Remarks By: Ms Kiki Gbeho UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative At the 71st Anniversary Celebrations of the UN

Oct 24, 2016

On behalf of the United Nations system in Namibia, allow me to thank you for joining us at the Windhoek International School to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the U.N.. Allow me to also thank the Windhoek International School for hosting us on this special occasion.


Distinguished Guests,


Every year, member states observe the 24th of October as United Nations Day. On this day in 1945, 51 countries ratified the United Nations Charter and committed to: maintain international peace and security, promote human rights and foster development cooperation among nations.


UN Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the goals of the organization, to celebrate the achievements of the U.N. and to recognize the work of thousands of men and women who have dedicated, and in some cases lost their lives in service of others.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


The UN has reasons to celebrate when it comes to saving lives. Every year the UN mobilizes about USD 7 billion to help people affected by emergencies.[1] Annually 90 million people are fed in 80 different countries; 30 million women’s lives are saved through the U.N.’s maternal and child health programs[2] and 3 million lives are saved because the U.N. vaccinates 58% of the world’s children.[3]


Another good reason to celebrate is U.N. Peacekeeping. Peacekeepers go to the most physically and politically challenging environments around the world. Since 1948 the UN has conducted successful operations in dozens of countries, including in Cambodia, Guatemala, Mozambique and East Timor. Currently the UN has over 100 000 peace keepers serving in 16 different operations, on four continents[4].


The UN has also supported the crafting of international agreements such as the CoP 21 agreement on climate, aimed at keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius; the Sendai framework for action to build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, and the CEDAW convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.


Here in Namibia the UN supported Namibia’s quest for independence through the landmark Security Council resolution 435, (1978) and the holding of free and fair elections.


UN support to Namibia has also assisted development efforts through:


  • The national School Feeding Programme which was initiated in 1991. And through support of the Zero Hunger Strategic Review to strengthen understanding of the drivers of food insecurity in Namibia and which agrees actions required for Namibia to achieve the vision of Zero Hunger by 2030 in line with SDG 2;
  •  The provision of the research which made the case for free Universal Primary Education.  The Government of Namibia has now gone further and introduced free and universal secondary education in 2016;
  • Demonstrating the potential of Health Extension Workers to bridge the gap between communities and health facilities.  The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has now rolled this program out in 11 out of 14 regions. 
  • Channelling over USD 70 million since the mid-90s to improve national capacity to protect and conserve natural resources, particularly ones that people depend on for daily survival. Including support to Angola, Namibia and South Africa to establish the world’s first large marine ecosystem commission.
  • Supporting Namibia in its quest to become the first country in Africa to eliminate HIV among babies by 2020. Namibia has recently adopted the 2016-2030 HIV/AIDS investment Framework for ending AIDS by 2030.


Therefore allow me to take a moment to thank all my colleagues who serve this noble institution around the world; especially those who serve here in Namibia. Without you, none of our successes would be possible.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year’s observance of United Nations Day is entitled ‘UN: 71 years for 17 Goals’; as it occurs as we transition to our new Sustainable Development Agenda.


This new agenda which has the 17 SDGs at its core, is designed to provide development focus over the next 15 years, and calls for global action to eradicate poverty and to save the planet.


The 2030 Agenda recognises that just as we can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty; we may be the last to have a chance of saving the planet.


In Namibia, H.E. the President, Dr Hage Geingob has launched a War on Poverty and elaborated the Harambee Prosperity plan to lift approximately 600,000 people out of poverty. And the National Development Plan five is under draft.


While Agenda 2030 recognizes that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development, it highlights the need for Global Partnerships if we are to achieve Sustainable Development.


As the UN system in Namibia we have therefore chosen to focus on Partnerships for development as part of our observance of UN day 2016. No actor can realize the SDGs alone.


Ladies and gentlemen,


The 2030 Agenda underscores that all countries and all stakeholders, acting in partnership, will implement the SDGs. This means we are all responsible: Government, the Diplomatic Core, Private Sector, Academia, research institutions, civil society organizations, philanthropic institutions, students/youth, women, and men. We are all required to find solutions to our sustainable development challenges and most important we are all required to address the needs of the poorest.


Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,


In his message for this day, the UN Secretary General reminds us that:


“Together, we have put in place solid foundations for shared progress - which we must build and work even harder to empower women, engage youth and uphold human rights for all.


But we have also suffered enormous heartbreak -- including unresolved conflicts around the world. On these and other frontlines of violence and disaster, courageous UN staff continue to rise to the occasion and respond to the plight of the vulnerable.

So in conclusion and on this special day, We the UN in Namibia reiterate a commitment we have made before. A commitment to remain your partner of choice.


-A partner that believes in Vision 2030: a peaceful and industrialized nation, driven by Namibian women, men, girls and boys who are skilled, and healthy;


-A partner that believes that Poverty, especially in Namibia can be eradicated and 


-A partner that believes that together we can ensure that no one is to be left behind. 


Thank you!




[2] Progress Report on the Global Strategy for women and child’s health 2015

[3] ‘Children Reducing Mortality’ fact sheet, WHO 2016

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