Zambia is signatory to the international covenants on human rights. However the country faces the challenge of domesticating and putting in place legal frameworks to support the implementation and dissemination of these human rights instruments. While reporting on the instruments is current, the recommendations of the committees have not been systematically implemented, resulting in development policies and programmes not fully reflecting the human rights, as well as service delivery particularly at decentralized levels.
As part of the implementation of decentralized governance and enhancing gender equity, the Government has approved the Decentralization Implementation Plan and the National Gender Policy. However, the implementation of the Plan will need to address capacities at the subnational level, and the legal instruments for the protection of human rights. Furthermore, Zambia has two legal systems: customary and statutory.
The former provides fewer rights to women and is based on patriarchy. Negative stereotyping, social and cultural practices, and increasing levels of gender-based violence continue to disadvantage women in the private and public arena. The country holds regular elections at presidential, parliamentary and local government levels under the management of an independent Electoral Commission. There is a need to increase confidence in the electoral process, as well as increasing participation of women as candidates. Currently, women hold only 11per cent of the seats in Parliament.
UNDP support aims to contribute to the Sixth National Development Plan goal of increasing adherence to democratic governance principles and achieving full participation of women and men in development processes including: (i)Increasing national adaptation and implementation of international commitments; (ii) Increased public accountability and participation; (iii)Supporting an enabling environment to promote gender equity and women’s empowerment; (iv)Capacity development in human resource development and management at the national and decentralized levels. The GRZ-UNDP Programme seeks to support the Government of the Republic of Zambia in meeting the development goal of promoting human rights, dignity of individual citizens and inclusive governance. The programme interventions include:
(i) increasing domestication of international conventions and protocols that Zambia has acceded to;
(ii) increase national capacity for implementing, monitoring and reporting of national plans, policies and reforms;
(iii) promoting transformational leadership and mindset change in the civil service and the community in general; and
(iv) fostering an environment that will promote greater public engagement in democratic processes and public access to information at the national and local levels.
UNDP’s partners include Government Ministries and Departments: Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice, Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution, Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Decentralization Secretariat, Local Government Association of Zambia, National Assembly of Zambia, Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Gender and Child Development, Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Lands, Zambia Law Development Commission, Judiciary, Electoral Commission of Zambia, CSOs, FBOs and Media. Cooperating Partners: European Commission, Embassy of Sweden, USAID, Irish Aid, DfID; UN Agencies: UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, ILO, IOM, and UNHCR