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Voluntary National Review 2020


The Government of the Republic of Zambia is strongly committed to the implementation of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The country’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) underscores this commitment. Integrating the SDGs into the National Planning Framework and putting in place strong coordination and reporting mechanisms, further demonstrate the country’s resolve to anchoring its development trajectory on the 2030 Agenda.

This VNR is an outcome of participatory and inclusive consultations based on a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.  


  • Integration of the SDG into the National Development Planning Framework: Zambia’s current National Development Plan (7NDP) has embraced an integrated multisectoral approach. The country has domesticated the SDGs, the AU Agenda 2063, among others, into its 7NDP. The 7NDP has mainstreamed 86% of SDGs goals and targets. Consequently, implementation and reporting on SDGs are coordinated through the institutional structures at national and sub-national levels using the Cluster approach. This approach has fostered doing more with less and has strengthened synergies and partnerships resulting into multi-sectoral responses to development challenges whose achievements include:
  • Reducing Poverty and Vulnerability: The Government has been providing half of households in extreme poverty by expanding Social Cash Transfers (SCTs) programme from 38 districts in 2014 to all the 116 districts in 2019. Households  not covered under the SCT programme, are being supported through other social protection programmes which include, support to vulnerable farmers, women, girls and school children. The integrated nature of the response coupled with enhanced coordination has contributed to the reduction in multi-dimensional poverty index from 50% in 2016 to 44% in 2019.
  • Creating a Conducive Environment for Sustainable Economic Growth: Zambia being a landlocked country, connectivity within and to its 8 neighbouring countries is essential to facilitate trade and access to markets, promote tourism and improve service delivery. To this end, the Government has significantly invested in infrastructure, including roads, airports, energy, health and education facilities, thus creating a conducive environment for sustainable development.
  • Environment and climate change: In line with the Paris Agreement, Zambia has pledged to reduce its emissions by 38,000 Gg CO2 eq by 2030. So far, cumulative emissions reduced by 39% (14,846.9 Gg CO2 eq) between 2015 to 2019. Zambia is promoting sustainable inititatives such as renewable energy which has seen the country diversify its energy mix from 99% reliance on hydro power production in 2011 to 80.6% in 2019. Solar energy currently accounts for about 90MW (3% of the total energy). Climate smart agriculture, water harvesting techniques and green infrastructure, are part of the climate change adaptation interventions being promoted. Zambia, however, is seeking strategic partnerships in accelerating its adaptation agenda.
  • Human Development: human capital is key to responding to development challenges of the 21st century especially gender equality, health, new technology, innovations and skills development. Noticeable achievements include:
    • An enabling legislation to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls providing for gender equity and equality in all spheres of life has been enacted;
    • Maternal mortality ratio declined from 398 per 100,000 live births in 2014 to 252 in 2018. Child Mortality Rate (CMR) declined from 31deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 19 deaths in 2018. Immunization coverage increased from 68% in 2014 to 75 % in 2018; and
    • In 2018, completion rate for primary education stood at 97.3%, while at junior and senior secondary stood at 87.7% and 36%, respectively.  

Challenges and areas of support

  • Data limitations continue to be a huge constraint on SDG monitoring and evidence-based planning. Notwithstanding, Zambia has enacted the Zambia Statistics Act of 2018, with the view to address data challenges.  
  • The expansionary fiscal policy driven by the need to invest in infrastructure development has resulted in a significant resource gap which has hampered SDG financing and threatened the country’s debt sustainability.
  • Adverse effects of climate change and the recent Covid-19 pandemic pose major threats to achieving the SDG targets in Zambia.
  • In line with SDG 17, Zambia seeks strong partnerships to help promote the green growth agenda and deal with constrained fiscal position while addressing the adverse effects of climate change and COVID-19.
Focal point
Mr. Mulele Maketo Mulele
Director, Development Planning
Ministry of National Development Planning PO Box 30147, Lusaka, Zambia
Tel: +260 211 250712

Partnerships & Commitments
The below is a listing of all partnership initiatives and voluntary commitments where Zambia is listed as a partner or lead entity in the Partnerships for SDGs online platform
Saving Mothers, Giving Life

Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) is a five-year initiative to rapidly reduce maternal and newborn mortality in low-resource, high-burden sub-Saharan Africa countries. Launched by Secretary of State Clinton in 2012, this public-private partnership strengthens health services by increasing demand, facilitating access to quality, lifesaving care for the most vulnerable women, and strengthening health systems at the district level. The initiative was given the ambitious goals of reducing maternal mortality by 50% and perinatal morality by 30% in 8 pilot districts in Uganda and Zambia, and then s...[more]

Founding partners: USG (USAID, CDC, OGAC, DoD, Peace Corps), Government of Norway, Government of Zambia, Government of Uganda, Government of Nigeria, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Every Mother Counts, Merck for Mothers, Project C.U.R.E. Other stakeholders: Swedish Sida, Lafarge Foundation Zambia Zamnet, ELMA Philanthropies
Sustainable Development Goals
Zambia commits to increase national budgetary expenditure on health from 11% to 15% by 2015

Zambia commits to: increase national budgetary expenditure on health from 11% to 15% by 2015 with a focus on women and children’s health; and to strengthen access to family planning - increasing contraceptive prevalence from 33% to 58% in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions, especially among adolescent girls. Zambia will scale-up implementation of integrated community case management of common diseases for women and children, to bring health services closer to families and communities to ensure prompt care and treatment.

Action Network
Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations