The Minister of National Development Planning Hon. Alexander Chiteme, MP, says the Government is committed to exploring new frontiers to build a more resilient and sustainable Zambia.
Mr. Chiteme said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary in charge of Development Cooperation, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Trevor Kaunda during the launch of the 2020 Human Development Report in Lusaka today.
The Minister said the Human Development Report provides useful insights for the formulation of public policy and other development agenda for countries, including Zambia.
“The 2020 Human Development report is of even more significance in that it is has brought to the fore a need to redefine human development. In 2020 we saw one novel virus threatening to reverse decades of development milestones achieved everywhere, including in Zambia,” Mr. Chiteme said. “The report highlights the need to move beyond seeking to solve discreet problems with singular solutions. Instead, we must connect the dots and equip ourselves to navigate complex, interconnected social and ecological systems. The need for this is illustrated by the covid-19 pandemic, which was both created and has been maintained by planetary and social imbalance.”
Highlighting some of the key message in the report, the Minister said while human activities could harm nature, they could also regenerate it.
“Our challenge is to create and sustain positive cycles while preventing and ending negative spirals by focusing on three mechanisms for collective change: social norms and values – we need to establish new norms that give greater weight to planetary balance and sustainability; incentives and regulation – these are to be used to promote or deter action, helping bridge the gap between behaviors and values.”
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Zambia Resident Representative Lionel Laurens said the UN in Zambia and globally, would continue to champion a human rights-based approach to sustainable development which recognizes that transforming our economies and societies must have equity, justice and human rights at its centre.
“Given the deep interconnection of planetary and social imbalances noted in the report, I want to emphasize today the importance of ensuring justice, equality, and human rights as part of this process,” said Mr. Laurens.
Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Coumba Mar-Gadio said the Human Development Report provides timely theoretical and empirical reference materials for the development of country analysis and new cooperation framework that will form the basis of the UN’s support within the next programmatic cycle.
“This report’s findings and recommendations provide ‘food for thought’, data and background information to inform the design of policies towards sustainable development. The United Nations remains committed to work with the various partners, the government and beyond, on advancing sustainable development in the Republic of Zambia,” said Dr. Gadio.
Zambia’s Human Development Index value for 2019 is 0.584, which put the country in the medium human development category, positioning it at 146 out of 189 countries and territories.
The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.