Remarks By Ms. Kiki Gbeho UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative at International Day Activities 12 -16 September 2016

Sep 14, 2016

It is with pleasure that I participate in this year’s International Education Day activities to discuss the 2030 Development Agenda and partnership towards clean energy, research and technology.


Allow me to first express my gratitude to the Rector of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Professor Tjivikua, for the opportunity, to interact with you today.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


At the turn of the century, world leaders, came together and launched the Millennium Development Goals; to be achieved over 15 years. These goals were focused on halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, and led to tremendous development progress around the world.

  • The proportion of people living in extreme poverty was halved between 2002 and 2012, from 26 to 13 per cent.
  • The number of hungry people declined from 15 to 11 per cent.
  • The number of the world’s workers, living on less than USD1.90 per day declined from 28 to 10 percent.


Despite this progress, 800 million people still go to bed hungry every day;[1] One in eight people continue to live in extreme poverty (2012)[2] and 16 percent of all young people are living below the poverty line in 2015.[3]


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Therefore, in 2015, the world met again and agreed a new set of goals, more ambitious in their scope, set to be achieved by 2030, and designed to change the world for the better.


This ambitious development agenda is set to tackle the unfinished business of the MDGs and designed to place us on a path towards ending poverty, saving our planet, ensuring prosperity and peace, building strong partnerships; and in essence setting a development agenda for a much better world.  


Arriving at these 17 goals was a bottom up and consultative process. The SDGs therefore represent the aspirations of the world. The goals are people’s voices, and they symbolize what people view as critical to ensuring sustainable and inclusive development.


Goal 7, of the SDGs, aimed at ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, along with Goal 17 on partnership, are perhaps most relevant to our discussion today.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Here in Namibia, His Excellency the President, launched a War against Poverty, elaborated the Harambee Prosperity Plan and declared 2016 as the year of action to lift 27% of the population out of poverty. Namibia has prioritized accelerated development and reducing inequality. This calls for greater economic growth, increased investments in infrastructure, especially to ensure access to sustainable and modern energy.


If this comprehensive development agenda is to be implemented, demands for affordable energy will continue. The challenges therefore lies in ensuring universal access to reliable and clean energy sources. This is critical to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which have negative consequences for climate and the environment.


Creative approaches to addressing energy shortfalls therefore need to be found:


  • Solutions to risks such as insufficient and unsustainable energy supply need to be found
  • Solutions that include a multi-sectoral approach where all goals are addressed simultaneously is required
  • Solutions that utilize the research and thought capability of academia in partnership with others stakeholders  such as the private sector, civil society, governments, and the international community need to be found.


Ladies and gentlemen,


Namibia has already taken positive steps. For example, the 2007 Cabinet Directive called for the replacement of electricity geysers by solar water heaters in all Government buildings. Namibia also developed it’s off grid energy master plan meant to provide electricity to rural areas (2007). In addition, through it’s the Energy White Policy Paper (1998), the government is pursuing a broader energy mix to include renewable energy sources.


Government’s effort to increase the uptake of alternative sources of energy must be commended.



However, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Here in Namibia only 47%[4] of the population have access to electricity. Namibia still faces challenges when it comes to ensuring sustainable and predictable energy to meet current and future consumption needs as the country develops.


If this challenge remains unaddressed, growing demand will increase electricity imports and likely increase pressure on the countrys energy security IMPACTING NEGATIVELY ON DEVELOPMENT.



Other examples of ‘access to energy’ challenges are the sharp disparities in urban and rural supply.


The electrification rate for urban households was estimated at around 70%[5] in 2011, whereas for rural household, coverage rates stood at 25 % in 2011. (The other 5% goes institutions).


  • Rural areas still rely, to a great extent, on traditional biomass and inefficient cooking stoves. This negatively impacts on biomass resources and the health of household members (primarily women mainly responsible for cooking and thus exposed to smoke).


If universal access to affordable electricity is to be reached by 2030, increased investment in clean energy will be required.


Strong relationships between the public and private sector and other stakeholders are critical to enhancing energy production and distribution. It is important to choose electricity-generating technology that fits local conditions and promotes national energy-development goals and plans.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

NUST, is making progress through the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI)  (formerly known as the Renewable Energy Institute) and is well placed to lead research in the area of clean energy in partnership with regional, continental and international partners, and financial institutions.


Frameworks such as the various National Development Plans, the Harambee Prosperity Plan and the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s 5 year Strategic Plan 2012/13 to 2016/17, provide a base for such partnership. 


Ladies and Gentlemen,


The UN System in particular UNDP has a history of partnership with Namibia when it comes to energy. Several projects have been undertaken using the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for example:


  • The Namibian Renewable Energy Programme (NAMREP)[6] --implemented through the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
  • The Namibia Energy Efficiency Programme (NEEP)[7] -- implemented through the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
  • The Concentrated Solar Power Technology Transfer Project hosted by the Namibia Energy Institute.


These programs are examples of successful partnerships that could be built upon to attain SDG7.


Therefore, and given the challenge that access to clean energy poses to development, partnerships for delivering concrete solutions is important.


Further, international partnerships through south-south and triangular cooperation could increase utilization of renewable sources of energy by expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy.


This is why the UN family welcomes this dialogue as a process of thinking through how best to create coalitions from all parts of society, especially in the context of the SDGs.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Therefore and in conclusion, allow me to state that partnerships are important vehicles for leveraging new resources, new types of co-operation, and new solutions. And partnerships allow for an engagement with a much wider array of actors whose skills and knowledge could assist us to deliver on our development objectives, especially in the area of clean energy research and technology.


The UN, as your partner of choice, is well placed to share knowledge, disseminate global best practice and support the process of strengthening partnerships and developing catalytic solutions to national energy challenges.


The UN System in Namibia stands ready to partner with NUST to advance this dialogue on partnership to ensure: research on clean and sustainable energy; to fuel economic growth which in turn will spur development, and the attainment of Namibias Vision 2030: A peaceful and industrialized nation, driven by Namibians who are skilled, and healthy.


I thank you!


[1] ibid

[2] The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016

[3] The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016

[4] (Namibia Demographic Health survey estimate – 2013)

[5] Rapid Assessment for Namibia in preparation for energy for Sustainable Energy For ALL (SE4A)


[6] A project that focused on removing barriers to financial access, and created the solar revolving fund and supported the creation of the renewable energy institute etc.


[7] A Project that focused on improving the adoption of energy efficiency in building. For example promoted public and private building to adopt energy audits.

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