Engagement success! Namibia accedes to the UN Biological Weapons Convention

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namibia engagement

SfC German member Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC) concludes two-year engagement dialogue successfully


Namibia officially becomes the 184th state to join the UN Biological Weapons Convention, which has been in place since 1971. Bank für Kirche und Caritas, German founding member of SfC, has been in close exchange with several high-ranking Namibian State representatives and diplomats since its engagement dialogue launched in February 2020 in order to persuade the country to quickly join the Convention. 

The background to BKC’s efforts was their addition of the criterion “non-ratification of the UN Biological Weapons Convention” to the exclusion criterion for investments in government bonds at the time. Due to Namibia’s positive positioning on basic sustainability criteria, such as “political rights and civil liberties” and ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, BKC saw an opportunity to enter into an engagement dialogue with government agencies instead of divesting from Namibian government bonds. After two years of engagement dialogue, BKC’s plan proved successful. 

With effect from 25 February 2022, Namibia became a party to the UN Biological Weapons Convention. At an event in May this year, Namibian Member of Parliament Hamunyera Hambyuka declared that Namibia is currently in the process of implementing the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) into national law. 

This extremely gratifying outcome has been driven by a wide range of actors and developments. As a sustainability investor, we are pleased that our persistent yet collaborative engagement has made a supportive contribution,” says Tommy Piemonte, Head of Sustainable Investment Research at BKC. “Various stakeholders around the UN Biological Weapons Convention have confirmed to us that we have contributed an important and unprecedented discussion point. This is because, for the first time, Namibia has been motivated by financial markets to join the convention.” 

The BKC engagement dialogue was also held on behalf of the European institutional investor network Shareholders for Change (SfC).