Namibia's new Permanent Representative to UN-HABITAT, Mr. Japhet Isaack, this week presented his credentials to Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos.
Mr. Isaack, who is also his country's ambassador to Kenya, briefed Dr. Clos on recent social and economic developments in Namibia. In a country with a population of some 2.1 million people, he said the country was undergoing a rapid process of urbanisation as people migrate into the capital, Windhoek (population 235,000), and other urban areas. The matter had to addressed through public policies in the urbanization and housing sectors, and the Government was looking seriously at measure to improve the situation, he said.
Dr. Clos cited the importance of proactive urban planning as a main strategic priority in UN-HABITAT. Cities, he said, should be perceived as sources of wealth, progress and opportunity, rather than as problems. He said economic activities in cities, including the informal economy in slums, were assets which could become real sources of wealth with appropriate urban economic policies.
Mr. Mathias Spaliviero, the UN-HABITAT Human Settlements Officer responsible for the region, presented an overview of UN-HABITAT's cooperation with Namibia. He said the agency has a National Program Manager who worked with the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development. He said the most important joint activities with the ministry are the development of an urban policy and three pilot construction projects being implemented with other UN Agencies under the Joint Programme on Culture and Cultural Tourismled by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the International Labour Organization and UN-HABITAT's sister agency, the UN Environment Programme. UN-HABITAT, he said is working with these agencies and National Heritage Council on the construction of a national heritage site in the north of the country at Ozombu Zovindimba, a cultural village in Rundu Constituency and an Interpretation Center in Omusati Region in close cooperation with the National Heritage Council .
The Ambassador invited Dr. Clos to visit the country and meet senior figures. The ceremony was attended by the Chief of of External Relations and Inter-Agency Affairs, Mr. Chris Mensah, Mr. Spaliviero, and Ms. Aranzazu Banon, Dipolmatic Advisor to the Executive Directior.