CHAPADONGO LUNGU, New York – ZAMBIA seeks to embark on a new era of development with renewed vigour and focus, President Lungu has told the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

In what looked like a dress rehearsal for his maiden speech scheduled for tomorrow, President Lungu outlined the country’s multi-dimensional development plan that integrates sustainable development goals that the global gathering is putting into motion.

Addressing the General Assembly on the post 2015 development agenda on Saturday, Mr Lungu said Government will approach development in 2016 within the spirit of “leaving no-one behind”.

He reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to embracing a common development agenda, which will help enhance development partnerships among UN member states.

He said Zambia acknowledges and appreciates the input from important developmental processes that have contributed to the success of the new development agenda.

This year marks the end of the millennium development goals (MDGs) and ushers in the SDGs that seek to tackle every aspect of human development.

“Coincidentally for Zambia, the SDGs and the post 2015 development agenda have come at a time when the country is developing its seventh national development plan. This gives us greater latitude to effectively domesticate the various provisions of these global initiatives,” Mr Lungu said.

He said Zambia has undertaken consultations with various stakeholders with a view to putting into context the fundamental provisions agreed upon by member states.

“We are glad to note that SDGs have brought out a number of development issues such as maternal health, poverty, gender equality, water and sanitation, land degradation, climate change, among others that Zambia is determined to confront in the post 2015 era,” Mr Lungu said.

The President reiterated Zambia’s commitment to ensuring the use of evidence-based priority setting and targeted mechanisms with a view to achieving inclusive socio-economic development.

He thanked the secretary-general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, for his unwavering commitment to nurturing consensus of member states on SDGs.

The President also thanked Pope Francis for his “candid and inspiring” remarks on the need for nations to take seriously issues of climate change and protection of the environment for sustainable development.

He, however, noted that Zambia, being a least developed and landlocked developing country, will require  support in completing the “unfinished business” of the MDGs, especially in education, health, water and sanitation, gender equality, agriculture and science and technology.

He said Zambia is committed to instituting strategies that would promote environmentally sustainable socio-economic development aimed at proactively addressing employment creation opportunities, particularly, for the youth and women in order to reduce poverty.

He said Zambia recognises the importance of mobilising resources domestically and internationally for development and that development assistance and the foreign direct investment continues to play an important role in fostering sustainable development.

He called for peace for SDGs to be achieved and said Zambia has been actively engaged in peace-keeping missions, particularly in the Central African Republic and Sudan.

He sought the support of developed countries to help capacity-building of Zambian troops so that they are better equipped to carry out the assignments.

Zambia, he said, sees counter-terrorism initiatives as critically important in preserving peace and stability.

He committed the country to ensuring that “we curb this scourge”.