New Report Shows Encouraging Progress towards Realization of some MDG targets in Zambia

May 7, 2013

Zambia's Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda and UNDP Resident Representative, Kanni Wignaraja at the launch of the 2013 MDGs Progress Report

Zambia’s 2013 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Progress Report shows the country has made encouraging progress on a number of MDG targets. The new report also indicates that the country is still confronted by challenges that slow the overall pace of implementation.

The Report highlights not only on how successful the Government has been in moving towards some of the goals and their associated targets, but also identifies key priority areas where progress needs to be accelerated if the targets set for 2015 are to be achieved.

“Zambia’s recent progress on many of the MDG targets has been encouraging, and we are heading in the right direction, although the country is still confronted by challenges that slow the overall pace of implementation. This is why we see the impatience often articulated by national and local leadership and civil society alike, for it is quite clear that this country can get to many more of its goals by the 2015 deadline,” said Kanni Wignaraja, UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia.

The Report highlights that extreme poverty is decreasing but at a very slow pace. Poverty has declined from 58 percent in 1991 to 42 percent in 2010 and Zambia will need significant reform and investment to meet this MDG goal of 29 percent by 2015.

It points out the gains made in providing access to treatment for HIV/AIDS including access to ARVs, halting and reversing the spread of tuberculosis and the progress made on underweight children, and gender parity in primary school enrolment as well as young adult literacy.

However, the report underlines the need to address growing inequalities across the country. “The top 10 percent of Zambians share more than half of total national income. The bottom 60 per cent share less than 14 per cent of total income,” states the Report.

The report also highlights that there is a potential to accelerate progress in terms of reducing child mortality and improving access to reproductive health care and reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. It recommends that more focused interventions are required in terms of promoting gender equality in leadership positions, dealing comprehensively with basic sanitation and reducing biodiversity loss.

The Report, which is a joint publication of the Ministry of Finance and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), was launched recently by the country’s Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka.

Launching the country’s new MDG report, Zambia’s Finance Minister, Alexander Chikwanda reaffirmed the Zambia Government’s commitment to sustaining and increasing the momentum of the progress. “If we can marshal adequate resources to invest in agriculture, we can in the medium and long-term eradicate poverty,” Mr. Chikwanda said.

The UNDP Country Office is supporting the Government of the Republic of Zambia to enhance its capacity to meet most of these goals. Support to the government includes building capacity to monitor progress of its development strategy. This involves supporting the Bureau of Statistics and statistical units at the line ministries by strengthening their capacity to collect, analyze and disseminate key economic and social data as well as building capacity in monitoring and evaluation.

Speaking prior to the launch of the Report, Wignaraja said the UN system in Zambia delivered 150 million dollars last year to support the country along its MDG journey. “We would, as would the government and peoples of Zambia, like to see accelerated progress. Achievement of the MDGs takes a social contract between government, civil society, private sector and the international community. We all signed on, and we must stand and be counted to make it happen. It is, at the end of the day, a global public good that will benefit us all,” she added.

UNDP Country Director, Viola Morgan said the UNDP is committed to supporting Zambia’s developmental agenda in areas such as ending early marriages. She said the practice could hinder development and slows the attainment of the MDGs.