24 June 2014

Remarks at the ceremony for the official inauguration of the United Nations House in Namibia

Ban Ki-moon

I thank the Government of the Republic of Namibia for the invitation to officially inaugurate the UN House in Namibia together with His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

On behalf of the United Nations, I would like to thank the people and the Government of Namibia for this gift to the United Nations. The UN has a valuable history with the Namibian people. I am pleased to be here today to write another chapter in our cooperation. I am also here to show my personal commitment to strengthening UN engagement with the country.

I applaud Namibia for its tremendous progress on national reconciliation, press freedom, the adoption of human rights treaties, and substantial economic growth. Namibia’s sound economic policies have enabled it to transition to upper middle income status in a very short period. This makes Namibia an economic frontrunner in Africa.

I commend highly Namibia for its invaluable support for United Nations peacekeeping operations. I welcome Namibia’s leadership as a member of the Human Rights Council. I thank Namibia for presiding over the UN General Assembly during its 54th session for the negotiations which resulted in the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals.

As we prepare for the post-MDG period, I am pleased that Namibia is playing a leadership role in developing Africa’s Common Position on the post-2015 development agenda. I count on President’s Pohamba vision in that field.

Namibia has also demonstrated its leadership in addressing HIV/AIDS, reducing poverty, protecting the environment and promoting gender equality. With your assistance, the refugee population here dropped from 20,000 persons in the early 1990s to fewer than 3,000 now. Namibia is also advancing a regional approach to migration issues in Southern Africa and mainstreaming migration in its development agenda.

Of course, important challenges remain, most notably income inequality and unemployment, especially among youth. I understand that the current fourth National Development Plan aims to address these issues head on.

I am on leading a campaign around the world to end all forms of violence against women and children everywhere, including here. We must all take steps to change harmful gender norms and support the empowerment of women and children.

I am pleased to know that the UN Partnership Framework recently signed with the Government has a specific outcome on gender equality and gender-based violence. Civil society and the United Nations are joining forces to raise awareness and take action by observing Orange Day each month. This directly supports my UNITE campaign on violence against women.

I welcome Namibia’s plans to hold a side event at this year’s General Assembly session on Security Council resolution 1325 on Women and Girls in crisis situations. This is an appropriate follow-up since Namibia was President of the Security Council when that landmark resolution was adopted.

This UN House has already worked closely with Namibia to generate great progress across the country. Namibia’s UN Partnership Framework highlights the areas where all agree that the UN can add the most value.

This donation of the UN House is a stellar example of Namibia’s role in supporting the United Nations. We can all take pride in the accomplishments you have achieved in only 24 short years since independence in 1990.

I thank all of you - government, development partners and UN staff - for such excellent collaboration, and I look forward to our even stronger partnership in the future.

I sincerely hope that under the leadership of President Pohamba, the people of Namibia will enjoy prosperity, with the support of the United Nations, leaving no one behind.

Thank you.