Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (right) with EU Ambassador disgnate, H.E. Sinikka Antila (left)
|Story by George Sanzila
Windhoek - Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi says the Namibian Parliament considers the European Union (EU) as an important strategic partner. Hon. Katjavivi mentioned this when he met the EU Ambassador Designate, H.E. Sinikka Antila today (20/09/2019).
The Speaker noted that many projects funded by the EU that aim to develop the capacity of parliament have taken place. He stated that he was looking forward to more similar projects such as the envisaged “Enhancing Participatory Democracy in Namibia” (EPDN) programme that would target both civil society organisations and members of parliament.
“The Enhancing Participatory Democracy in Namibia (EPDN) will open up and strengthen greater avenues for parliament to engage with the civil society. Furthermore, it will contribute towards strengthening MPs in making appropriate laws for the country. We have also exciting projects such as the just concluded Children’s parliament that seeks to inculcate democratic values in our young people”, said Hon. Katjavivi.
Hon. Katjavivi further reminded the newly designated diplomat about capacity development adding that the Namibian Parliament needed to boost its ICT infrastructure, research capacity, budgeting and sustainable Development goals (SDGs) implementation efforts.
“As you may have gathered, we sounded your predecessor and the team at the EU for possible technical assistance in terms of installation of effective WIFI on our premises and equipping the research facility for MPs as well as training support in the shift towards e-parliament. We would also like to be able to be at the forefront of budget formulation in collaboration with the ministry of finance, particularly gender sensitive budgeting and ensure the implementation of SDGs”, noted Hon. Katjavivi.
He noted that already parliaments of two EU countries, namely German and Finland had committed to assist the Namibian legislature with ICT development.
Ambassador Antila who was particularly impressed with the Children’s Parliament, praised Namibia’s democratic values noting that the EU was looking forward to collaborating with both Parliament and civil society. “The EPDN is a flagship programme of the EU and its important that we work together with civil society organisations and parliament. She noted that although Namibia is classified as an upper middle income country, it could still benefit from various EU funding initiatives.