multilateralism must be defended at all cost: Geingob

President Hage Geingob said multilateralism and rules-based order are essential tools in strengthening governance, protecting civil liberties and the fundamental rights of people.

‘An effective rules-based multilateral system is our insurance policy against existential threats such as wars, nuclear proliferation, pandemics and climate change. It is therefore of utmost importance that we continue to defend multilateralism at all cost,’ said Geingob in his speech shared with the media at the general debate of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

He said the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has plunged the world into an acute health and economic crisis, the severity of which has not been seen in a century, adding that the pandemic has disproportionately affected some countries more than others, exposing and exacerbating vulnerabilities and inequalities within and among countries.

The president said the adverse socio-economic effects of COVID-19, compounding existing challenges such as high debt burdens, reduced fiscal revenues, capital outflows, and a lack of adequate and sufficient access to financial markets, does not bode well for the future of developing countries.

‘This is due to the fact that the unfolding crisis could halt or reverse gains in poverty eradication, food security and inequality. It is why this health emergency should lead to an even deeper sense of urgency and impactful multilateral solidarity, the world needs it more than ever before,’ he noted.

Geingob commended UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, for the launch of the US$2 billion multi-partner Trust Fund for COVID-19 Response and Recovery, adding that he also acknowledges other debt relief initiatives announced by the IMF, the World Bank and the G20.

‘I encourage all our partners to facilitate their emergency lending mechanisms and accelerate technical support to even so-called Higher Middle Income Countries such as Namibia. This is vital to ensure access to social protection and basic services, sustainable economic activity, and protection of jobs and incomes,’ he said.

Geingob went on to say that environmental degradation is a persistent and growing problem and quite literally, a deadly threat to the security of people , noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has diverted resources from climate change and related mitigation efforts.

He further posited that the people of Namibia continue to suffer major environmental disasters such as floods, drought and water scarcity.

‘We therefore should ensure that we rededicate ourselves to commitments of the Paris Agreement, as a member of the high level panel for a sustainable ocean economy, Namibia reaffirms its commitment towards tackling the great challenges that the world’s oceans face, ranging from global warming, ocean acidification, marine pollution, including plastic pollution, and unsustainable exploitation of its living marine resources,’ he said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency