The deadline is approaching
His Royal Highness The Crown Prince is in Zambia this week in his capacity as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The deadline for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals is only about 800 days away.
As of 2013, the Crown Prince has served as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for 10 years. During his activities with UNDP, Crown Prince Haakon has put special focus on the UN Millennium Development Goals and efforts to promote sustainable development. His programme of activities in Zambia this week is centred around health, the environment, education and youth leadership.
UNDP seeks to strengthen the Zambian health system and supports national authorities in their fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which claim the lives of many Zambians every year. Other vital aspects of development efforts include reforms in the health sector and strengthening the capacity of the Zambian health authorities to promote public health. This has improved access to health services for vulnerable groups, enhanced maternal health, and reduced the level of HIV transmission between mother and child.
The sixth Millennium Development Goal is to "combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases". The Crown Prince visited the hospital in Chongwe together with the First Lady of Zambia, Dr Christine Kaseba, where they met with mothers, children and hospital staff. The Crown Prince greeted children infected with the HIV virus and two-year-old Ethel who was undergoing treatment for malaria.
Meeting with government officials
Following the visit to the hospital, Crown Prince Haakon met with Zambias vice president, foreign minister and other representatives of the Zambian government. Among other things, they discussed issues relating to internal distribution and the problem of poverty that is persisting despite relatively good economic growth in recent years.
Other topics discussed during the meetings included the countrys health and education systems, Zambias future course of development, and the need for assistance from UNDP to strengthen the efforts to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals and the development framework that will replace these after 2015.
Youth under the age of 18 comprise more than 50 per cent of Zambias population, and UNDP has a longstanding collaboration with youth organisations and representatives from civil society on the UN Millennium Development Goals.
On Tuesday, the Crown Prince met with representatives of the youth organisations at the University of Zambia to discuss the role of UNDP and the United Nations. Activities in this context focus on educating and training the general public on development issues, awareness-raising and involvement. The dialogue also revolved around the relevance of higher education in a young, rapidly growing Zambian society.
The discussion was productive. The purpose of the visit was to learn what kind of contribution the young people themselves want UNDP to make in their country after 2015. The Zambian youth were very interested in sharing their views on how to achieve a better Zambia and how people can work together to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals.
About the UN Millennium Development Goals
In 2000 all the countries in the world agreed to establish common goals to eradicate poverty, and eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were formulated.
The general goal – MDG 1 – was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The first of three targets under the goal was to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than USD 1 a day.
The eight MDG were to:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
At the end of 2015, significant progress had been made in all eight areas, and the countries of the world decided on 17 new goals - the Sustainable Development Goals.