The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MOEAC) in collaboration with UNESCO held a one day consultative meeting to validate the draft Namibia Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy at GZ Foundation in Windhoek on 19 April 2016. Local artists including culture and heritage practitioners attended the meeting to constructively contribute to the finalisation of the draft Policy.
Dr Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, UNESCO Windhoek Head of Office commended the MOEAC and the team of advisors working on this initiative for “a very transparent and inclusive approach”. He also congratulated Namibia for the successful inscription of Oshituthi shomagongo, marula fruit festival on the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Dr Ilboudo said UNESCO was pleased with the efforts of the Namibian Government “as no development can be sustainable without a strong culture component”.
“As UNESCO, we are happy that the Namibian Government sees culture, in all its dimensions, as a fundamental component of sustainable development. In Namibia, culture is viewed as a sector of activity, through tangible and intangible heritage, creative industries and various forms of artistic expressions, which make it a powerful contributor to economic development, social stability and environmental protection,” he said.
In her opening remarks, Ms Sanet Steenkamp, Permanent Secretary in the MOEAC urged delegates interrogate the draft policy “before it becomes legally effective”. She called on the participants at the meeting not to take local knowledge of culture for granted as the relationship between culture and development can justify the development of the country.
“We can take our rich cultural heritage for the development of Namibia through designs, arts and entrepreneurship,” she said.
According to Ms Steenkamp the country cannot manage its arts, culture and heritage affairs independently without the policy because it provides guidance for artists and protects cultural knowledge created by Namibians. She also urged the drafting committee to make reference to the Harambee Prosperity Plan introduced by the President of Namibia, Dr Hage Geingob as a means to eradicate poverty in Namibia.