Lusaka, 20 January 2021 — The Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Higher Education and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have joined forces today, signing a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining key areas of cooperation to deepen institutional engagement in the higher education sector that will accelerate the role of higher education institutions as key drivers for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Zambia.
Building on successful past and ongoing collaborations between UNDP and the Government, the MoU commits the two parties to collaborate in the field of higher education, vocational education and training, application of science, technology and innovation for socio-economic development, while expected areas of cooperation will include collaboration on applied research programmes, improving youth employability, knowledge sharing and enhancing gender equality.
The two parties will identify areas of mutual interest in order to foster development partnerships and contribute to ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education while promoting lifelong learning opportunities that will ultimately result in accelerating progress towards achieving the SDGs in the country.
“The Government through the Ministry of Higher Education will think of this signing not only in terms of what we will be able to achieve in terms of collaboration but in a much wider context of generally developing Science, Technology and Innovation as well as Education and skills Development and its position in the development of our country,” the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education Ms. Kayula Siame said at the signing ceremony in Lusaka.
“We are pleased to align the contribution of UNDP around the vision of the Government of the Republic of Zambia for a country which leverages its young population for productive and meaningful engagement in the sustainable development of the nation,” said Lionel Laurens, the UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia, noting that the collaboration reaffirms UNDP’s continuous support to Zambia´s efforts to spur progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Through the MoU, the Ministry of Higher Education and UNDP will promote public awareness in areas such as enhancing gender equality through supporting initiatives to encourage girls and women to pursue higher education, vocational education and training and specialize in scientific research and technological innovation to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, which are essential conditions for achieving the SDGs. The cooperation will simultaneously promote innovations and internship programmes and connect potential youth volunteers with opportunities to contribute meaningfully to their communities, while gaining valuable work experience and skills for future employment. As part of the agreement, the two institutions will collaborate on promoting knowledge sharing and mutual learning to accelerate transformation in line with the SDGs.
To achieve the goals of the MoU, both the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education Kayula Siame and UNDP Resident Representative Lionel Laurens reaffirmed their commitment to work together for strategic and coordinated approach for delivering impact and call for innovative partnerships to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Government, civil society, Cooperating Partners, International Financing Institutions and private sector and identify innovative financing models.
“We will continue the strategic dialogue on our joint priorities, at all levels, so that we can complement and leverage each organization’s comparative advantage to the benefit of our country's development,” Siame said. When all key stakeholders do their part and forge partnerships that pull in the same direction, reaching the SDGs by 2030 will no longer be a vision; it will be reality,” Laurens said.