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Zambia 2014 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

HRH Haakon Magnus, Crown Prince of Norway, on Zambia's progress in meeting the UN's Millennium Development Goals, and the results of his visit to the country in 2013.

HRH Haakon Magnus
BIOGRAPHY
HRH Crown Prince Haakon was educated at the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy and later obtained a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkley. He joined the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and completed its trainee program for diplomats in 2001. He went on to receive a Master’s in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), specializing in international trade and African development. He carries out a wide variety of official engagements in Norway, is the patron of a host of organizations, and was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Programme.

The UN, Norway, and Zambia have enjoyed cordial relations since Zambia's independence in 1964. From the beginning Norway provided political and economic support to Zambia as a frontline state in the struggle against apartheid, minority rule, and colonialism in neighboring countries.

Still today, Zambia is among the main partners of Norway's development program, and we would also like to contribute in Zambia's efforts to collect more and correct taxes from its mineral wealth. Both Zambia and Norway are also looking "beyond aid"—to economic trade and investments, especially in hydropower and clean energy.

Norway continues to be a strong and proud supporter of the UN, both globally and here in Zambia. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are our collective promise to the world's most vulnerable on some of the world's most difficult development challenges.

We are fast approaching the MDG deadline of 2015, and we need bolder policies, and bigger partnerships and resources to ensure an accelerated progress to meet the goals.

And that's not the end of it; they must shape the “Future We Want" beyond 2015. The Future We Want is an initiative from UN that engages all nations more than ever before in a more inclusive conversation, where the creativity and energies from communities across the world have been heard and felt clearly. We must all ask; what kind of a world do we want for our children, for ourselves, and for the world community? We have to seize the moment and make the changes needed, today.

So I am very much delighted to know that young Zambians have been pro-actively part of this process of defining the world we want beyond 2015. Development is about people, it is about expanding opportunities and choices. It does not surprise me that Zambia—like many other African nations—has had robust economic growth in the past few years.

I am also happy to learn that the country has witnessed significant progress toward achieving some of its MDG targets, with 94% of children—both boys and girls—going to primary school. I hope we don't stop there, but that Zambia pushes ahead to ensure these children complete school and go on to receive a high quality secondary education.

Over 90% of one-year-olds are immunized against measles and close to 80% of the population with advanced HIV infection have access to antiretroviral medicines (ARVs), while the age-old killers like malaria and tuberculosis are being addressed head-on.

During my visit to Zambia in 2013, I visited the Health Centre and District Hospital in Chongwe, together with the First Lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba. We met and talked with the medical staff and the patients receiving mean cell hemoglobin (MCH), ARV therapy (ART), and tuberculosis care services. One can indeed see the efforts being made to invest in public health services and to improve drugs, testing, counseling, and laboratory services so that more people can access and benefit from these facilities.

And I am very happy to see the role that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) plays in partnership with you to make this happen.

In my conversations with the senior leadership of the country, including the Vice-President, Dr. Guy Scott, and a number of ministers, it was clear that they are focused on how to ensure that the impressive economic gains Zambia has made, translates into greater benefits for those more vulnerable. Whether it is for the Zambians still living in extreme poverty; for the two-thirds of children dropping out before completing secondary education; for the young mothers at risk of dying at child birth; or for the young people in search of jobs—it is indeed about putting this country's wealth to work for them.

The UN has, and will continue to have, an important role in addressing the pressing and complex issues of development —with a high priority given to better governance, a respect for human rights, and strong and resilient institutions at all levels—both globally and locally.

As a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNDP, it was a privilege to visit the country and to understand better what UNDP and the UN as a whole did there, delivering as one, to contribute with relevance and impact as this country takes great strides forward.