European Union ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila has called on the country’s administrators to avoid administrative bottlenecks and to speed up implementation of programmes on the ground.
Antila made this call while speaking at the stakeholders’ event titled: “Enhancing Participatory Democracy (EPDN)” held at parliament last week.
The EPDN programme is a partnership programme of government and the EU aiming to strengthen collaboration and coordination between the parliament, civil society organisations and other government bodies in the oversight and implementation
of public policies programmes.
“Now is not the time for any vanities or competition. Administrative bottlenecks must be avoided, implementation of programmes on the ground must speed up,” Antila told participants, adding that Namibia just like
many other countries in the world, is at a crossroad.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, a national economy and consequently labour market that is increasingly under pressure, the devastating effects of climate change on agriculture, livestock, wildlife and entire ecosystems, the increasing pressure on natural resources.
“I could continue with this list, but the point I want to make is that in order to stand a chance to address these challenges, we need the best brains, the most brilliant ideas, the most promising innovations and we need to learn from international good practices. We need to act fast and collectively.” She said a common basis of knowledge is needed between the legitimate stakeholders in any democratic society.
“We need a real partnership approach. Only through real participatory democracy, we will be able to translate all the relevant development plans and programmes into action and turn printed words into reality,” she said.
Antila said the parliament administration and individual members of parliament (MPs) must be open to new ways of engagement and dialogue. “Research capacities must be improved, digital connectivity must be enhanced, and outreach and communication with citizens must be intensified.”
She further thanked the National Assembly (NA) speaker Peter Katjavivi for hosting the event, saying it is an important signal to all stakeholders that parliament is accessible for open public exchange and debate. Antila said since many years, the EU is strongly engaged in strengthening and capacitating the Namibian parliament, other public institutions such as ministries and government agencies and civil society organisations alike.
She said they have been actively promoting good governance and a conducive environment for public dialogue through many different thematic instruments.