Zambia’s progress towards meeting the goals of the 2030 Agenda has been negatively impacted by the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Hakainde Hichilema has told the United Nations (UN).
President Hichilema says the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in all the spheres of Zambia’s economy, including agriculture production, trade and supply chains.
The Head of State said the health care and education systems in Zambia like many other developing countries whose ICT was inadequate had been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Hichilema said this when he virtually addressed the76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) during the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Moment Summit.
The SDG Moment is a check-in on the status of the Sustainable Development Goals at the beginning of the Decade of Action in light of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President said there is urgent need to enhance Africa’s capacity for innovation and development in ICT infrastructure to enable developing countries, including Zambia to realise and enjoy the benefits arising from the ‘industry 4.0’.
“Since the adoption of the SDGs in 2016, Zambia made its first Voluntary National Review in 2019 and presented milestones. However, progress towards meeting the goals of the 2030 Agenda has not been without challenges. The coming of the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in all spheres of the economy. The pandemic has disrupted agriculture production, trade and supply chains,” President Hichilema said.
The President reiterated Zambia’s commitment to accelerating the implementation of interventions towards the attainment of the SDGs while at the same time recognizing the need to enhance existing coordination, improve target mechanisms and efficient allocation of resources to deliver desired results.
He said it was important countries leveraged their resources as a global community in order to advance progress for the achievement of the SDGs.
President Hichilema said nations were living in a changing dynamic environment in which interdependency and collaboration were key in finding solutions to emerging challenges such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, widening technological divide and illegal migration.
Approximately 30 to 35 Heads of State and Government that recently conducted voluntary national reviews including Zambia have been invited to make a direct contribution to the SDG Moment Summit.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint for fighting poverty and hunger, confronting the climate crisis, achieving gender equality and much more, within the next ten years. At a time of great uncertainty, the SDGs show the way forward to a strong recovery from COVID-19 and a better future for all on a safe and healthy planet.