WINDHOEK - President Hage Geingob says it is pertinent to demonstrate the political will of the United Nations membership with regards to redressing Africa’s exclusion from the international body’s Security Council.
Geingob made the call yesterday when he addressed the 73rd session of United Nations General Assembly, which officially opened on Tuesday, with top diplomats and government leaders from around the world converging in New York.
The Security Council, which has powers to authorise military action, impose sanctions and set up peacekeeping operations, has 10 rotating members. The US, China, Russia, France and Britain are permanent members which wield a veto.
The 54-nation African continent has a representation of only three non-permanent members without veto power in the UNSC
“The world has moved on; the old and unjust order cannot persist. Africa and its 1.2 billion inhabitants can no longer be excluded from assuming its place on this primary decision-making body,” Geingob said.
Equally, he called on the implementation of the UN resolutions and decisions, which will lead to a positive, peaceful and permanent solution that meets the aspirations and will of the people of Western Sahara.
Following the annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco and Mauritania in 1976, and the Polisario Front’s declaration of independence, the UN addressed the conflict via a resolution reaffirming the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people.
Equally, he said Namibia reaffirms its support for the people of the occupied territory of Palestine, in their pursuit of self-determination, justice, freedom and independence.
“The time is now, for all of us, to demonstrate the leadership required to bring prosperity and peace to all the world’s people. It is time to lead in the spirit of peace, in the spirit of equality and in the spirit of sustainability. It is time to make the United Nations relevant to all the world’s people. Let us seize this unique moment in history,” he remarked.
He also spoke on inequality in Namibia which remains a challenge, as reflected in the skewed ownership of land, where white Namibians owns 70 percent of all agricultural land.
In government’s pursuit of creating favourable conditions to fight poverty and maintain peace and stability, he reported Namibia will hold its second national land conference next week.
He called on development partners to support the outcome of the conference, so as to continue assisting Namibia in the process of socio-economic transformation.
He also reiterated that Namibia’s classification, as an upper-middle income nation does not consider the skewed distribution of income.
“It prevents us from accessing official development assistance and affordable, concessional finance. The situation has the potential to jeopardise efforts in Namibia and other developing countries to fully achieve Agenda 2030,” he reacted.
Geingob emphasised that excluding women from certain spheres of life is to put to waste skills and expertise that can contribute to sustainable development.
He therefore applauded the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres for exercising leadership and thus reaching gender parity amongst senior management and UN resident coordinators.
He said Namibia is fully committed to implementing gender equality, which is evident in the important role women play in politics.
Geingob added the participation of women at the highest levels of governance has been consolidated when the ruling Swapo Party took a principled decision at the 1997 Congress to increase the proportion of female delegates to the Party’s congress up to 50 percent.
According to him, this was the genesis of the now constitutionally mandated Swapo Party, Zebra style 50/50 policy, a key indicator of the importance Namibia attach to gender equality.
Geingob quoted the late Secretary General Kofi Annan who once said, “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance”.
Hence, he maintained the world should do more to make gender equality a reality.