On 7 June, the UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova held a joint meeting with Ministers in policy areas linked to UNESCO’s fields of competency.
Held at the Ministry of Education, the joint meeting was chaired by Honourable Bernard Esau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Reserves, and included the Honourable Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology and Representative to the UNESCO Executive Board, Mr Stanley Simataa, and Honourable Deputy Minister of Education, Ms Silvia Makgone.
The Honourable Deputy Ministers and Representatives from the Ministries of Education; Information and Communication Technology; Agriculture, Water and Forestry; Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture; Gender Equality and Child Welfare also attended the meeting.
The working meeting was an opportunity to review in depth the full range of opportunities and challenges facing Namibia -- in quality and inclusive education, in skills building with youth, in harnessing ICTs and promoting community radio, in strengthening water resource management and risk forecasting and mitigation, in advancing early childhood care, as well as in safeguarding cultural heritage and supporting cultural and creative industries.
"Capacity-building is the golden thread throughout our work, and UNESCO stands ready to deepen support to Namibia in all of these areas, which are essential for social inclusion, for social resilience, for sustainable development," said the Director-General.
A Communique was signed as a result of the joint working meeting.
"UNESCO will accompany Namibia every step of the way, as it works to reach its national development goals, 'Vision 2030,' to deepen youth engagement and to promote the benefits of sustainability and development throughout all of society," said the Director-General.
Irina Bokova visited the Penduka Arts Centre, a women's empowerment project, with some 58 women, including some with language, speech and hearing impairments.
The Director-General was shown the full range of arts and crafts created at the centre, including batik, pottery and glass jewellery -- all made with local materials, some recycled, and drawing on traditional skills. Penduka provides skills and employment, a base for cultural tourism as well as a treatment and support centre for women with tuberculosis. Penduka means 'Wake Up!' and the centre provides a wonderful example of solidarity in action.
Irina Bokova also visited the Dawid Bezuidenhout High School, a UNESCO ASPnet School.
She was greeted by the School Principal, and welcomed by an auditorium packed with young women and men. A choir opened the event, where Irina Bokova thanked the Principal, the teachers and all the students for their commitment to taking forward UNESCO's values and objectives. She highlighted the special role of schools, principals and teachers especially, for building lasting peace and sustainable development. The Director-General underlined the importance of empowering girls through education and learning, as a power for social transformation.
"I feel the humanist spirit of UNESCO in this auditorium today-- you are carrying forward the values we share of peace, dialogue, respect and dignity, sustainability and solidarity, and for this, I am grateful and encouraged," said Irina Bokova.
The Director-General also held a meeting with the UN Country Team, where the discussion explored the support of the UN to Namibia's national development plans, and the practice of 'delivering as one' in a middle income country, facing challenges as well as opportunities.