Minister of National Development Planning Hon Alexander Chiteme says the 2020 Human Development Report is significant because it has brought to the fore the need to redefine human development.
Speaking during the Launch of the Global and Human Development Report 2020, Hon. Chiteme said the year 2020 saw the novel Corona virus threatening to reverse decades of development milestones achieved everywhere, including in Zambia.
He noted that the report highlights the need to move beyond seeking to solve discreet problems with singular solutions, and connect the dots and equip to navigate complex, interconnected social and ecological systems.
“The need for this is illustrated by the covid-19 pandemic, which was both created and has been maintained by planetary and social imbalance” he said.
“It is further proposed that we now find ourselves in a new geological age, the ‘’Anthropocene era’’ or “age of the humans’’. This is an era in which human activity is shaping the planet, to a greater extent than the planet is shaping human activity”.
Hon.Chiteme said the pressures humans are collectively putting on our planetary systems, the pressures that created the Anthropocene are manifested not just as climate change and biodiversity loss, but in pollution, ocean acidification, land degradation and many others.
He noted that the report makes it clear that the planetary and social imbalances being faced globally are a threat to every country, and that human development that is not in balance with the planet is not really development at all.
Hon. Chiteme added that the report also calls for a renewed commitment to and investment in multilateralism, with better monitoring and enforcement so that the actions of a few countries do not limit the choices of all.
He stressed that the Anthropocene forces countries to recognize that it is not enough to look at planetary imbalances in silos, hence the need to look at challenges as interdependent and make systemic changes collectively.
“As we consider undertaking these systemic changes, we must make a choice to deploy technology as an equalising force. This requires governments and other investors to think much longer term by investing in new technologies to make them competive,” he said.
He said this is also true of many nature-based solutions such as solar the real challenge is to take them to scale.
Hon. Chiteme further explained that Zambia’s human development index value for 2019 is 0.584, putting the country in the medium human development category and at position 146 of the 189 countries and territories.
He noted that Between 1990 and 2019, Zambia’s HDI value increased from 0.421 to 0.584, an increase of 38.7 percent. In the same period, life expectancy at birth increased by 14.6 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.5 years, expected years of schooling increased by 4.0 years; and the gross national income per capita increased by about 65.0 percent.
“These results corroborate the achievements the country has registered in the various socio- economic and environmental domains as well as those highlighted in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) mid-term review and the 2020 Zambia voluntary national review.
He said despite the progress made in the country, there is still need to do more if Zambia is to attain the set objectives outlined in the vision 2030.
Hon Chiteme further said human activity can harm nature, but it can also regenerate it, therefore the challenge is to create and sustain positive cycles while preventing and ending negative spirals by focusing on three mechanisms for collective change that include, Social norms and values, Incentives and regulations among others.
He said government is committed to exploring these new frontiers in order to build a more resilient and sustainable Zambia.
The Minister said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary in charge of Development Cooperation, Monitoring and Evaluation Trevor Kaunda.