International relations and cooperation minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has commended the appointment of Advocate Bience Gawanas as UN Special Advisor on Africa with the rank of Under Secretary General, the third highest rank after that of the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General.
Gawanas will be based at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The minister has also congratulated Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi on her appointment as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General Advisory Board on disarmament matters.
“Adv. Gawanas is eminently qualified for the position, having distinguished herself as AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, a position to which she was twice overwhelmingly elected and served for eight years. We have full confidence in Adv. Gawanas’ intellectual abilities and professionalism.”
“Adv. Gawanas was the first African woman Commissioner for Social Affairs, and was deservedly credited for having contributed significantly to the development of the AU social policy. Her vast experience on AU will serve her in good stead in her new position, thus facilitating the consolidation of effective cooperation between the AU and the UN,” she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said In her new position as Special Advisor on Africa, Adv. Gawanas follows in the footsteps of African luminaries such as the illustrious and distinguished diplomats and scholars: Professor Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria; Ambassador Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, former Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Botswana to the UN who served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Namibia during the implementation of Resolution 435 in 1989; and the immediate past holder, Mr. Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt.
Adv. Gawanas becomes the first woman to be appointed to that position.
Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi was Namibia’s first resident Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Vienna, Austria. She chaired the Preparatory Session for the Comprehensive-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
She also successfully chaired the UN Commission on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Ashipala-Musavyi is one of the few African women ambassadors to be appointed to serve on the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters.
She will attend Advisory Board meetings, which take place twice a year alternately in Geneva and New York.
Currently Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Relation and Cooperation, Ashipala-Musavyi is a consummate diplomat and skillful negotiator with a rich experience on disarmament matters, the ministry has said.
She remains Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
“Since assuming office as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, I made it my priority to advance the case for Namibians citizens, to join international organizations including the UN, AU and the Commonwealth Secretariat.”
“I am proud that our collective lobbying effort at the Ministry with the support of friends has paid off handsomely with the appointment of Adv. Gawanas and Ambassador Ashipala-Musavyi. Both these appointments to high profile positions enhances the image of Namibia and should serve as inspiration to the Namibian people, especially the young, both men and women to work hard and aim high, for the sky is the limit,” said the minister.
She added, “As Adv. Bience and Amb. Ashipala-Musavyi prepare to take up their respective new responsibilities, to once again represent the African people, promote international peace and security, I assure them of the unwavering support and best wishes of the people and Government of Namibia. They have done our country an immense pride; our country is enormously proud of both of them.”