Social media undermines secret diplomacy: Katoma

26 Jul 2016 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 JUL (NAMPA) - The widespread use of social media has undermined secret diplomacy and has also posed challenges to parliamentary decision-making concerning foreign policy issues.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Leevi Katoma said this during the opening of the five-day Foreign Policy Review conference in the capital on Monday.
Secret diplomacy refers to diplomacy carried out without the knowledge of the people to pursue the goals of foreign policy through effective means of compromise and persuasion, amongst others.
It is often referred to as 'quiet diplomacy'.
“In this regard, our parliamentary decision-making processes concerning international affairs are expected to catch up with the evolvement of media and communication technology,” he said.
Katoma said this requires improved consultation and a regular exchange of information between government ministries and Parliament, so as to facilitate speedy ratification of treaties and conventions.
He explained that the Standing Committee was set up to exercise an overall function with regard to Namibia’s foreign policy and its relations with other states on matters of defence and security; and monitor international protocols, conventions and agreements that may affect Namibia’s foreign policy, and make recommendations to the National Assembly.
Therefore, Katoma said, the standing committee will continue working with the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation and other government ministries and institutions in the implementation of Namibia’s foreign policy in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Vision 2030, the National Development Plans (NDPs), and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Meanwhile, National Youth Council (NYC) Board member Lot Ndamanomhata called on the government through the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to keep on exposing young Namibians to foreign policies through international platforms.
“We call on the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to recognise our role in ensuring that Namibia has a global voice by engaging young people through NYC in all those structures. We recommend that our involvement must be aligned and anchored to what we are at national level,” he said.
Ndamanomhata suggested that the Foreign Policy should assist the NYC in making sure that young people are competitive through empowerment processes and crafting Namibia’s image.
A White Paper on Namibia’s Foreign Policy and Diplomacy management was adopted in 2004, hence the need to review the policy.
A number of local and international presenters are scheduled to speak during the conference on topics such as poverty eradication; agriculture; trade and investment; multilateral and bilateral cooperation; infrastructural development; land reform, Blue Economy, Namibia’s Image, foreign service, public and cultural diplomacy.
It ends Friday.