Remarks by Ms. Janet Rogan, UN Resident Coordinator at the Launch of the 7th National Development Plan

HE Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia

Her Honour Mrs Inonge Wina, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia

Hon Mr Lucky Mulusa, Minister for National Development Planning

Honourable Ministers present

Secretary to the Cabinet, Permanent Secretaries and senior government officials

Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Heads of UN Agencies, International Organisations,

Civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, youth representatives, Private sector,

Media,

Distinguished guests,

 

I am honoured to be invited to speak as UN Resident Coordinator at this launch of the 7th National Development Plan (7NDP). As Zambia's global development partner, my job today is to weigh this 7NDP against the global sustainable development agenda and standards, and consider the prospects for its implementation.

Revolutionary

The Strategic Vision (Volume 1) being launched today sets an innovative, ambitious, transformative direction for Zambia. It lives up to the revolutionary aspirations of the SDGs which, indeed, Zambia helped to design. Zambia is one of the first countries to produce a new national development plan since the SDGs were agreed in 2015 and is thus a trailblazer.

 

Global goals and standards

The UN in Zambia has supported government to analyse the Strategic Vision against the SDGs to make sure that the plan to implement it (which will be 7NDP Volume 2) is fully aligned to the SDGs.

 

We have also analysed the other regional and global commitments the country is obliged to integrate: the African Union Agenda 2063 (whose goals greatly overlap with the global SDGs with the main differences relating to regional issues); Rio+ and the Paris Agreement on climate change (of which Zambia is a strong supporter); and the Sendai Agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction (where even a country like Zambia, blessed to be rarely hit by major natural disasters, can find relevant goals in a region where others are not so fortunate).

 

I am pleased to inform you, Your Excellency, that the process underway in Zambia to transform national development through the SDGs and the other goals is of very high quality indeed and, with your permission, we would like to share it as best practice with other countries globally, for their own national planning processes. I am particularly pleased to see the emphasis on good governance and a specific Technical Working Group on human rights, addressing SDG16. The UN commits to working closely with all partners in this working group. It is another innovation to be shared with other countries.

 

Innovative

It is the job of the elected government of the day to lead the national planning process on behalf of the people. Of course, leading does not and cannot mean doing it all alone and I am pleased to note significant innovations in partnership and outreach that are embedded in the new approach.

 

The sustainable development agenda recognises that no government can deliver the complexity of the SDGs alone and calls for a new concept of partnership that includes the public sector and the private sector, the UN, the international financial institutions, bilateral partners investing their overseas development assistance, civil society, academia, communities. This 7NDP fully reflects this new global concept of partnership that will of necessity bring new ways of working, breaking silos, requiring multi-sectoral approaches, reaching right down into communities for their participation, innovating to secure new sources of financing while improving domestic revenues.  It takes courage to face the complexities of global sustainable development and bring them effectively down to the national level. I would like to commend the Honourable Ministers of National Development Planning and Finance, and their teams, for doing just that.

 

High standards: Inclusivity and Leave No-one Behind

Today's launch is just the starting point. A plan is for implementing and implementing well. This must be a plan that Leaves No-one Behind. All people in all communities across the country must be able to find themselves in the implementation of this plan, even in the famous Dundumwezi.

 

Your Excellency, we have all viewed with a sense of disbelief the splits and partisanship that have for some years been emerging in mature democracies around the world, affecting their global commitments, and driving people and political parties into taking extreme positions at opposite ends of the spectrum. We are not immune to this trend even in Zambia. But, here in Zambia, I say to all sides that it is time to remove that divide. Taking sides is for election campaigns. Once a government is in place, it is time for hard work.

 

The 7NDP being launched today is the fruit of hard work by the government that has been in place under HE President Lungu since 13 September 2016. It is the national agenda for Zambia. It is now the basis for prioritisation and expenditure of national revenues and resources. Government has three arms: the executive cannot deliver this complex agenda alone. The legislature has a particularly heavy responsibility. All those who were granted the responsibility by the electorate to represent them in Parliament must play their part, and must be able fully to play their part, whatever their party allegiance, in holding the executive accountable; in providing checks and balances; and in providing good quality, properly scrutinised legislation through which the judiciary can service the governance of the country in the interests of the people.

 

Your Excellency, the slogan One Zambia One Nation has served this country as a beacon, a guiding light, ever since independence. In the interests of One Zambia One Nation, I humbly suggest to all sides that it is time to rise above partisanship and division because it does not serve the greater interest of the people. We must each set aside our own interest and think of theirs. This 7NDP is the agenda. It must be the basis for peaceful, respectful national dialogue. Just as it is the job of the leadership of the country to create the space for that peaceful, respectful national dialogue, it is equally the responsibility of all others to step into that space to chart the way forward peacefully and respectfully, together. The UN stands ready to support such a peaceful, respectful national dialogue.

 

Your Excellency, Zambia truly remains a peaceful and democratically stable country despite all its challenges. Yet peace and stability can never be taken for granted. The people in this country need this 7NDP and its promises to start to transform all the inequalities they suffer, through diversifying the economy; upgrading tourism; modernising agriculture; expanding the scope of mining beyond the mainstay of copper; diversifying energy production. And investing in improving the people themselves - their education, health, good nutrition and clean water, their lives in sustainable well-planned rural and urban communities. With a population reaching 15 million, we have 15 million reasons to leave partisanship and division behind, so we can get on with leaving none of those 15 million behind.

 

Your Excellency, I commend the drafters of this 7th National Development Plan under your leadership, with Her Honor the Vice President and your Ministers. And I congratulate you and your government for again leading the way, and keeping your promise to localise the SDGs through the 7th National Development Plan.

 

Thank you.