The Sustainable Development Goals in Namibia
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth's environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Namibia.
16 November 2022
African Perspectives on the Fossil Fuel vs Clean Energy Debate
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) calls for ‘affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ by 2030. It recognizes energy usage as the dominant contributor to the generation of Green House Gases (GHG), accounting for about 60 per cent of total emissions. It observes with alarm that global emissions have accelerated, resulting in more than 46 per cent increase in the very short span of the last 30 years 1990 to date. The need to transition to clean energy is urgent. Writing about energy for children has been my most challenging experience mainly because the subject is technical and not too easy to express in simple language. In the Episode 3 of my children’s adventure book series, Adventures of Hurricane & Tornado, subtitled The Sea is Powerful, I sought to break down the issues of SDG7, and to reduce into story form the technical expressions often encountered. My objective was for the reader to have a clearer understanding of the issues, a sense of the urgency associated with the need to transition, and to be convinced that everyone can and should contribute to the solution, however small their contributions may be. Africa’s Advantage Africa has three advantages in its clean energy transition. It has the advantage of being endowed with a vast amount of energy: solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, wave and tidal as well as biomass resources. Africa also has the advantage of being a source of needed raw materials for the manufacturing of batteries for the storage of clean energy and for driving the new generation of electric vehicles that are to replace high polluting diesel and gasoline engines. The third advantage Africa has, is that of having to discard a smaller load of dirty energy infrastructure. The Challenge Access to energy determines industrial output and quality of life. With – currently - about 17% of the World’s population, Africa’s share of global energy consumption is less than 5%. Consequently, for Africa, SDG 7 should be about more than a transition to clean energy: SDG 7 presents the challenge of moving away from dependency to utilizing Africa’s vast resources to aggressively industrialize and possibly become a net exporter of clean energy. A key factor for Africa in the debate is whether clean energy technology can sufficiently advance to provide the needed push for Africa’s aspirations to industrialize within the set time frames for net zero emissions. The Risk of Business as Usual SDG Target 7.b addresses the challenges of lesser developed economies. It expects by 2030 to “expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programs of support”. Africa should stand on this provision to draw up assistance programs aimed at obtaining sustainable energy services to build and own clean energy infrastructure that relies largely on locally available resources. This will be in line with SDG 1, especially 1.4 which speaks of equal rights to ownership, basic services, technology and economic resources, as one of the targets for the No Poverty goal. Africa cannot afford not to be a participant in the on-going race towards developing and perfecting clean energy technology. There ought to be a reversal of Africa’s role as a scavenger of technology, looking up to others to lead. Currently Africa has 60% of the world’s solar power footprint yet imports solar technology to harness it. The continent must team up with its friends to build its capacity to at least produce solar panels and other clean energy components to drive down its costs. Wind, hydro energy including Wave and Tidal energies, are all resources that Africa has in abundance. The sea alone is estimated to have the potential to produce up to 4 times the total energy requirements of the world. An Africa hungry for industrialization must be among the leaders in the clean energy transition, and not a follower. Will it Rain Cars in Africa? Of the world’s 1.5 billion automobiles, Africa currently has only 50 million of them; mostly imported used. The continent is already considered the dumping ground for obsolete automobiles and other manufactured goods. As the race continues to manufacture and replace fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles, the pressing question is what will happen to the 1.5 billion automobiles that will be replaced in as short as a decade from now. Will Africa experience a torrent of obsolete automobiles from the developed world? The answer is, most likely. Can Africa resist this scenario? I think not. Africa must strategize on how it will handle this scenario of becoming the dumping ground of obsolete technology. Electric vehicle manufacturing is still in its infancy in Africa, and what may happen is that a fossil fuel to electric automobile conversion industry will develop as a part of the transition to clean energy by 2050. Justice in Transition The Africa Union Executive Council, at its 41st Ordinary Session held on the 15th of July 2022, adopted the African Common Position on Energy Access and Just Transition. It is a comprehensive approach that commits to renewable clean energy. Significantly, it sets a longer time frame for full implementation, with due consideration to Africa’s peculiar circumstances. It is prudent for Africa’s needs to be fully accommodated within the global targets to enable the flow of funds so that its longer energy transition process can continue. The tempo of the continent’s industrialization must not be held back by the pace of development of clean technology. Thankfully, the African Development Bank has also launched what it terms, A New Deal on Energy for Africa to support Africa’s transition to clean energy. It describes the deal as built on the following five principles: Raising aspirations to solve Africa’s energy challenges Establishing a Transformative Partnership on Energy for Africa Mobilizing domestic and international capital for innovative financing in Africa’s energy sector Supporting African governments in strengthening energy policy, regulation and sector governance Increasing African Development Bank’s investments in energy and climate financing Conclusion To conclude, I borrow this quote from the African Development Bank (AfDB): “Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. It is time to take decisive action and turn around this narrative: to light up and power Africa – and accelerate the pace of economic transformation, unlock the potential of businesses, and drive much needed industrialization to create jobs.” About the Author Godfred Edusei Derkyi is a retired bank executive, financial consultant, author, and publisher of books. Three of his books - part of the Adventures of Hurricane & Tornado Adventure Series - are featured on the SDG Book Club Africa reading lists for SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 6 (clean water & sanitation) and SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy). Click HERE for the SDG Book Club Africa Interview with Godfred Edusei DerkyI Click HERE to see Derkyi's books on the different reading list for the SDG Book Club Africa.
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02 November 2022
WFP and WHO team up to raise awareness on the first 1000 days
WINDHOEK – – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the 1000 Days Campaign to improve nutrition of children during the period from conception to 2 years. Against this backdrop to support the Government, the campaign has been implemented at Olukula Clinic, in Ohangwena Region on October 19th, 2022, and Tsumkwe Clinic, in Otjozondjupa Region on November 2nd 2022. The objectives of the 1000 days campaign are to: Capacitate Community Health Workers (CHWs), pregnant and lactating women and the public on the importance of the 1000 days. Promote healthy food choices through cooking demonstrations (complementary foods, healthy foods for pregnant, lactating women and the family) as a cornerstone of healthy food consumption and behaviour change communication for communities Demonstrate various food preservation methods Educate communities on nutrition (Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), PMTCT, healthy eating, and basic nutrition which will also encompass teaching children using puppets and soft food toys about healthy foods and eating. The campaign will also include a media plan (radio messages on the 1000 days in various languages, video clips, social media, and a television interview). As a starting point, over 500 community members attended the 1,000 Days Campaign at Olukula Clinic, Ohangwena Region. “The first 1,000 days from conception to 2 years of age are pivotal in determining a child’s destiny. Inadequate nutrition in this window period can lead to stunting, causing irreversible damage to children’s bodies and brains. WFP through its human capital development approach thus advocates for adequate nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women as a protective mechanism against any complications.” said Dr George Fedha – WFP Country Director and Representative. WHO support for the launch was provided through a grant from the Government of Japan. The WHO Representative in a statement delivered on his behalf highlighted some of the key messages of the campaign: “The importance of pregnant women to eat healthy balanced diverse meal to prevent malnutrition, attend antenatal care starting as early as possible, and need for iron and folic acid tablets during pregnancy to prevent anaemia and birth defects; as well as the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life”, said Dr. Charles Sagoe-Moses, WHO Representative. The launch of this joint programme is timely as it comes at a point when Otjozondjupa region recorded the largest percentage of children with severe acute malnutrition (9.5%). Under this initiative, Community Health Workers showed beneficiary mothers how to use locally available foods to prepare a variety of nutritious dishes. “The Ministry of Health and Social Services Otjozondjupa Regional Health Directorate has been and is still enjoying a good friendship with the UN family including the World Food Program that has decided to reach out to our community in Tsumkwe constituency. Other UN Agencies in the likes of UNFPA, UNICEF, not to forget WHO and many others have been our pillars of support during the intense period of Covid 19 and still providing continuous support to strengthened health care services deliver to the region and country at large” said Mr Gebhardo Timotheus - Regional Health Director, Otjozondjupa Region. Participants were mainly mothers and CHWs numbering about 1,200 attendees in total. This campaign will also include a media plan comprised of radio messages in various languages, 15 second video clips, recipe cards, and television interviews.  https://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ena/wfp284547.pdf
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14 November 2022
Adolescents and youth with disabilities, and adolescents living with and affected by HIV empowered on HIV and Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights
UNAIDS Namibia in collaboration with the Namibian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) and National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) with the support of UNICEF and UNFPA recently facilitated a two-day workshop on HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Windhoek, as part of the 2gether4SRHR initiative. The workshop provided a safe platform for adolescents to interact and share key issues, successes and challenges that they face, for enhanced programming to address gaps in the HIV response, and to strengthen linkages between adolescents with disabilities and other adolescents, including those living with and affected by HIV to strengthen inclusion and partnerships. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive and other health services for adolescents, especially those with disabilities and those living and affected by with HIV. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive and other health services for adolescents, especially those with disabilities and those living and affected by with HIV. In her opening remarks, Dr Alti Zwandor, UNAIDS Namibia Country Director, encouraged participants to actively contribute during the workshop and continue engaging in programmes for and with youth and adolescents to end inequalities. “I hope that your views, suggestions, and recommendations from this workshop will inform the outcome document that will be developed to provide guidance on gender-transformative and human rights-based interventions for adolescents with disabilities in Namibia." " I therefore urge you to be as free, open, and frank as possible,” said Dr Zwandor. Among other challenges, the lack of sign language interpreters and skills is a big concern in Namibia as interpreters are usually fully booked when needed by the hearing-impaired community. This was also highlighted by the Namibia Planned Parenthooh Association (NAPPA), a youth friendly service provider for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care and support. This continues to limit access to health and other social and essential services, leaving people with disabilities behind. “We often get discouraged to seek services from health facilities as there are no sign language interpreters to communicate our needs to healthcare workers and information hardly reaches us," said Martha, an adolescent with hearing impairment. Participants emphasized the need for the inclusion of adolescents with disabilities in the HIV and COVID-19 responses to ensure that people with disabilities access quality and equitable health services. UNAIDS has long advocated for a three-track approach to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in the HIV response, being: Disability-specific activities and mainstreaming disability across all aspects of HIV responses. Participation and active involvement of people with disabilities in all programme elements. Disability-inclusive policies, programmes and implementation strategies that ensure appropriate funding and resources. UNAIDS Namibia calls for all partners to use the social model, which acknowledges that the current inequalities are not due to peoples’ disability or vulnerability, but the inability of society to eliminate barriers challenging persons with disabilities. This will ensure inclusive development and programming for adolescents and youth so that they benefit from available services, and that the social and structural barriers that prevent young people from accessing HIV services are removed. Speaking on behalf of the NFPDN, Mr. Orben Muluti calls for communities to start practicing equity and not equality. “Equity will help us move to a better world, where all societal systems recognize the issues of people with disabilities and work collectively with them to mainstream disability in all aspects of life.” said Muluti. In closing, the NNAD Director, Mr Paul Nanyeni highlighted the limited communication modalities for people with disabilities and emphasised the need to strengthen joint advocacy for the inclusion of sign language as an official language in Namibia. The workshop was facilitated by various partners including AfriYAN Namibia, Regain Trust, NAPPA, Youth Empowerment Group (YEG), UNFPA, UNICEF and UNAIDS. The outcome document will be shared with all stakeholders for accelerated action for HIV and SRHR programming for adolescents with disabilities.
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16 November 2022
Upskill Project Helps Uplift Youth
Unemployed graduates around the world face incredible challenges making it in an unstable job market, unable to absorb their labour. Having put much effort in their tertiary education, many such graduates are hit with the cold reality that the hardest part is not getting the degree or certificate but finding the increasingly elusive job opportunity. How are young people supposed to navigate such difficult waters? For thirty (30) Namibian youth, carefully selected from hundreds of applicants, a helping hand came in the form of the ShapesSkills Cohort III Training Project that took place from 8 October – 5 November 2022. “We were initially inspired to establish the ShapeSkills Training Project as a platform for young professionals to share their knowledge and help upskill unemployed graduates starting their journey in the job market”, said current Global Shapers Windhoek Hub curator Julia Nampweya Co-hosted by the United Nations Namibia and the Global Shapers Windhoek Hub since its inception in 2020, ShapeSkills has empowered more than 150 youth unemployed youth reach their full potential through five weekly intensive trainings spanning the areas of marketing, diplomacy, entrepreneurship, project management, IT and Web Design. “Our steadfast support of ShapeSkills embodies the principles of the United Nations Youth Strategy that calls for the UN to scale up global, regional and national action to meet the needs of young people, realize their rights and seize their opportunities as agents of change”, said United Nations Resident Coordinator to Namibia, Mr. Sen Pang. Efraim Shaanika, one of the ShapeSkills participants, explained that the main reasons he applied for ShapeSkills was to attain and accumulate all the skills that were on offer. “I wanted to grab an opportunity to grow myself which will also help grow other people too since I am a youth group leader. I have a life purpose of making a significant impact on lives of people. The skills I have learned will be one of my pillars to rollout to the community”, said Efraim. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the current global crises, employment already reached staggering levels with 46% of youth unemployed in 2018. Whilst not directly creating jobs, ShapeSkills provides youth with the tools to either help them establish their own businesses or equip them with information to increase their value to prospective employers in the current job market. “After ShapeSkills, I realized I’ve been job hunting wrong and sending out the same CV for almost every job posting, I had no idea I had to tailor it for each job”, said Priscilla Timoteus, a ShapeSkills participant.” Fellow participant, Jakob Johannes further elaborated on Priscilla’s reflections on this knowledge gap, adding that “our community, they need this information which is rare for them to have. Especially on how to make their CV and how to market themselves in the industry”. The inclusion of youth in resolving developmental issues as well as contribute to the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals is fundamental in making those solutions a long-term reality. “We are always looking at sustainable ways to leave a positive impact on our fellow Namibians. In helping, this group of youth we provide them with the skills to uplift their communities. It creates a domino effect”, said current Global Shapers Windhoek Hub curator Julia Nampweya About the Global Shapers Windhoek Hub Affiliated with the World Economic Forum, the Hub is filled with young, dynamic individuals who are making an impact in their surrounding society. The Hub brings together young people who are willing to share their time and efforts in social projects to enhance and brighten the lives of the communities in and around Windhoek. For more information email: email@example.com
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15 November 2022
Towards an Early Warning System for Harmful Algal Blooms in Namibia
IOC-UNESCO and Namibia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources organized major consultation to assess the specific needs and requirements for establishing an early warning system for harmful algal blooms in the Southern African country. About 300 hundred species of microalgae are reported at times to form mass occurrences, so-called algal blooms. Nearly one-fourth of these species are known to produce toxins harmful to nature and to human beings, and the scientific community refers to these algal events as ‘Harmful Algal Blooms’ (HAB). Proliferations of microalgae in marine or brackish waters can cause massive fish kills, contaminate seafood with toxins, and alter ecosystems in ways that humans perceive as harmful. The impact of harmful microalgae is particularly evident when marine food resources (e.g. fisheries and aquaculture) are affected. Even though not all species are visibly affected by harmful algal blooms – such as shellfish and finfish –, they accumulate the toxins in their organs and subsequently transmit them to humans through consumption, leading to serious health threats. “In the interest of food safety for the end consumer, an early warning system for HABs will serve as a food safety intervention tool to identify potential risks required to be managed; to maintain consumer and customer confidence; and to expand national, regional and international trade through the promotion of a safe seafood commodity.” - Heidi Skrypzeck, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Namibia Monitoring of harmful algal blooms is essential in providing forecasts and early warnings for a potential HAB event, enabling regional authorities, industry, or individuals to take actions to mitigate public health, environmental, or economic risks and impacts. The 5-6 October workshop gathered 32 participants from government ministries, the private sector, academic institutions, and official laboratories to define the early warning system requirements for Namibia, review current capacities and resources in place, and outline missing knowledge and data gaps. As a result of collaboration between the Government of Namibia, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and UNESCO’s Windhoek Office, the workshop marked the starting point of the development of an early warning system for HABs in Namibia combining monitoring with a mitigation and adaptation strategy. “Through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO strives to assist Member States in managing and mitigating the impacts of harmful algae, essential for a productive and sustainable seafood industry.” - Henrik Enevoldsen, Head of Ocean Science at IOC-UNESCO The workshop helped national stakeholders identify and share the main causes and effects of harmful algal blooms in Namibia, including mortalities, human food poisonings, ocean oxygen depletion, and the associated economic and ecological impacts – in particular on the export of shellfish products. Participants identified an urgent need to establish a rapid monitoring and regulatory framework to ensure the protection of human health and safe seafood trade from the regular occurrence of harmful algae in the country. “Engaging from the beginning with the different stakeholders is crucial to ensure that the early warning system being developed will eventually effectively meet their specific needs.” - Marie-Yasmine Dechraoui Bottein, invited expert from the University of Côte d’Azur
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