President Hakainde Hichilema says Zambia’s efforts in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is being hindered by the continued raging effects of the Covid 19 pandemic and global instability arising from conflicts.
President Hichilema said his administration is working very hard to ensure that it achieves the SDGs set out by the United Nations (UN) as development targets for countries to reduce poverty and improve their socio-economic conditions.
Mr Hichilema observed that attainment of SDGs has been affected by continued increase of commodity prices such as food, fuel, fertilizer among others on the global market.
President Hichilema has since called on the UN to collaborate with his administration to improve the living standards of Zambians through enhanced tailored made development assistance and partnerships.
The President said this when he received credentials from new UN Resident Coordinator for Zambia, Beatrice Mutali at State House in Lusaka yesterday.
Ms Mutali takes over from Dr Cumba Mar Gadio as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zambia.
President Hichilema congratulated Ms Mutali on her appointment and advised her not to feel alienated but feel free in Zambia and work towards the benefit of Zambians.
Mr Hichilema said it is the duty of the UN to work with all stakeholders to end raging conflicts around the world and ensure that global peace, and stability returns to enable countries focus on socio-economic development.
The President stressed the need for enhanced collaboration between the UN and Zambian government to provide development and improve the welfare of Zambians.
“Government and the UN need to work together to reduce poverty…we need to improve the standards of living of our people,” said President Hichilema.
President Hichilema urged the UN to consider supporting Zambia in the education, health and water sectors among others.
Mr Hichilema said Zambia continues to need support in the health sector especially with the Covid 19 vaccinations which his administration has increased from around 5 percent to about 30 per cent.
He said his administration is determined to improve water reticulation for Zambians by investing in the sector to provide safe drinking water.
President Hichilema pointed out that Zambia has made strides in attaining the SDG of universal education through its free education agenda which is providing education for all.
The President stated that Zambia remains committed to the Paris Agreement on addressing and tackling global climate change.
President Hichilema said his creation of a ministry of green economy speaks volume about his administration’s desire to address climate and environmental matters.
He assured the new UN Resident Coordinator that his administration will not relent on the corruption fight and that there will be sacred cows as everything will be done within the provisions of the law.
President Hichilema said his administration has worked to ensure that the rule of law and order is restored in society and is now striving to ensure that human rights, liberties and other freedoms are enjoyed by all Zambians.
He pointed out that the UN is not a foreign organization but one that Zambia has a part and share due to her membership to the global body.
And presenting her letter of credence and recall of her predecessor, Ms Mutali congratulated President Hichilema on his election as Zambia’s seventh President.
Ms Mutali commended President Hichilema for maintaining political stability and peace in the country following peaceful elections and transition which the world can draw lessons from.
The UN Resident Coordinator said President Hichilema’s efforts to restructure the country’s debt and restore the economy is commendable and that her office will coordinate all UN agencies to deliver necessary development support.
Ms Mutali described relations between Zambia and the UN at national and global level as excellent.
She said the UN is undertaking reforms aimed at repositioning the global body’s development agenda and system through the attainment of the SDGs by 2030.
Ms Mutali said the UN system in Zambia has formulated and aligned its development cooperation under the UN framework 2023 to 2027 to Zambia’s 8th National Development plan.
“The UN will ensure to work towards achieving of goals under the 8 th National Development Plan,” said Ms Mutali.
She said the UN will support President Hichilema’s administration in its quest for good governance, rule of law, human rights, HIV prevention, decentralization and disaster preparedness among others.
Ms Mutali said the UN remains committed to supporting Zambia’s free education policy and ensure that the education sector is transformed to meet the development needs of Zambians and the country.
She invited President Hichilema to attend a planned summit on education and the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP 27 summit to be held in Egypt later this year.
The presentation of credentials was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Stanley Kakubo and senior State House and Ministry officials.