Namibia’s objective as the next chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and as a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council is to strengthen peace processes across the continent.
In this regard the country will work with relevant stakeholders to promote dialogue at the international level and promote the settlement of disputes by peaceful means in line with its national and regional obligations.
This was said in the National Assembly by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah during her budget motivation yesterday.
Ndaitwah used the opportunity to spell out Namibia’s foreign policy and its international engagements, as an active member of global bodies.
‘’Namibia continues to follow the current global geo-political issues with great concern. We continue to call for conflict resolution and sustainable peace and security in the SADC region, Africa and the rest of the world, through diplomatic interventions and peace support operations,’’ she said.
Namibia’s priorities during its tenure as the chair of the SADC Organ from August, Ndaitwah said, will be to strengthen peace and security through ‘’preventative diplomacy, advocate for the consolidation of democracy and promote women, peace and security agenda.
The above areas, she continued, ‘’will also be our focus during the month of November 2022, when Namibia Chairs the AU Peace and Security Council. During that period, we will also bring to the table a discussion on enhancing mechanisms to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons on the continent’’.
At the continental and global level, Namibia is worried about the situations in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen and therefore encourages the settlement of disputes by peaceful means in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, the foreign minister said.
Turning to specific budget items, Ndaitwah said N$20 million dollars has been allocated for regional and bilateral relations and cooperation. ‘’Funds set aside for this program will be utilised to advance economic diplomacy by way of promoting investment, trade and tourism between Namibia and other countries on bilateral level.’’
Reflecting on its activities in this area, the minister said, Namibia in the past year hosted a Joint Commission of Cooperation with Zambia, held three political and diplomatic consultations with Angola, Finland and South Africa as well as an inter-governmental working group with Russia, and joint working group with Cuba. All these engagements were aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and enhance economic diplomacy in line with the country’s Policy on International Relations and Cooperation, the minister emphasised.
N$132 million is budgeted for multi-lateral policy coordination of which 68 percent goes to regional and international organisation membership fees. The remaining funds are used to facilitate Namibia’s participation in multi-lateral fora ‘’to ensure that Namibia’s voice is heard and influences the international discourse to the benefit of Namibia’’, said Ndaitwah.
The total budget of the ministry is just over N$849 million for the 2022/2023 financial year, of which 68 percent or N$582.5 million goes towards the operational costs of running Namibia’s foreign missions. ‘’Resources appropriated for this programme would be utilised to enhance the functions of the thirty-one Namibian Diplomatic Missions and three Consular Posts abroad, thus making it possible for them to make a meaningful contribution to the development of our country,’’ she stressed.