PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu yesterday criticised the United Nations (UN), slow reaction to calls for reform of the Security Council from most African countries, before he outlined Zambia’s challenges and interventions.
In his maiden speech to the 70th United Nations General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of heads of State and Government summit, President Lungu said Zambia was proud to be part of the world body but was concerned that the organisation was not moving with time.
“Zambia is proud to be part of the global endeavour to foster the man-date of the United Nations of promoting peace and security, respect for human rights and advancing development for all. Zambia is, however, concerned that the gears to advance the three pillars of the United Nations Charter are moving at a very slow pace, a pace with the potential of negating the gains we have achieved so far. It is therefore, important that we enhance our concerted efforts to address areas of concern in the charter,” he said.
President Lungu said he was concerned that despite Africa witnessing more conflicts in the 70 years of the existence of the United Nations than any other continent, the continent still remains excluded from decision-making in the UN Security Council where a significant part of the agenda concerns the continent.
“In 70 years of the United Nations, the global community is today more united than ever before in its quest to push boundaries for peace and security, yet it is equally if not more divided on who makes decisions on global peace and security!
“Seventy years of the United Nations has seen more conflicts in Africa, than any other continent, yet the same 70 years characterizes Africa’s absolute exclusion from decision-making in the UN Security Council where a significant part of the agenda concerns the continent,” President Lungu said.
He explained that Goal 10, of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development on reducing inequality among countries would not be achieved without eradicating the inequality among countries in the Security Council.
President Lungu said the United Nations should re-double its efforts at implementing security council reforms, and ensure that Africa took its rightful position among the community of nations and contributes equitably and effectively to global peace and security.
“In our deliberations, therefore, it is imperative that we take stock of collective successes as well as challenges of the last seven decades, in order to improve the performance of this noble organization. I am optimistic that the 70th general assembly session will set the tone for the future and meet the expectations of the international community as a whole,” he said. On the home front, president Lungu said Zambia was proud that world leaders had just adopted the world’s quintessential development blueprint of the 2030 agenda, centred on humanity, environment and peaceful societies, the core elements which would guide its implementation and supported by the principle of “leaving no one behind.
He said Zambia has been a beneficiary of various initiatives aimed at facilitating the attainment of the millennium development goals, which arose from the collective resolve of the generation of world leaders at the turn of the millennium.
President Lungu acknowledged that some of countries have continued to face serious challenges in the quest to foster development and improve the quality of life of their r people.
He said the challenges were numerous including energy shortages and the effects of climate change.
“The two are inextricably inseparable on the development agenda for countries like Zambia that rely heavily on hydro-power generation.
The changing rainfall pattern has adversely affected power generation capacities in most of our countries.
This year, Zambia is experiencing an unprecedented energy crisis that has already cost the nation dearly in terms of productivity, jobs, and revenue.
“Beyond the economic limitations, the social ramifications are equally devastating to the country. it is therefore important that much effort is exerted on mitigation strategies to climate change,” President Lungu said.