Government of Zambia expresses interest in SDGs intersectional shadow report recommendations

Blog arrow-right 04 March 2024
Author: Edna Ninsiima
Zambia VNR

When member states submit a progress report as part of review mechanisms for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 Agenda, it is imperative that civil society conduct an independent assessment to offer additional contexts, or address any gaps and discrepancies therein. That is what a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Zambia set out to see through.

In 2023, over 30 CSOs operating in Zambia collaborated to develop a shadow report on Zambia’s Voluntary National Review (VNR). The report would provide an independent analysis of the country’s progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using anecdotal evidence from their vast expertise from implementing various related projects nationwide.

Led by Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), under the auspices of the Make Way Zambia Programme, the CSOs drew on Make Way’s “leave no one behind” guiding principle to deliver a shadow report that provides African and feminist intersectional perspectives of the lived realities of marginalised persons. Within the report’s structure, participants also demonstrated the interconnection between all SDGs, highlighting how an action or inaction in one area can affect progress with other SDGs. 

Bertha Chulu at the High Level Political Forum

Bertha Chulu at the High Level Political Forum

Now the Government of Zambia has shown interest in adopting this shadow report’s recommendations.

Bertha Chulu is a Zambian youth representative for the Make Way programme who contributed to the development of the shadow report. She was also in attendance at the 2023 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York where the Make Way representative from AMwA, Chipasha Mwansa presented to the house the intersectional shadow VNR, stressing the importance of the government to join efforts with the civil society organisations as partners in development.

Bertha believes it is this unique intersectional approach that piqued the interest of Lois Mulube, the Acting Permanent Secretary of  Zambia’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning. “She requested for the document to be sent to her office, where Monitoring & Evaluation teams would make a comprehensive assessment of the recommendations made for potential integration into government planning.”

An intersectional approach demonstrates how an individual’s multiple social identities overlap to form distinct experiences of discrimination and oppression/s.

Among this shadow report’s recommendations are for the government to ensure comprehensive reporting on all SDGs, as opposed to nitpicking. The shadow report argues that failure to report on any SDG is an “indictment on the prevailing political will” to address the gaps therein. Others include: the reiteration to tackle development through an intersectional approach, and the timely provision of reliable and accessible data on SDGs.

As part of another recommendation to the government to report progress based on citizen generated data, Make Way mobilised civil society organisations in Zambia to form an SDGs forum. The platform will serve as a link between government and civil society data, fostering the use of citizen generated data while reporting progress of SDGs’ implementation.

Make Way representatives from AMwA noted the solidarity and willingness of all CSO allies to see this process to completion, “even when it seemed odds were against us.” These partnering organisations included Cheshire Homes Society of Zambia, SAT Zambia, and Forum for African Women Educationalists in Zambia. Together they brought diverse perspectives and pooled resources to hold workshops and all meetings required for the finalisation and validation of the report.

The organisations have also engaged Zambia’s Members of Parliament on the matter. AMwA held a shadow report launch for CSOs and Members of Parliament in 2023 where MPs requested a policy brief of the report to be developed and made available to them. According to Make Way partners, this process is underway, and is just one of many engagements planned with relevant stakeholders.

Read the full intersectional shadow report here.


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