On 6 June, 2013, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO began an official visit to Namibia, at the invitation of His Excellency, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia.
The visit opened with a working lunch hosted by the Right Honourable Hage G. Geingob, Prime Minister of Namibia. The Prime Minister welcomed the Director-General and highlighted the importance of UNESCO's work to strengthen inclusion and equitable development, in Namibia and other countries. The Director-General underlined the important role played by Namibia in UNESCO, as members of the Executive Board and more widely. The discussion followed on the importance of effective governance for strong and legitimate institutions and for sharing the benefits of development with all.
The Director-General was honoured to meet with His Excellency, President Hifikepunye Pohamba in the magnificent State House. The President underlined the long standing and fruitful history of UNESCO support to the Namibian people, even before independence. He pointed to the enduring relevance of UNESCO today and reaffirmed Namibia's strong support to the Organisation. In times of uncertainty, the President looked to deepening cooperation with UNESCO, whose mandate is essential for promoting democracy, sustainability and development.
The Director-General thanked the President for his support and vision, and emphasised UNESCO's readiness to continue accompanying Namibia in achieving the objectives of Vision 2030, including in promoting quality education for all Namibians and in harnessing the power of science and technology.
The President underlined Namibia's work to deepen skills in the sciences and looked to UNESCO for support in advancing risk preparedness and mitigation.
The Director-General met the Honourable Theo-Ben Gurirab, Speaker of the National Assembly, in a wood panelled room, decorated with portraits of Namibia's leading politicians of the past.
The Speaker and the Director-General explored the experience of the MDGs, where the Speaker had played a role as President of the UN General Assembly, and the importance of setting an ambitious development agenda to follow 2015. They agreed that new goals should be ambitious and lead to redoubled efforts for progress, most especially in eliminating poverty.
In the course of the day, the Director-General also met with the Honourable Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of Foreign Affairs. They discussed the depth of UNESCO's cooperation with Namibia, whose importance the Minister underlined.