--- GRN-UNDP SEMER Portfolio 2021 Participants ---

I would like to extend a warm welcome to
The Environmental Commissioner, Mr. Timoteus Mufeti;
Our valued partners from;
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism,
The Ministry of Mines and Energy,
The National Planning Commission,
The Benguela Current Convention,
As well as to my fellow UNDP colleagues.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to attend this important planning meeting, especially on short notice after the initial postponement.
As is evidenced by the unfortunate postponement of this meeting, Covid-19 has emerged, and remains, a major and unpredictable risk.

Therefore, it is very important that we “plan well” and “plan early”. A wise old woman once said “failing to plan is planning to fail”; thus, to ensure successful attainment of development impacts and project results for the ultimate beneficiaries in 2021, we must embrace the planning process in all our endeavours.

I am hoping that by the end of June, all projects under this portfolio would have achieved 70% of their planned development results and impacting livelihoods and improved living standards of the Namibian people. To be measured (as proxy indicator) and evidenced by 70% financial delivery by end of June 2021. At the onset, I underscore that if there is no financial movements (i.e. financial delivery) then it practically means that there is no implementation of project interventions (measured in project annual outputs), which further means that there are no results being achieved. Moreover, this would mean that no desired impacts are being made on the livelihoods and lives of the people. This IS NOT a good trend, status nor achievement that UNDP (and I am sure the Ministry, i.e. MEFT) would be happy with.

We are hoping that this SEMER portfolio planning meeting will pioneer a new approach to planning which will help us “plan together and break down silos”. Horizontally and vertically. To solve the development challenges and twin problems (poverty and environmental degradation) that Namibia is facing; we must pool our collective intelligence, experience, knowledge, and learn from each other. The projects that are structured under the SEMER portfolio serve as entry points to solve some of the Namibia's environmental challenges, with the end goal of reducing poverty, addressing inequality, and building resilience.

As we move forward with our planning and monitoring for the year 2021, it is very important that we focus on the impacts and results for our beneficiaries on the ground, and not simply focus on activities and financial delivery. We must keep Meme Frieda in mind.

Meme Frieda lives in an informal settlement in Katutura with her five children. One of her children is a person with a disability. What matters to Meme Frieda is that she can put food on the table, send her children to school, access, afford safe clean water, has power/energy to light, heat, and cook food, and that her home is safe from flooding, and that her children are protected from gender-based violence and safe to live a freely Namibian dream like any other “born-frees” as we call them.

It is very important that we keep our eyes on the ball (i.e. end result) and do not forget that the aim of all our projects is to build resilience and eradicate poverty. The SEMER portfolio is the largest portfolio in the UNDP CO, and it is central that we implement it well. We are hoping to be able to adopt this approach to planning with our other 2 portfolios as well. And we hope that through these portfolios, as we adjust and adapt, we can integrate all our efforts so that SEMER contributes to Governance, Responsive Institutions and Civic Engagement (GRICE) and similarly to Sustainable Inclusive Green Growth (SIGG), and vice-versa.

Lastly, at the portfolio-level, there should be clear arrangements of risk management strategies which will enable us to come up with mitigating measures and actions to address the collective challenges we are facing, including risks posed by the coronavirus.

Therefore, we are all gathered here this week, to make sure that we plan early, we plan well, and we remind ourselves of the bigger picture. And finally, that we learn and lean on each other’s as we navigate these challenges. UNDP is with you and will be with you as a partner of choice. A good plan is an entry point for any successful project. However, individual, and institutional commitments and personal desires to make a difference in the lives of those whom we serve are main ingredients of success.

On behalf of our Resident Representative Ms. Alka Bhatia, I would like to thank GEF as our co-financed partner of the majority of the interventions under this portfolio and thank the government of Namibia for entrusting UNDP to serve as the implementing agency of the GEF.

With this, I would like to warmly welcome you all and wish all of us good deliberations and a very fruitful planning week.

I Thank you.

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