Secretary-General Patricia Scotland is scheduled to visit Lusaka from 5-10 August, and in meetings with government officials and other stakeholders will reaffirm the Commonwealth’s support to the people of Zambia.
The Secretary-General’s visit offers opportunities to build on longstanding engagement with Zambia as a member state of the Commonwealth. Over the years, support provided through the Commonwealth Secretariat has spanned the political, economic and judicial sectors. During last year’s general elections, the Secretary-General deployed a peace envoy and a Commonwealth Observer Group to the country. The Commonwealth is committed to supporting peaceful dialogue and political cohesion in Zambia following the elections.
Secretary-General Scotland said: “The aim of my visit is to highlight the important place Zambia occupies in the Commonwealth family and to promote inclusiveness and resilience. Zambia is known as a beacon of tolerance, equality, stability and peace within our Commonwealth family and beyond. It is important for all national stakeholders to uphold and adhere to these values - to which we are committed in our Commonwealth Charter. The famous Lusaka Declaration - a seminal document condemning Racism, Racial Prejudice, Discrimination and Inequality - was signed by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1979 at a meeting that was hosted by Zambia. This declaration contributed to the independence of Zimbabwe and ultimately South Africa.”
The Secretary-General’s engagement is in line with the 2017 Commonwealth theme ‘A peace-building Commonwealth’. On this, she reiterated: “Our theme this year is about building peace at all levels of society, by all stakeholders in society. While political leaders, government agencies, the media and civil society play a critical role in achieving and sustaining peace and cohesion, it is a collective responsibility which requires the constructive engagement of every citizen.”
The Secretary-General’s visit will also focus on Commonwealth priorities including climate change; preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the United Kingdom; and empowering young people, women and girls.
After her visit to Zambia, the Secretary-General will travel to Tanzania and Mozambique to continue her peace and relationship-building tour.