PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has asked the United Nations to restore the dignity of Africa, the only continent without representation on the Security Council.
Addressing the on-going 73rd UN General Assembly session in New York on Tuesday, President Lungu said, “I am coming from a continent that should be standing tall and moving towards rapid human security, economic transformation and infrastructure development.”
He said next year would mark the 40th anniversary since the item of reform of the UN Security Council was put on the agenda of the General Assembly.
President Lungu said UNGA president Maria Fernanda Espinosa had been entrusted by world leaders to lead the process of reforming the Security Council.
“We hope that you can report substantive progress by the time we mark the 40th anniversary milestone,” he said. “I wish, in this regard, to reiterate that Africa remains steadfast and united in its call for two permanent members in the Security Council with all the privileges and obligations that come with that status, and five non-permanent seats. Not only is this a matter of common decency and correction of a historical injustice, but it is also a matter of restoring the dignity of Africa, which currently remains the only continent that does not have representation in the permanent category of the Security Council. It is in this vein that we also support the call for a non-permanent seat for Small Island Developing Countries whose challenges are so unique that it is imperative that their perspective be incorporated as a new dimension to the UN’s approach to international peace and security.”
President Lungu said a lot should have changed in Africa since the formation of the United Nations 73 years ago.
“Yet until recently, Africa’s economic structure has changed very little,” he said. “The effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the African Agenda 2063, therefore, present huge opportunities for Africa to revitalise its growth and further accelerate its transformation, as both frameworks seek to achieve inclusive growth, sustainable development, peace and security for the continent.”
President Lungu said the development path of Zambia guided by its “Vision 2030”, through the implementation of the 7th National Development Plan, was intended to make the nation a prosperous middle-income one by 2030.
“To achieve this, however, we must overcome many hurdles. Our economy, as with many other developing economies, largely depends on primary commodities for its economic growth and has not been spared by the negative impacts of declining commodity prices on the international market,” he said. “My government is, nevertheless, committed and determined to overcome this challenge by creating a diversified and resilient economy driven, among others, by agriculture, tourism and the energy sectors and supported with a robust infrastructure development and conducive policy frameworks.”
President Lungu said his government also recognised that to deliver inclusive and equitable development to the citizens, “we need strengthened mutually beneficial partnerships in the context of South-South Cooperation and with our development partners.”
He said regional and development cooperation therefore, remained crucial to unlocking diversified growth.
President Lungu said Zambia was dedicated to the implementation of the Africa Union Agenda 2063, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals, including on climate change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development.
“My government has consequently, been making progress in infrastructure development as a key enabler and for better capitalisation of the broad-based recovery and improved outlook of the economy,” he said. “Infrastructure development in road construction and rehabilitation, expansion and construction of hydro-power stations, as well as, diversification of energy to renewable energy such as solar, the rehabilitation of railway lines, construction and modernisation of airports have been some of the key programmes my government has recently undertaken.”
President Lungu said his administration was further implementing several policy and structural reforms under the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme (ESGP), which included measures on improving domestic resource mobilization through modernization and automation of revenue collection processes, enhancing of tax incentives, and broadening the tax base of the economy.
“Whilst we pursue these goals, we are mindful of the challenges in financing development, as well as the declining resources and official development assistance, especially to countries in special situations such as LDCs and LLDCs. We, therefore, call upon all partners to work with us, and ensure that together, we effectively implement the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
President Lungu said the world had continued to witness unprecedented large movements of refugees and migrants, resulting in political, social-economic and human rights ramifications in a number of countries.
He said large movements of refugees and migrants were too vast for one country to handle alone.
President Lungu said thousands of refugees and migrants continued to die every day while looking for safety and dignity in other countries.
“We stress the importance of collaborative efforts of the global community in order to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants and refugees,” he said. “We believe that if well managed, migration has the potential to contribute to the social-development of our countries, both countries of origin and destination. We, therefore, welcome the convening of the Conference on International Migration this December, and look forward to the adoption of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the first of its kind.”
President Lungu said his government was committed to its international obligations, under the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees.
“Under these instruments, Zambia takes its responsibility to offer protection to those who seek asylum seriously and will continue to play a meaningful role in assisting people affected by conflict situations, human rights violations and other threats to their wellbeing,” said President Lungu.