Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary for International Relations and Cooperation Ambassador Chalwe Lombe has observed that Zambia’s membership to international organisations has strengthened multilateral cooperation with different countries.
Ambassador Lombe stated that since independence, Zambia has acquired membership to over 160 international organisations and benefited through technical assistance by utilizing the expertise within the organisations and solidarity on many questions of international concern.
Ambassador Lombe made the remarks in Lusaka on Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 during the first of two inter-ministerial workshops convened to review the costs and benefits of Zambia’s membership to various international organisations and bodies.
He noted the importance of international organisations given that they provide common platforms for representatives from different parts of the world to discuss and evolve solutions to contemporary challenges.
“However, we cannot overlook the other side of the coin, where the membership to an international organization can result in more costs than benefits to the country. A case in point is where such membership succumbs to an ever-changing world and becomes obsolete. For, instance, in the post-cold-war era, there has been a gradual shift in many countries’ foreign policies with more emphasis being placed on the economic development agenda,” he said.
Ambassador Lombe implored the meeting to address the prevailing realities and consider how to extricate the Zambian taxpayer and the national treasury from such cost burden.
He stated that the review process was timely in light of Zambia’s ambitious economic development trajectory, which must be considered alongside the regional and global context where organisations such as the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations have blueprints that are poised to impact the future of our countries.
Ambassador Lombe emphasized the Government’s policy of placing more Zambians in international organisations.
He added that Zambians are at liberty to apply for jobs in the institutions where the country is a State Party and the remittances from such arrangements contribute to the development of the country.
Ambassador Lombe noted the critical role played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordinating Zambia’s contributions and membership to international organisations.
The Permanent Secretary reminded the participants that the meeting was convened following a directive from the Secretary to the Cabinet for the Government to take stock of Zambia’s various multilateral organisations and bodies, and other Treaties to which there is a cost outlay to ascertain the costs and benefits accruing to the country.
The meeting is expected to, among other issues, review and update Zambia’s membership to international organisations and bodies to improve coordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and line Ministries.
Ambassador Lombe implored the responsible line Ministries for each international organization to provide recommendations on the way forward, including the possible withdrawal from memberships which have ceased to be viable.
Public Relations Unit
Ministry of Foreign Affairs