Speaking to Mmegi in an exclusive interview, she said, "One of the most significant changes we made collectively as the UN team in Botswana is that we have moved to have a single coherent UN programme in support of Botswana's tenth National Development Plan (NDP10) with 15 participating UN Agencies.
Lwin further said that the Government of Botswana-UN Programme has been wholly integrated into the NDP10's coordination structure adding that this is an indication that the UN is a valued partner of the Botswana government. She pointed out that in addition to a robust programme of cooperation with Botswana the provision of the former SADC headquarters as the UN Building, has given greater recognition to the organisation in Botswana.
Lwin on the MDGs
Quizzed how far she thinks Botswana has fared well in the country's drive towards the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals she said: "In essence the country has done well in fighting poverty, improving education and there has been remarkable progress in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS." She further said that HIV/AIDS prevention has been a top priority for the entire UN Country team with UNAIDS coordinating their work with NACA and other partners to stem the pandemic. Lwin believes that with many more development partners involved in AIDS, the UN's focus has been on developing national capacity to manage, assess and monitor the situation for putting strategic plans in place to leverage resources from other partners.
She is impressed with the way Botswana has significantly managed to reduce mother to child transmission and with the roll out of ARV treatment. "When the people of Botswana put their minds on something, more often than not, their drive is very strong," she said adding Batswana are always ready to build the momentum and commit funds when wanting to achieve a given goal.
On the downside, Lwin said that she has observed at times the service delivery element is slow down the line and they fail to see through the implementation of some programmes. Lwin regretted the element of complacency which she says has hampered the achievement of some goals set by the country.
Lwin on national education
Lwin commended the Government's high level of investment in human resource development, suggesting that "Botswana should look more closely at what skills are marketable beyond the mining and agricultural sector and invest in them," adding that Botswana can become better positioned in the service industry with greater connectivity and higher quality of human resources.
Lwin on the fact that Botswana has been classified as a Middle Income Country
Considering the fact that some commentators say that for Botswana to have been classified a middle income country has disadvantaged the country in that the country does not get donor assistance to help with her development challenges such as HIV/AIDS, Lwin said, "Although Botswana has certain areas that need international support, she should be proud of that sense of graduation as the attention that has been previously given to her could be given to other less developed countries." She said that she foresaw a Botswana that would one day be as advanced as Malaysia, South Korea and Mauritius in the not so distant future, adding that Botswana could follow their example. Lwin said that Botswana could do more to focus more on stronger trade negotiations and better global and regional integration and connectivity.
Lwin as a Representative of the UNDP
During her tenure as the UNDP Representative, Lwin oversaw a number of environmental programmes most prominently Biokavango project which encouraged people to gain good livelihood while protecting their natural resources. One of the highlights of the project was when the Crown Prince Hakon of Norway visited the country a few years back. UNDP in Botswana has also contributed to helping Batswana access justice with the High Court increasing the efficiency with which the people's cases are handled, by introducing judicial case management reforms.
Lwin on Botswana as a whole
On the lighter side of the interview, Lwin has said that she has enjoyed her stay in the southern African countries of Botswana and Namibia."One thing that my husband and I loved about Botswana are wide open spaces with clean and clear air. We enjoyed going camping, observing the wildlife and nature around us" she said. Although Lwin has spent her childhood in the hot and humid parts of Asia, she said that she enjoyed the dry and hot climate of Botswana and 'the beauty of the desert'. She shared that while in the country, she learned to appreciate the oral history of the people, poetry, choral groups and traditional dancing. While she is not much of a 'meater', she enjoyed seswaa, pounded meat.
Khin-Sandi Lwin was appointed by the UN Secretary General as UN Resident Coordinator and as UNDP Resident Representative to Botswana in February 2008. Prior to the appointment, Lwin served as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Namibia, a post she held since 2001. She brought to Botswana her wealth of experience in HIV/AIDS policy and programme management in a wide range of development issues.
Lwin brought with her personal experiences in human resource development and women's leadership development. Prior to her Botswana and Namibia assignments, Lwin served in Asia, including in Indonesia from 1996-2000 as Deputy UNICEF Representative and Senior Programme Officer. She also served with UNICEF in India, the Sudan and Bangladesh with shorter assignments in Thailand, Pakistan and at Headquarters in New York.She holds a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Politics and Modernisation from John Hopkins University, Washington DC, and a Bachelor of Science in International Politics, law and Organisation from Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA.Lwin is a citizen of Burma and is married with two children.She will now move on to be UNICEF Representative in Barbados covering the Eastern Caribbean countries.