During his ongoing trip to Zambia, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, met with Her Excellency Ms. Inonge Wina, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia. Ms. Wina expressed her appreciation to the Envoy on Youth for his work and welcomed his first official visit to the country.
Alhendawi congratulated the Government of Zambia for the successful hosting of the 3rd Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians. The Envoy on Youth called on the Government of Zambia to expand on existing spaces for meaningful youth engagement in the implementation of the SDGs. He also discussed the urgency for more investments and empowerment of adolescent girls, where 42% of girls are married before the age of 18, pledging the UN Country Team to work with the Government to address this critical issue.
The Vice-President noted the government’s commitment to advance youth development as well as strengthening youth participation in civic and political life. She further highlighted that the upcoming elections in Zambia would feature unprecedented numbers of young voters.
Alhendawi also met with His Excellency Mr. Vincent Mwale, Minister of Youth and Sports and His Excellency Mr. Rayford Mbulu, Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Envoy discussed with the Zambian senior officials youth participation in political processes and the upcoming elections as well as the need to scale up the investments in this largest generation of young Zambians, where 82% of the population is under 35 years of age.
Earlier on in the day, Alhendawi met with the United Nations Country Team to discuss the UN youth programs in the country. The representatives of the UN agencies in Zambia presented an overview of the youth situation in the country and highlighted the youth development projects implemented by various UN agencies.
“The UN Country Team has a diverse programmatic portfolio addressing youth issues, such as early marriage, decent jobs ad education for youth, sustainable reintegration and livelihood for youth, youth engagement in the SDG implementation among others” said UN Resident Coordinator to Zambia, Ms. Janet Rogan. The Resident Coordinator shared the progress on the implementation of the UN System Wide Action Plan (SWAP) on Youth where Zambia is one of the pilot countries. Ms. Rogan also noted that youth development is one of the key focus areas of the new UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework.
Alhendawi commended the UN Country Team’s initiative on establishing a UN Youth Partnership Platform, stressing the importance of engaging and partnering with young people in developing inclusive youth programming. Envoy on Youth also highlighted the importance ‘delivering as one’ approach as a key to ensuring the addressing of youth development needs in a comprehensive manner.