United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Namibia

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STATEMENT
BY
MINISTERH OONFO RUERGAIBOLNEA ML RA.N JDO HLONC PAALN GDOEVNEIRNMENT,
OHFO UTSHINEG R AENPDU RBULRIACL ODEFV ENLAOMPMIEBNITA
AT
THEO 1N3 TSHUSSETSASIINOANB OLEF DTHEVEE CLOOMPMMEISNSTION
NEW YORK, 20 APRIL 2005
Mr. Chairman,
Your Excellencies
Distinguished delegates.
On behalf of the delegation of the Republic of Namibia, I would like to thank you for giving me
the floor and since I am taking the floor for the first time, allow me to join those who spoke
before me in congratulating you on your election to chair this Session and also on the excellent
manner in which you are conducting the affairs of the meeting. With your vast experience and
able leadership, we are confident of a positive outcome at the end of this exercise. I would also
like to thank the Secretary-General for his informative reports on the issues we are considering at
this Session of CSD.
Namibia aligns itself with the comments by the Honourable, Minister, Donald Buchanan, of
Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. As this is the first policy making Session of
CSD and since the issues we are addressing here are of paramount importance to Namibia, allow
me, to make a few additional comments on behalf on my country.
Mr. Chairman,
Choosing topic of this high-level segment, Turning Political Commitments into Actions, is not
only appropriate but also timely. Being the driest country, in Sub-Saharan Africa, the importance
of water and sanitation to Namibia could not be over-emphasized. Our national development
strategies and initiatives such as the Second National Development Plan (NDP2) 2003-2008,
Vision 2030, the Green Scheme, are all aimed at enhancing the socio-economic development and
up-liftment of all Namibians, tailored to meet the MDGs. The Millennium Development Goals
targets, to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and to
halve the proportion of those without access to basic sanitation by 2015 are noble but demanding
to Namibia. The Vision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, is to ensure that 80%
of the rural population of Namibia receives water from improved systems by the year 2007.
Currently, our rural water coverage has reached 75%.
The mandate of the Natural Resources and Rural Development sector in our Ministry of
Agriculture, Water and Forestry, is to provide safe water to the whole population. to manage the
resources according to the principles of equity and sustainability and to ensure that water
provision contributes effectively to the development of Namibia's economy. We consider water
management, water conservation, cost recovery and the sustainable utilization of water resources
as of the utmost importance.
However, in view of the fact that, the government has limited capacity and also that many donors
and private sector investors are not keen to invest in this area of water, the Government was left
with no other option but to provide water on the basis of charging those who are able to pay and
subsidizing those who are unable to do so.
Therefore, the Session should underscore the need for long term investment, by both donors and
the private sector, in water related infrastructures. The idea of charging those who can afford to
pay, while subsidizing those who cannot afford to, is a social responsibility to all of us. Namibia
I
recommends therefore that this should be one of the policies to be adopted by the 13th Session of
the CSD.
Mr. Chairman
The Millennium Development Goals target on sanitation is particularly more difficult target to
meet. Rural sanitation, coupled with sound hygienic practices, remains a global challenge and
Namibia as a developing country, is no exception. Currently, 41% of the population has access
to sanitary means of excreta disposal.
It is estimated that 61% of the Namibians live in rural areas but only 20% of them have access to
acceptable means of sanitation, including good hygiene practices.
In this regard, we agree with the view that, without prejudice to the importance of addressing the
three issues in an integrated manner, sanitation should be accorded a high platform and that
institutional focal points at both national and international levels should either be established or
strengthened.
Mr. Chairman
The Government of the Republic of Namibia has placed housing provision, especially for lowincome
groups, as one of its priorities areas. Our constitution provides for the promotion of equal
access to adequate shelter, water, safe environment and other basic services, as integral parts of
human rights. As part of this commitment, the government formulated, among others, a National
Housing Policy. The Policy, which stipulates different roles to be played by various stakeholders,
is currently under review to enhance greater participation, and contribution by all stakeholders.
The national housing programme, "the Build Together" which has won a UNHABITAT award,
has and continues to play a significant role in addressing the housing needs, especially targeting
the low- income groups. I must register our appreciation to UN-HABITAT for their support and
cooperation in this regard. Through this Programme, low-income groups were enabled to gain
access to land, security of tenure and credit facilities. Emphasis for this programme is put on
community participation in the construction of houses and sanitary facilities, which in turn,
contributes to employment and the alleviation of poverty. In this regard, we fully support that
policy options should stress the need for sharing of best practices among countries.
Despite these efforts, however, the rural-urban migration is on the increase, leading to population
growth in the cities, a trend that is posing a tremendous demand on housing and other basic
services in our cities and urban areas. For instance, it is estimated that there is an influx of about
600-1000 people into our capital city per month. To address this trend of rural-urban migration,
the Government has identified new growth points, settlements and proclaimed them as villages
or towns. We are therefore, of the view that our policy options should include proper measures
to develop rural infrastructures, in order to reverse these and similar trends.
Mr. Chairman
The decentralization of decision-making power and service provision to the regional and local
authorities is also enshrined in the Namibian Constitution. Through the decentralization process
the people at the grass roots level are able to partake in the services and decision-making
2
processes affecting their lives. To ensure effective planning and implementation of the
decentralization process, development committees have been established at local, constituency
and regional levels. Among others, the Government provides incentives for the informal business
sector in the form of credit guaranteed scheme. The small business entrepreneurs have access to
financial institutions, where they can obtain loans to start their own businesses. Currently, the
Government guarantees 80% of these loans. These incentives are in line with the principles of
the Habitat II Agenda, the Global Plan of Action, as well as the aims and objectives of Agenda
21 to ensure sustainable development.
Despite all the government efforts, in providing the three services we are discussing here today,
these efforts are being derailed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the impact of which has potential to
devastate our social and economic sectors.
Mr. Chairman,
Let me at this juncture reaffirm Namibia's commitment to the objectives contained in the Habitat
Agenda, Agenda 21, JPOI, and all other goals, including the MDGs. We believe that our success,
and that of the international community, will be determined by our actions towards achieving
them.
Recent studies and reports indicate that these goals are achievable and that the world has enough
time and resources to do, if only we change the way we do business. As we are preparing for the
five-year review of the MDGs this year, Namibia would like to underscore the need to provide
developing countries with financial assistance, capacity building both human and institutional, as
well as appropriate technologies transfer to supplement their efforts in this regard.
I would like to conclude by reiterating the need for this session to adopt practical, actionoriented,
and time-bound measures aiming at achieving the MDGs. Anything less will not turn
political commitments into action but will instead lender this Session of CSD yet another talkshop,
and I am sure as elected leaders, we cannot afford to fail in this regard.
I thank you.
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