United Nations Under-Secretary General and UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspa. Sunday arrived in Livingstone, Zambia for a four day official visit.
On arrival, Grynspan said she was impressed to see the high rate of sustained economic growth in Zambia complemented by the high price of copper and sound economic policy of the government.
She further said the achievement of the MDGs in Zambia would depend on positive performance in pro-poor economic policy and also on rapid improvements in the equitable delivery of basic services.
The Associate Administrator, while in Livingstone, will visit national heritage sites and UNDP-supported development work at the community level and in schools on human rights and civic education, empowering people to be active in decision-making processes that affect their lives.
Grynspan said that UNDP has been actively supporting Zambia in areas such as economic and political governance, ensuring gender equality and women empowerment, and environment sustainability and mitigating effects of climate change.
The Associate Administrator explained that UNDP promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women as a cross-cutting issue, as no country can realize its development aspirations if neglecting the needs and aspirations of half of its productive population. “I will be meeting and discussing with women leaders to see how best we can work together”, she added
Grynspan informed that she would take part in an MDG dialogue in Lusaka on 04 May to discuss how countries like Zambia with tremendous potential in agriculture, tourism and mining can accelerate progress towards the MDGs by 2015.
This dialogue is expected to foster a common understanding on where progress has been achieved and must be sustained, and sharing of international good practice in policies and programmes, that address lagging MDG targets in areas such as the rate of poverty reduction, maternal mortality and environmental sustainability.
In doing so, the UN system in Zambia brings a particular focus on addressing issues of urban-rural disparities and gender inequality, in support of government efforts in this regard, so that the gains along the MDGs are inclusive and improve the lives of the poorer and most vulnerable households.
“A key message I will carry throughout all my meetings is to ask if the MDGs are reaching all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable in the country” Grynspan underscored.
UNDP works closely with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and Cooperating Partners to support the electoral process in Zambia. “I will also have discussions with our national and international partners on the preparations for the upcoming general elections. The UN looks to Zambia to demonstrate a “best practice” in free, fair and credible elections” said the Associate Administrator.
Grynspan’s visit to Zambia is her first visit to the Africa region in her current position. The purpose of the Associate Administrator’s visit is to see firsthand the evolving development situation in Zambia, and to understand the role and contribution of UNDP to Zambia as part of the UN system which is moving towards Delivering as One.
UNDP delivered grant assistance amounting to $68.7 million to Zambia between 2006 and 2010 to support the implementation of the Fifth National Development Plan (2006-2010).
UNDP’s recently signed five year Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP 2011-2015) which is aligned to and supports the SNDP will focus on support to HIV & AIDS, governance and gender, and climate change and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods programmes. This falls under the UN Development Assistance Framework for Zambia (UNDAF 2011-2015) through which the UN system will deliver over a $100 million to Zambia in this new cycle.
The UNDP Associate Administrator is expected to meet with President Rupiah Banda, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Health, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ); women leaders from the private sector and civil society; Cooperating Partners, the UN Country Team in Zambia, and other development stakeholders.