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Hon. Bernadette Jagger, MP reported to the Governing Council at the 133rd IPU Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland

 

Mr. President,

  • Thank you for giving me the floor to say a few words about the regional parliamentary forum on “Promoting child nutrition in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region”, which was jointly organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNICEF and that the Parliament of Namibia was honoured to host from 28 to 29 September 2015 in Windhoek. The report on this meeting is in your set of documents.
  • The meeting was attended by some 104 participants including 40 parliamentarians from 9 countries of the SADC region. Both the Vice President of the Republic of Namibia, H.E. Dr. Nickey Iyambo, acting President of the Republic at the time of the meeting, and Former Prime Minister, Mr. Nahas Angula, who is the Chairperson and Convener of the Namibian Alliance for improved nutrition (NAFIN), graced us with their presence in this important meeting.
  • Mr. President, this meeting could not have come at a better time since it took place immediately after the United Nations high-level summit during which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted. We committed to join the general mobilization for the achievement of its objectives including the one on combating poverty and promoting good health and well-being that referred to child nutrition as well.

 

  • The Namibia workshop hence helped us to realize further impact of many forms of malnutrition our SADC region suffers including stunting, wasting, underweight and overweight, and to be informed of the alarming projections if urgent actions are not taken. Despite the existence of regional and national nutrition promotion mechanisms, we concurred that further efforts are still needed to address effectively this issue that our region is severely confronted with.
  • Thanks to the panellists’ whose expertise we tapped on, we were sensitized to the importance and the link of food and nutrition security to economic development. We recognized and concurred with the fact that the first 1000 days of a child’s life are critically important and, as such, require improved nutrition and relevant feeding practices. It was an opportunity to hear and share many experiences and good practices. We also noted that many challenges remained and could be taken up through coordinated and harmonized actions of all stakeholders including parliamentarians.
  • Our discussion culminated in the formulation of the following recommendations which should help to build up parliamentary strategies to scale up and strengthen nutrition programmes and policies.
  1. Reviewing our existing legislation from a nutrition-sensitive approach and in line with the international and regional legal standards and policy;
  2. Ensuring sufficient resources allocation for the implementation of the nutrition-based policies and programmes;
  3. Holding our governments to account through our oversight prerogative so as to ensure that policies and programmes are effectively implemented;
  4. Galvanizing our population to the necessity to combat malnutrition and sensitizing them to eat local foods that are high in required vitamins and proteins;
  5. Calling for more coordinated and harmonized actions through the cooperation with other stakeholders including civil society, NGOs and international organizations such as IPU, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme.
  • Thank you for your attention

Hon. Victorine Torka Shikongo, MP contribution at the 133rd IPU Assembly

 

Honourable Chairperson,
Hon. Members of Parliament,

We are living in a world of ever evolving technologies and advanced technical systems that are beneficial to us but also susceptible to illegal activities.

The Constitution of the Republic of Namibia guarantees the right to privacy and freedom of association but also makes provision for those rights and freedoms to be ‘interfered with” in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others by way of lawful interception of communication.

Interception of communications in Namibia is used by the law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies in their work against crime and threats to national security. Interception of communications is also used to protect individuals in respect of cyber security, online protection and electronic transactions.

It is therefore important that interception is done in a way that is in accordance with the law as provided for by the Communications Act in order to ensure that the rights of citizens are not arbitrarily interfered with.

Madame Chairperson,

Social media platforms are powerful tools for the dissemination of information to the general public. Although there are many benefits in utilising social media platforms, there are also dangers that come with these platforms such as cyberbullying and exposure to sexual predators, especially for younger children. There is therefore, a need for forms of protection on the internet and more specifically laws pertaining to online child protection.

Parliaments should therefore share best practices to ensure that the legal framework is adequate in addressing all the aspects of the threats that consumers may experience whilst on-line. We need to enact laws on cyber-security, electronic transactions, data protection and child on-line protection.

As Members of Parliaments, it is our duty to educate our electorate and create awareness in our communities, constituencies , our children, our families, women and men about the risks of abusing social media, the Internet and ICT in general and the legal consequences thereof.

I thank you!

Major Parliamentary Occasions

Major annual ceremorial occasions that happen at Parliament are:
  • Opening of Parliament
  • Budget Introduction Day and
  • State of the Nation Address

Speaker Prof. Katjavivi Statement at the ongoing 133rd IPU Assemby in Geneva, Switzerland

Mr. President,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I rise to address this august Assembly for the first time after my election as the Speaker of the Namibian National Assembly on the 21st March 2015. I am honoured to have taken over the reins from Hon. Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, a revered former President of the IPU.

I am pleased to share some thoughts on the theme of this 133RD IPU Assembly: “The moral and economic imperative for fairer, smarter and more human migration.” It is indeed a topic that is relevant to our current times, and worth being pursued on National and International platforms throughout the world.

The number of people around the world forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution has reached its highest total since World War II, with more than 51.2 million fleeing their country or displaced within it, which was reported by the UN refugee agency in 2014. Whether they are called migrants, refugees or asylum seekers becomes irrelevant at the time when they need humanitarian aid and their rights as human beings need to be upheld. An estimated 13.6 million people have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq alone, constituting what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres dubbed a mega-crisis.

Mr. President,

Migration is not a new challenge, it has been in existence throughout human history. We have to find a beneficial consensus-based solution to the causes of this current crisis. Ignoring the root causes for this mass exodus will not help to solve this problem. As parliamentarians we have a critical role to play, in ensuring a meaningful, balanced and informed debate on this pertinent issue. This is achieved by promoting fair and effective policies addressing the real challenges that face all stakeholders and countries world-wide.

Two weeks ago the UN General Assembly adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This universal development agenda addresses the complexity of the world problems and thereby the causes for migration. Let us all assume our roles in realizing the SDGs, to transform our world. Namibia is not a stranger to migration. During our liberation struggle, our leaders and comrades went into exile and were hosted by our brothers and sisters in Africa and other parts of the world. We are therefore indebted to our friends who have assisted us when we were in dire need under the apartheid regime. This makes the topic of migration close to the experience of Namibians.

Mr. President,
Hon. Members,

We are living in what we call the “Global Village” and the challenges faced by one country will certainly affect other countries. We cannot afford to deal with our regional and international challenges in isolation; we cannot afford to deal with migration in isolation.

Mr. President,
Hon. Members,

As leaders of parliaments and elected representatives of our peoples, we have an obligation to create awareness in our countries, to avoid stereotypes in order to combat xenophobia; and address real challenges to social cohesion and national identity. Let us also remember that although immigration may put a strain on limited resources, it can also bring the benefit of new contributors to our ever evolving societies.

Mr. President and Honourable Members,

In conclusion,

When we debate on this most important theme, it is imperative that we not only look at addressing migration in an objective manner but that we address it as citizens of the world. We should not view migration as a regional problem, but a continental and global issue, which we work together to address.

I thank you,

State of the Nation Address

Article 32 (2) of the Namibian Constitution provides that the President must attend Parliament during the consideration of the National Budget. At this occasion, the President must also address Parliament on the State of the Nation and on the future policies of the government. He/she also reports on the policies of the previous year and is available to respond to questions.

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