The Forum for Experts on Social Protection was launched in Windhoek. It is an initiative of the German Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Namibia. The Social Security Commission (SSC) is coordinating the partnership between the two institutions.
The Forum aims to bring together Namibian and regional experts to pool and share ideas on the expansion and improvement of social protection in Namibia. It will promote national dialogue and debate on social protection matters. The long-term goal is to enhance the lives of Namibian citizens by guiding government toward the establishment of a comprehensive social safety net which guarantees universal income and social services whenever there is need caused by ill-health, long-term unemployment, loss of employment and collapse of earnings.
Professor Michael Cichon, professor in Social Protection at the United Nations University, who was the keynote guest speaker at the launch argued that, “even the poorest countries can put in place comprehensive social protection programmes, Namibia being no exception”. He asserts that the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals must be linked to such programme’s fulfilment. Professor Jairos Kangira, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences said,
“while Namibia currently has various welfare programmes that can be termed ‘social protection’, they do not reach the majority of Namibians”. He added that, “substantial structural unemployment is persistent, undermining ability to generate income for basic needs, representing a case in point for social protection. The social protection stems from the ‘Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection’ launched by the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation in September 2016.
The Forum for Experts on Social Protection is now well-established with more public lectures and meetings of experts planned. The Forum is here to stay and represents a valuable think-tank dedicated to fundamental welfare improvement in the Namibian society.