensure that we eradicate poverty and inequality. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also clear, we must end poverty, protect the environment and ensure prosperity for all.”

Odede visited the ECD with colleagues from the UN and the Ministry of Education. Giving children a solid foundation in the early years is the best investment society can make in ensuring they succeed in life. The UN donated educational materials to help build that foundation, as well as healthy snacks, two trees and a pledge to donate a water tank. The children also learned about the importance of sanitation, how and when to wash their hands properly. Continue reading

WIS children think of ideas to #EndPoverty

The UNIC team visited Windhoek International School for a second time on 15 October 2018. This marked their continuing support toward the school’s activity ‘Make the world a better place’, teaching children aged 6-11 about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim of the visit was to specifically point out actions and discuss ways the children could take action and create impact on different SDGs.

UNIC started the session with a ‘recycling exercise’, whereby they placed glass, aluminium and plastic objects across the classroom. Three differently marked bins were placed in front and the children had to put the objects in the right bin. The discussion that followed was about recycling and how it helps the planet, but also reduces poverty by saving resources. From there, the discussion turned to other ways to help save the world, and affect poverty reduction. Ideas included: saving water by turning off the taps when not directly using them, taking shorter showers, using leftover water for plants etc. The students were particularly intrigued with interesting facts e.g. reducing your shower by two minutes could save 37 litres of water!

Another idea presented was to start a school garden, or plant something in their own yard. The idea was to get the children to raise some sort of crop, and then collectively take them to a soup kitchen or feeding scheme. They would directly help SDG #1 and #2, install a sense of responsibility by looking after the plant, and feel proud upon seeing the result.

Finally, the discussion turned to different actions the school could take to directly address poverty reduction. Fundraising events such as bake sales, themed parties and competitions were all mentioned, as well as monthly collections of clothes, toys, school materials, books etc., that they could donate to a centre of their choosing. Both the students and their teacher, Ms. Nambiar, seemed excited to present these ideas to their school, and start contributing to the Global Goals.

Ms. Nambiar thanked the team for all the ideas and proactive discussion, and agreed with the students that the time to act is now. The school will likely commence with fundraising activities, and with planting crops before the end of the year. UNIC is excited to be a part of this process, and see how they progress in the future.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Secretary-General’s Message for 2018

Twenty-five years ago, the world commemorated the first International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Since then, nearly 1 billion people have escaped poverty, thanks to political leadership, inclusive economic development and international cooperation.

However, many are still being left behind. Over 700 million people are unable to meet their basic daily needs. Many live in situations of conflict and crisis; others face barriers in accessing health care, education and job opportunities, preventing them from benefiting from broader economic development. And women are disproportionately affected.

Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, as embodied in Goal 1 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, remains one of the greatest global challenges and a major priority for the United Nations.

This year, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let us remember that ending poverty is not a matter of charity but a question of justice. There is a fundamental connection between eradicating extreme poverty and upholding the equal rights of all people.

We must listen to the millions of people experiencing poverty and destitution across the globe, tackle the power structures that prevent their inclusion in society and address the indignities they face. We must build a fair globalization that creates opportunities for all and ensure that rapid technological development boosts our poverty eradication efforts. On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty let us commit to uphold the core pledge of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.

António Guterres