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His Excellency Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President

23 September 2008

Statement Summary

HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, President of Namibia, emphasized the four interrelated crises in the global economy today:  finance, energy, climate change and food.  He also mentioned challenges such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the occurrence of underdevelopment and abject poverty, as well as the need to foster peace and security.

Citing first-hand experience, he said Namibia had been negatively impacted by climate change in recent years in the form of devastating floods and drought.  The country had also been hit hard by soaring food and fuel prices, and in response, the Government provided tax exemptions on basic foodstuffs to provide relief to poor households.

Unless rapid action and a “hand-in-hand” approach linking the food crisis, climate change and the achievement of Millennium Development Goals were taken, a reversal of gains in poverty reduction and attainment of other internationally agreed development goals was possible.  Paramount to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals was a global commitment to peace and security, as well as to social justice, he said, adding a strong call for “genuine political will”.

He went on to urge the lifting of all sanctions in the cases of South Africa, whose mediation efforts had led Zimbabwe to a milestone power-sharing agreement, and Cuba, which was experiencing an economic blockade that contravened international law and General Assembly resolutions.

He was also among the African leaders to call for permanent representation on the Security Council by an African nation in light of ongoing United Nations reform efforts.  He also called for implementation of the United Nations Settlement Plan for Western Sahara, and a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Darfur and Somalia.

[Source: GA/10749]