Remarks by Ms Janet Rogan, UN Resident Coordinator at the Reception to celebrate the 71st Anniversary of the United Nations

The UN Charter is an exceptional achievement in the history of humanity; it is the origin of the United Nations’ legitimacy.

Remarks by Ms Janet Rogan, UN Resident Coordinator

At the Reception to celebrate the 71st Anniversary of the United Nations Lusaka, Zambia, Wednesday 19 October, 2016

 

Guest of Honour,

Mr Ed Cain, Vice President of Conrad J Hilton Foundation Honourable Ministers and senior government officials

Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and diplomatic staff Heads of UN Agencies, International Organisations, and their staff

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

Media,

Distinguished guests,

 

It is my great honour to welcome you this evening on behalf of the UN Country Team, and of course myself, to our UN Day Reception. This day is for all of us, citizens of every member state, and those who are observer states, to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the United Nations. When the United Nations was born after the Second World War only 51 states signed the UN Charter on 24 October 1945. Today we are 194 member states, and each one has pledged to uphold the values enshrined in the Charter and elaborated in many international conventions and treaties since.

 

The UN Charter is an exceptional achievement in the history of humanity; it is the origin of the United Nations’ legitimacy; and it is as relevant as it was 71 years ago. Its purpose was reaffirmed several times over in 2015, particularly through the agreement on the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals, which apply to all states developed and developing alike, and through the Climate Change Summit which recognised for the first time that climate change is a rights issue. I am happy to note that enough member states, including Zambia, have now signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to enable it to come into force, in record time, on 4 November this year. The UN in Zambia will support the country as it works to meet its national obligations under the Paris Agreement.

 

A new Secretary-General has been designated by the member states - Antonio Guterres - to take over in 2017. The role of the Secretary-General in guiding the global mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights needs the support and cooperation of every nation. In this, Zambia has had an exemplary record since joining the UN family on UN Day in 1964, and this continues today. Currently, Zambia is contributing more than 960 men and women to peacekeeping operations around the world. These include police, military experts and troops. The largest contingent is serving in MINUSCA in the Central African Republic. We are grateful for Zambia's many continuing contributions to international peace and security.

 

Zambia has also been a committed leader in shaping the new sustainable development agenda. HE President Lungu in his address at the opening of parliament took as his theme: "building an integrated multi-sectoral approach to

 

development that enhances inclusiveness in development without leaving anyone behind”. This is a true localisation of the global themes of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. That Agenda 2030 aims to be transformational and the 17 SDGs are universal, integrated and indivisible. We cannot pick and choose between them. The bottom line for sustainable development is "Leave No-one Behind". We can do that only by taking an ambitious multi-sectoral approach, by listening to the people and their priorities, and by being truly inclusive. The UN in Zambia will continue to support the sustainable development priorities of the Zambian people and their government through the 7th National Development Plan and under our overarching legal framework of the Zambia-United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework.

 

There can be no sustainable development without peace and security. Zambians can once again be proud to have undergone another peaceful democratic transition through the 2016 general elections. The elections were hard fought and, at times, tense. There were tragic incidents of politically-motivated violence. Nonetheless, election-related challenges have been channelled through the courts not the streets and the country has remained stable. Stability depends on the quality of political leadership during and after elections. Now is the time to reach out and work to heal the rifts shown by polarised voting patterns. The House of Chiefs and traditional leaders around the country have taken a commendable and unified position in encouraging peace and unity following the elections. I urge the government to ensure that the 7th National Development Plan and, indeed, the 2017 budget, make clear that all areas of the country will find their place in national development priorities, regardless of voting pattern.

 

Development carries a cost and the high ambitions of the SDGs carry a big price tag. The global community has acknowledged that the old ways of financing development are simply not fit for this new purpose and that we all have to think differently. In the 21st century, development is not a matter only for public funds, whether national budgets or international development assistance. The private sector can be a key investor in development and I am glad that many have joined us this evening. Innovative ways of building partnerships around shared goals and ambitions are needed to force the pace of change. Today we are demonstrating one of those innovative partnerships.

 

We are delighted to have with us a major philanthropic organisation, the Hilton Foundation, as we launch the new SDG Philanthropy Platform here in Zambia. This is a global initiative led by UNDP, the Hilton Foundation, Mastercard Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, who are also with us this evening, and Zambia is one of the first countries to adopt its own SDG Philanthropy Platform. The idea of the platform is to guide and consolidate the work of philanthropic organisations around Zambia's SDG priorities so as to maximise the effectiveness of each contribution. It will aim to bring together philanthropy, government and people so that needs are identified, prioritised and matched with resources and expertise. Deriving from their roots in the private sector, philanthropic organisations can reflect private sector characteristics of flexibility, innovation and speed in implementation. They assess and decide on risk differently from the public sector and can help bring a different dimension to decision-making and trying new approaches that can later be scaled-up if proven successful. I am proud to be introducing this new concept to Zambia and I hope that it will become a platform not only for international philanthropy but also for Zambian philanthropy. Philanthropy starts at home and I urge all those successful Zambian businesses engaged in corporate social responsibility and other philanthropic activities to consider engaging with the Platform when designing and implementing your programmes.

 

Earlier I noted the UN Secretary-General's role in guiding the global mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights. I would like to end today with a word on human rights. The Sustainable Development Agenda and the SDGs represent a global Rights Revolution. "Leave No-one Behind" are three of the most important and powerful words ever turned into a slogan. Zambia's amended 2016 Constitution, like all constitutions, is about rights. Vital work remains to be done to update the Bill of Rights which is embedded in the Constitution so that it matches the values and aspirations to non-discrimination and equal opportunity in the amended Constitution, and so that the so-called second generation of rights - the social, cultural, economic and environmental rights - can be added to the civil and political rights. Even while work towards the necessary referendum is underway, there is much that can be done through upgrading the relevant legislation and institutions to ensure the highest enjoyment of rights by the people of Zambia and I pledge the support of the entire UN in Zambia in this urgent effort.

 

On that note, I would like to propose a toast:

 

- to the health of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu; to the people of Zambia and their rights; and to Leaving No-one Behind.

 

Thank You!

UN entities involved in this initiative
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