The new Resident Representative (RR) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Zambia, Mr. Lionel Laurens, who has assumed his role, reiterated UNDP’s commitment to remain a trusted development partner of the Government of the Republic of Zambia to support the achievement of sustainable development goals and prosperity for all by 2030 during the presentation of his credentials to the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Malanji (MP) on 10th October 2019.
Impressed with Zambia’s socio-economic progress, peace and stability, Mr. Laurens said, “it is an honour and privilege for me to have been appointed as UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia. UNDP remains a committed and trusted partner to the government and the people of Zambia to achieve the objectives of the 7NDP and its vision of becoming a prosperous nation and attain SDGs by 2030. We stand ready to work with Government to address the remaining development challenges such as increasing resilience to climate change, reducing poverty, leaving no-one behind and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women”.
On governance, Mr. Laurens, said that UNDP’s global expertise in assisting countries to strengthen institutions and build democracy will be customized to the local context with the Government of Zambia according to the needs.Mr. Laurens also underscored that Zambia’s peace and stability since independence, practice of tolerance and living in harmony with its neighbours is coherent with the values of the United Nations (UN).
In response, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Zambia is a country that believes in democratic tenets and is a constitution-led democracy. He also said that Zambia was identified to host the SDGs Regional Office.
“As chair of the region SDG. Zambia is hosting the SADC regional office. We are all committed to ensuring that we attain our 2030 achievements. That can only be done by collaboration with stakeholders like the UN. Coordination of this office in partnership with UNDP will be very important”, said the honourable Minister.
With gender equality as an important sector of concern for Zambia, Honourable Malanji (MP) said that government is working with the Government of Canada in the area of women in peace-keeping bearing in mind that Zambia has over one thousand peace-keepers in Central Africa Republic with a good number of females involved.
Mr. Lionel Laurens has worked for UNDP for close to 14 years. He was Country Director of UNDP in Guinea, West Africa since 2015. He served in Sierra Leone from 2014 till 2015 as UNDP’s Head of Programmes and supported in reprogramming its interventions to respond to the Ebola virus disease outbreak.
From 2008 till 2014, he was the Inclusive Growth and Area Based Development Cluster Team Leader for UNDP Iraq. He managed a portfolio of programmes focusing on local governance and service delivery, economic recovery, poverty reduction and institutional development. He spearheaded an innovative programme with SHELL Iraq, which focused on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) development, vocational training and community empowerment.
Earlier, he worked in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2008 as UNDP Executive Manager of the National Area Based Development Programme of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, engaging with Afghan communities to rebuild rural infrastructures, deliver basic services and promote economic development. During his tenure, he led the process of formulating inclusive and participatory provincial socio-economic development plans in all 34 provinces, which articulated and reconciled grass-root level needs and priorities at the sub-national level with provincial and regional opportunities and resources.
From 2002 to 2005, he contributed to launch the Community Driven Development Poverty Reduction Fund in Laos as Senior Technical Advisor supported by the World Bank whose main objective was to build capacity and empower villages in poor districts to plan, manage and implement their own public investments in a decentralized and transparent manner.
Between 1997 and 2002, he cooperated with the Laotian Government, ILO and UNDP in developing adapted participatory and integrated planning approaches and methodologies in remote mountainous areas.
Mr. Laurens started his career in development twenty-five years ago, working with a number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on a variety of humanitarian issues in Cambodia, Haiti, Georgia and Liberia.
Lionel holds a Master of Engineering and Management from the French Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers, and an MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility at Ashridge Business School, UK.
A citizen of France, Lionel is married and has one child.