Zambia is proud to be a member of the Economic and Social Council and takes the responsibility of addressing the issues brought before this council. Tackling high youth unemployment and poverty is a top priority for Zambia. Cooperation and commitment is the only way these can be addressed. Zambia continues to call for social development discussions that are well crafted for the betterment of the world as a whole.
Topic A: Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion
Increasing the standard of living for families and ensuring social equality is a major priority for Zambia. Recognizing the varying poverty lines, developmental needs and societal norms and values across a region, Zambia fully supports the findings of the Ministerial Declaration of 2012 High Level Segment (UN/ECOSOC/2010). The declaration draws attention to the negative impacts of the ongoing financial and economic crisis, continuing food insecurity and the fuel crisis on the achievement of poverty and social equality. Having achieved sustained modest growth in GDP per-capita for the first time in several decades, Zambia has taken steps to address the ongoing economic and gender issues. These include services such as health and education for the poor, along with working to increase public facilities. Furthermore the government has announced plans to increase national budgetary expenditure on health, strengthen access to family planning, increasing contraceptive prevalence and scale-up implementation of integrated community case management of common diseases for women and children. Zambia recognizes that women are disproportionately affected by many of these crises and challenges and urges Member States to address the issue of gender equality, as stated by A/RES/49/587, by increasing participation of women at the decision making levels. Zambia further urges that Member States increase support for the efforts put into action through the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which presents a roadmap on how to enhance financing, strengthens policy and improves services on the ground for the most vulnerable of its people in a family; women and children. Zambia also applauds the efforts of UNICEF’s Child Protection program and further supports resolution programs that address vulnerable children and women, reduce risk of exploitation and abuse, and ensure that vulnerable households have access to child protection services. Gender equality is not the only form of social exclusion, as stated by SOC/4774, the health and social situation of older people must be respected and their needs socially included. Noting SOC/4790, which includes those with disabilities to have opportunities and be absorbed as members of the society under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN Enable), Zambia fully supports and strongly urges Member States to accelerate compliance with this resolution. Zambia also recognizes the exclusion of elderly people as a contributor to family poverty. In addressing Elderly exclusion and poverty, Zambia suggest Member State increase basic state pensions, reduce the period of qualifying years required to benefit from full state pension and decrease the qualifying years required to benefit from full state pension. Zambia further suggests that decreasing the qualifying age for claiming a state pension and cutting the tax on private pensions is a vital element in addressing elderly poverty. Fully aware that exclusion of disabled people is also discrimination, Zambia has established an Office for Disability Issues (ODI) which seeks co-production, works with disabled people to adopt their experience, and identifies problems to produce better solutions and policies that best serve the Zambian people. Zambia takes note of the African Union’s support for the rights of the disabled, through developmental programs which support and complement the national initiatives to address issues of disabled people, and argues that Member states that develop ODI should be eligible for international support. Recognizing the important role ECOSOC plays in addressing issues of Poverty and social Zambia suggest that the council reform the election of the President. Given the number of Commissions, Funds, programs and other bodies that currently fall under the UN, ECOSOC is not able to provide effective policy coordination and guidance or monitor implementation of decisions and policies with a part time President and a small support Secretariat. As a result all the reports we receive from subsidiary bodies are merely given perfunctory rather than full, meaningful consideration. Zambia strongly encourages the active involvement of partnerships in addressing issues of social exclusion , and proposes the following for ECOSOC: 1) Facilitate national education programs aimed at developing cultural and educational programs, countering discrimination, 2) Work toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 3) Encourage members to strive for greater access to essential health care and programs for the disabled, and, 4) Implement programs, which foster and enhance good educational training for the disabled.
Topic B: Strengthening Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance and Relief
Food insecurity, environmental degradation and limited government capacity to supply aid, have presented a significant task at hand for governments across the world to deal with. Zambia acknowledges notable developments, under A/RES/46/182, that have taken place in guiding humanitarian efforts to aid crises and relief assistance. In response, Zambia created a government policy called the Disaster Management Operations Manual (DMOM), which seeks to draw attention to the growing concerns of locating and assisting disaster victims. Citing the success DMOM has had, Zambia urges Member States establish their own DMOM to ensure faster response for disaster victims in their respective countries. Under the E/2012/L.11, the Economic and Social Council recalls its decision in 2012/211 to consider the theme “Working in Partnership to Strengthen Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance in a Changing World”, at the humanitarian affairs segment of its substantive session. In order to promote an increased coordination of humanitarian agencies with the UN System, the Zambia calls upon the 2008 UN Resolutions A/RES/37/5 (Strengthening of the Non-Governmental Organizations Sections of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat), A/RES/43/28 (Role of UN System in Implementing the Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening Efforts to Eradicate Poverty and Hunger, including Through the Global Partnerships for Development), and A/RES/45/36 (Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations). Through the Department for International Development (DFID), the Zambia has repeatedly shown a commitment to ongoing humanitarian relief. Zambia argues for cooperation and coordination between regional organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and all relevant UN entities in addressing humanitarian assistance and relief. Zambia approves of the cooperation between the United States through the USAID’s Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) for the humanitarian assistance provided in response to a diverse range of natural and man-made disasters that have occurred. Zambia argues that this aid along with the DMOM was paramount in reducing the impacts those disasters such as drought-induced food insecurity, disease outbreaks and other complex emergencies would have had. Recognizing the importance of building and maintaining long lasting partnerships among other international and local non-governmental groups in ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance Zambia presents a three point plan to encourage these partnerships- Invite, Assessment, and Respond. Zambia urges all member states to invite various community groups into the private sector to serve humanitarian situations more efficiently, assess all participating groups involved to ensure transparency and accountability of all work, and finally respond to a humanitarian crisis in a timely manner.
Topic C: Millennium Development Goal 2 and Increasing Access to Education
The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is established to ensure that children, who are the ones that will shape the future, were provided with a future to shape. Home to more than 6 million children under the age of 18, Zambia agrees that achieving universal primary education plays an important role in laying the foundation for future development and calls on ECOSOC to accelerate its review and coordination of the implementation of the eight Millennium Development Goals by the target date of 2015. We supported resolutions A/RES/64/140, A/RES/64/145 and which deals with improving the quality education for all children. We also endorse and applaud the efforts by the United Nations to reduce gender inequalities in schools in A/RES/63/154. Zambia supports the current UNICEF country program (2011-2015) that focuses on capacity and systems strengthening for improvement of quality of education, equity in participation of all ages particularly for girls, rural children and other excluded groups. Though Zambia has made commendable progress in increasing access to gender equality in its educated population, more than a quarter million children are out of school and 47 percent of those enrolled in school do not complete their primary school level. In response, Zambia has developed a 4 step program EQAL focused on early childhood care and development education, Quality basic education, AIDS/HIV and Life skills education. One program set up by the government, under this plan, called the Program for the Advancement of Girl and Child Education, has helped thousands of children who are disadvantaged or are met by unfortunate circumstances that interrupt their education process. Noting that poor families drop of school due to high tuition costs, lack of needed supplies and food government re-introduced free education from Grade One to Grade Seven and scrapped the mandatory school uniform to help students from poor families continue with their education without having to worry about extra costs and deployed newly trained teachers to rural schools which had previously been understaffed. Under EQAL the number of students dropping out of school due to the inability to pay school fees, lack of supplies and other reasons has significantly dropped due to the Zambian government commitment to make education accessible to all. Zambia argues that all Member States should implement EQAL policies in order to comply with the MDGs. Zambia reaffirms the Declaration on Education for All (EFA) adopted by the World Education Forum and supported by UNESCO, and further argues for coordination between organizations, such as UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank in the development of EQAL policies. Zambia also applauds the involvement of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) such as the Forum for the Advancement of Women Education in Zambia (FAWEZA), which promotes the advancement of child education and the involvement of women in education and invites further cooperation between NGOs and Member States. Education is not only a right, but also an essential tool for individuals of all ages to break the poverty cycle. Only by increasing the availability and quality of education can economic stability be achieved throughout the world. Zambia supports the wide use of Internet technology in teaching, research, and sharing of other information resources to the general population. We also encourage the public-private partnerships to mobilize resources in order to support e-learning initiatives, develop integrated e-learning curriculum to support new technologies in education and promote distance education and virtual institutions, particularly in higher education and training.