SDG targets out of reach

In spite of sustained economic growth in the past decade, challenges remain in various sectors.

17 September 2018 | International

Ellanie Smit

Namibia’s ability to fully and timeously realise all targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at risk due to its upper middle-income country status, which is hindering the country from accessing much needed resources.

This is according to a statement issued with regards to Namibia’s recent report on its progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals at the Voluntary National Review (VNR) in New York.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are 17 goals with 169 targets that all 191 UN Member States agreed to try to achieve by 2030.

Namibia’s review amongst others, reflected on how the country had seen sustained economic growth over much of the last ten years, averaging at 3.7% annually, while much of that growth resulted in persisting high levels of unemployment.

There was a marginal reduction in inequality of 0.56 from 0.58 over the last five years.

Public revenues

According to the statement sustained moderate to high-levels of economic growth and resultant advancement in public revenues were reported in Namibia.

“That incidentally increased state’s capacity to increase the value of social protection grants over the last ten years, and the country observed one of the fastest reduction of poverty levels in the region from 28.8 % to 17.4 5% over ten years,” according to the statement.

Furthermore, education and skills development were also emphasised, particularly ensuring that those on the margins of society are included, to facilitate easy access at all levels of education, and free basic education for all.

Namibia had, under the Millennium Development Goals, met all targets around universal access to primary and gender parity across all levels.

Challenges persist

However, challenges persist in relation to quality of education outcomes, which government was addressing through sector-wide reforms, according to the statement.

On issues of governance, dynamisms of the Namibian democracy architecture built around regular and credible elections and proportional representation that guarantees inclusivity were highlighted.

Namibia’s ranking on the continent in terms of both governance (5th by the Ibrahim Index of African Governance) and transparency (3rd by Transparency International), were flagged.

According to the statement, Namibia also did commendable work around the stabilisation of the HIV/Aids pandemic and that new infections have reduced, while life expectancy had risen from 58 to 65 years-old.

Although Namibia recorded significant progress around maternal and child mortality, this area remains challenging, at 385/100 000 live births for maternal mortality in 2013 from 449/100 000 in 2006/7, and 20/1 000 live births for child mortality in 2013 from 24/1 000 live births in 2006/7.

“The country formulated a roadmap for the reduction of maternal and child mortality, that calls on all births to be performed in health facilities, by skilled health personnel and the construction of maternal waiting homes at all health facilities across the country,” says the statement.

Access to water

It says that Namibia had met the target for access to water in urban centres, but the target for access in rural areas is still a work in progress.

“Sanitation, with a national coverage at 54%, Namibia was faced with the challenge of lack of ablution facilities in rural areas and was therefore injecting more resources into rural sanitation infrastructure in addition to promoting behavioural change around hygiene and cleanliness,” according to the statement.

Energy, particularly electricity only stands at 50.4% in terms of national coverage. However, Namibia is working hard towards harnessing more energy from the non-renewable sources to increase their share in the energy mix.

Furthermore, Namibia was migrating to a Natural Disasters Risk Management Model, which promotes preparedness for both disasters and response, because of the visible impacts of climate change specifically through the recurrent droughts and floods on the country.

The presentation of the 2018 Voluntary National Review on the implementation of Agenda 2030, was jointly supported by the United Nations System in Namibia and the Sustainable Development Goals Initiative.

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