By Violet Mengo
IN Senior Chief Puta’s area in Chienge district, farmers are working towards improving the way they farm through the use of machinery such as tractors.
The machines, which are communal, are intended to ensure small-holder farmers have good yields and a market for their produce.
“This will ensure farmers have food to eat and surplus to sell, thereby aiding in attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number one and two,” Senior Chief Puta says.
SDG number one aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. According to the goal, by 2030, all men and women, especially the poor and the vulnerable, need to have equal rights to economic resources.
Goal number two focuses on ensuring an end to hunger and all kinds of malnutrition.
The traditional leader said people need to take practical steps to turn SDGs into concrete action for the benefit of future generations.
Chief Puta called on traditional leaders to help promote philanthropy and get partners from the business community, individuals and other entities that can help in meeting the SDGs.
“People need to own the SDGs as they aim to improve their lives. As traditional leaders, we need to help change the mindsets of our people to feel they have the power to change their situations,” Chief Puta said.
The world has recognised that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
The SDGs – an initiative of the United Nations (UN) and officially known as ‘Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ is a set of 17 aspirational global goals with 169 targets between them.
On 25th September, 2016, 193 countries unanimously adopted a new development agenda based on the SDGs.
At the UN’s 71st anniversary held in Lusaka recently, Chief Puta said people need to be sensitised on the SDGs to come to a realisation that implementing is not for the UN alone, but everyone needs to play a part.
And to ensure success in the implementation of the SDGs, an inclusive approach has been devised which involves all stakeholders such as governments, businesses, civil society, media and ordinary citizens.
The 2030 agenda focuses on three inter-connected elements of sustainable development – economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
“For the SDGs to be sustainable, we have to ensure that they are implemented in line with the development priorities for Zambia,” Chief Puta said.
According to UNAIDS country representative Medhin Tsehaiu, what is different with the SDGs is that the goals are ambitious, while the principles are interconnected and integrated and they involve all people in the implementation process.
Dr Tsehaiu highlighted the five critical areas that the 2030 agenda is focused on as being the people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.
“We need to be concerned about the planet by ensuring prosperity for all human beings, this can only be possible when peace exists through the partnership of different stakeholders in the implementation of the goals,” Dr Tsehaiu said.
She explained that people must ensure the planet is protected from degradation by considering sustainable consumption, production and taking urgent action on climate change.
“We are determined to end poverty and hunger in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment,” Dr Tsehaiu said.
She noted that unless people live in peace with one another in an inclusive society, it will be difficult to address the high levels of inequalities in Zambia.
She called for stronger institutions and law reform to make sure the country is walking the talk in the implementation of SDGs.
“Strong data systems will also need to be in place to show us where we are and where we want to be at the end of the country implementation and the national development plans,” Dr Tsehaiu said.
And World Food Programme (WFP) Head of Programme Robert Oliver pledged WFP’s and the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s commitment to the attainment of the goals on ending poverty and hunger.
WFP’s focus is on malnutrition and stunting, which is still high in Zambia at 40 percent among children under five.
Through the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative, the focus is on bringing attention to nutritional issues by teaching people good nutrition.
FAO focuses on genetic diversity of seed by working with farmers cultivating plants and also guides on how to raise domestic animals.
Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique Alexio Musindo says ILO’s work is at the centre of people’s lives and hence the importance of SDG goals numbers eight and nine.
Goal eight calls for provision of decent work and economic growth, while goal nine aims to ensure industrialisation, innovation and infrastructure development.
Mr Musindo said no country is immune from decent work because without it, there are a lot of consequences.
“Decent work drives development, addresses issues around equality,” Mr Musindo said, adding that recent ILO research indicates that countries that do not target the decent work agenda experience inequality growth and low national growth.
For Zambia, a target of creating one million jobs is already in line with SDG number nine.
“For inclusive, sustained economic and general change in society, innovation is required, right from primary schools all the way to the work place,” he noted.
Mr Musindo said quality and reliable communication is also required in the success of the SDGs.
Zambia, he says, needs to score in the provision of decent jobs in the attainment of SDGs.
The Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity and seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.