By Wallen Simwaka in New York
AFRICA does not need strong men but strong institutions and Zambia is concerned that the world has continued to witness unbridled acts of conflict, terrorism and rising levels of poverty, President Edgar Lungu has said.
And President Lungu has charged that it is not right that Africa should remain the only Continent without permanent representation on the United Nations (UN) Security Council and has demanded that the historical injustice should be corrected.
Speaking during the general debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, President Lungu said Africa’s aspirations to attain sustainable socio-economic development were being frustrated by poverty and conflicts.
The Head of State said Zambia was determined to build a just and inclusive society through the consolidation of democracy which he said was an important aspect of Africa’s political system.
President Lungu stated that Zambia as a member of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council was going to dedicate its three-year term to promoting peace and security in the region.
The President stated that it was the belief of Zambia that solutions to African problems lie in the Continent resolving its own challenges while appreciating the support the international community was rendering to the Continent.
President Lungu explained that while Zambia believed that the UN should be at the core of global governance and efforts to meet the challenges of collective peace, security and development, there was pressing need to reform the UN Security Council if it were to reflect the contemporary realities of today’s global order.
The President said Africa was urging member States including those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo of the Security Council to give due consideration to the legitimate demand from the Continent for a permanent seat on the Council.
“My government yearns for a community of nations that recognises and respects the sovereign equality of all nations in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. As UN member States, we all have positive roles to play in promoting peace and security in order to attain sustainable development of present and future generations,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu said it had become evident that climate change has had adverse impact on the growth of African economies and that Zambia had been negatively affected by altered climatic conditions which had resulted into the country’s serious electricity deficit apart from poor crop yields.
“We are, therefore, pursuing a greater energy mix through investment in alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind and geo-thermal among others.
I also wish to join other countries that are calling for the provision of adequate resources to make fully operational, the Green Climate Fund, which would greatly contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu told the UN General Assembly that Zambia like many other developing nations was faced with challenges of population growth, which he stated had created a mis-match between the growth of the youth population and their assimilation in the job market.
“Zambia has, therefore, embarked on economic infrastructure development including the construction and rehabilitation of roads, rail, bridges and airports,” the President said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has paid glowing tribute to outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for having distinguished himself as a world leader committed to addressing key global challenges such as reducing poverty and the effects of climate change.
Before delivering his speech at the UN General Assembly debate, President Lungu attended a leaders’ summit at which he told world leaders that Zambia had reserved about 1000 square kilometres of land for the resettlement of former refugees.