Hope for Zambia's Path to Sustainable Development.

These Goals focus on ending hunger, reducing poverty, improving health, providing access to quality education, promoting gender equality, ensuring clean water and sanitation, providing affordable and clean energy, ensuring that there is decent work and economic growth among others.

Commonly known as the 2030 Agenda, if they are fully attained, it will result in the well-being of all individuals, communities and citizens as a whole. In other words, if all the 17 sustainable goals are fully attained in Zambia, they will lead to sustainable development of the country. Today, as a global community, we stand at mid-point to the year 2030, which countries set as the deadline to achieve these vitally important universal, indivisible, and interconnected global development goals.

The 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report that was launched on

12 September 2023 shows that at the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world is far off track and that without urgent course correction and acceleration, humanity will face prolonged periods of crisis and uncertainty - triggered by and reinforcing poverty, inequality, hunger, disease, conflict and disaster. This has implications on countries' ability to eradicate poverty and improve people's livelihoods, economic growth and environmental protection.

Similar to many other countries, most of the targets for the SDGs in Zambia are off-track. This is due to a combination of factors including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and inadequate financing. Zambia's Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the SDGs (https://zambia.un.org/en/245569-zambias-voluntary-national-review-2023) presented during the High-Level Political Forum in New York this past July, clearly reveals the extent to which progress toward achieving the 2030 Agenda has been impacted.

For instance, under SDG 4 that seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, school closures during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted access to learning for most children, negatively impacting education outcomes in 2020 when compared to 2019. However, with the free education policy, employment of additional teachers and construction of new classrooms and review of the curriculum, there is hope that Zambia can attain this goal. Similarly, with SDG 3 on access to health, improvements in staffing levels, skilled birth attendance and the National Social Health Insurance Scheme coverage...

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