Zambia: Nation Keen to Fight Poverty

ZAMBIA will implement strategies and policies that will promote sustainable development in its quest to eradicate poverty, President Michael Sata has said.

Mr Sata said in his address to the United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, that Zambia would ensure that sustainable development was implemented with the participation of its citizens.

He said sustainable development would be implemented through a green economy and policies on poverty reduction as outlined in the draft outcome document of the 'Rio+20â-' conference.

President Sata, however, regretted the "hazy" commitments shown by member States and the partners on the means of implementing resolutions of the conference which also marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

"Nevertheless, Zambia continues to implement sustainable development strategies as outlined in the country's national development plans.

"I am confident that the experience and discussions of this conference as well as the outcome document will form the mainstream of green economies across many different sectors," the President said.

He admitted that Zambia had grappled with finding a balance of economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability.

He said this was due to the high poverty levels in rural areas where people totally depended on the forest and environment for their livelihood without any means of mitigation against their actions on the environment.

Mr Sata said despite the gloomy 60.5 per cent of people living in poverty in Zambia, the Government would work with the private sector, civil society and international organisations, as well as its cooperating partners to mainstream sustainable development.

Zambia has recorded an improved economic growth averaging 5.6 per cent in the past decade despite the high levels of poverty.

Mr Sata reaffirmed Zambia's commitment to collaborating and working with the UN and its member States towards enforcing a coherent approach to building better and sustained development for all.

The President said Zambia had set its conference expectations of "the future we want" with high consideration and priority on tackling poverty through socially inclusive economic growth.

This would also be done through sustainable employment, renewable energy for all and ensuring food security, which all anchored on the background of protecting the environment.

The President told the conference attended by around 100 Heads of State and Government and more than 50,000 delegates that the variance between what Zambia had expected and what was ultimately in the draft outcome document demonstrated a spirit of multilaterialism.

"The Rio+20 conference should not be viewed as an end in itself but will indeed lead to the future we want," President Sata said.

He called on the UN leadership of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to continue fostering the spirit of multilaterialism to ensure the successful implementation of sustainable development by all.

Earlier, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa urged the conference participants to leave Rio having made tangible commitments and a renewed global paradigm of sustainable development "for the future we want", the conference theme. -

ZANIS

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