The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Honourable Christine //Hoebes received the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative to Namibia, Mrs. Alka Bhatia on 06 May 2019.
Welcoming the Diplomat to Namibia, the Deputy Minister noted that it is important for UNDP to continue working with Government to streamline programmes and operations in order to achieve the goals set in the National Plans. “UNDP needs to expand its role for other agencies to push their programmes.” She stated.
Mrs. Alka Bhatia is an International Development Professional with 30 years’ experience in poverty alleviation, trade and sustainable development. She has vast experience in providing strategic policy advise on sustainable development to Governments and UN Country Teams.
Her career spans development cooperation, financing for development, economic and trade reform, with special expertise in inclusive growth, particularly youth and women employment and private sector development, which is relevant in the Namibian context. She has a proven track record of leading multidisciplinary and multicultural teams. She joined the Indian Civil Service in 1986 and after serving in various leadership capacities in the Government of India she was chosen to represent India in Doha Development Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva.
She then also worked as an Economic Affairs Officer at the WTO. Thereafter, she joined UNDP and worked for six years as the Economic Advisor and Head of the Strategy Policy Unit at UNDP Lesotho. She is no stranger to Namibia, as after Lesotho, she served as the Economic Advisor for both the Malawian and Namibian UNDP Country Offices simultaneously for four years, while based in Malawi.
As the UNDP Resident Representative (RR), Mrs. Bhatia is the accredited senior UNDP official in the country who represents, leads, and is accountable for, harnessing and directing the full potential of UNDP’s global capabilities, and those of its associated funds and programmes, in support of national development strategies and collaborative partnerships. As RR, she positions UNDP as the integrator of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and as a strategic partner for sustainable development, with the capabilities to partner at scale and deliver world-class knowledge and technical expertise.
In Namibia, UNDP works on two key programme priorities namely; a) Sustainable, inclusive and green growth: to promote diversified employment, pro-poor income and sustainable livelihoods for women, youth, and persons with disabilities and marginalized populations; and sustainable environmental management and increased resilience to shocks and crises.
UNDP will strengthen the institutional frameworks for inclusive growth strategies and introduce entrepreneurial and sustainable business models consisting of a comprehensive package of services and interventions to improve efficiency and enhance the competitiveness and profitability of micro, small and medium enterprises. It will also focus on building resilience through adaptation, and reducing disaster risk by strengthening the technical and functional capacities of inter-sectoral environmental coordination bodies. b) Improved governance for accountable, responsive institutions and civic engagement: UNDP will prioritize the enhancement of capacity and support better coordination of the national statistical system for a well-managed and robust data ecosystem. UNDP will support the oversight institutions in re-engineering data systems to harvest essential information from national and synchronized data platforms.