Canadian High Commissioner to Zambia Pamela O’Donnell says promoting gender equality also advances sustainable development.

Speaking at a public discussion forum organised by NGOCC, Thursday, High Commissioner O’Donnell, through a representative, Mark Haynes, highlighted the benefits of promoting gender equality.

“Canada strongly believes that by advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls as an effective way to foster prosperity, create lasting peace, achieve sustainable development and promote human rights. It is only when all our people, regardless of their gender, can fully benefit from and participate in economic, political, social and cultural life, that we build safer more prosperous and more sustainable communities and countries,” High Commissioner O’Donnell said.

“This is why Canada is moving forward decisively on a feminist agenda at home and abroad. In our work on trade, security, diplomacy or international assistance, Canada wants to ensure that our efforts support gender equality and women’s empowerment. As a result, Canada’s Feminist Foreign policy integrates a gender responsive perspective in everything we do.”

High Commissioner O’Donnell said Zambia and Canada were working on increasing women participation in the United Nations peacekeeping missions.

“Canada and Zambia are partners at the United Nations where we champion gender equality and the human rights of women and girls through our joint leadership of the UN General Assembly resolution on Child, early and forced marriage. Together we have made significant strides in deepening the international community’s understanding of the various aspects and consequences of this harmful practice, and its commitment to end it and ensure that every girl can fulfil her potential. The consensus adoption by the General Assembly of a strong resolution again in 2018 is a great source of pride for both our countries,” High Commissioner O’Donnell said.

“Canada and Zambia have recently forged a new partnership under a program called the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations. Our two countries are working together to increase uniformed women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations in policing roles, specifically. As a significant troop and police contributing country, Zambia has already demonstrated leadership in this area. Both Canada and Zambia firmly believe that peace operations that are more representative of the populations they are tasked to protect are better situated to build trust between peacekeepers and local communities. Canada is pleased to be working with Zambia to find ways of overcoming barriers that prevent women from playing their rightful role.”

She pledged her country’s commitment to promoting gender equality.

“We are so pleased that promoting gender equality has truly become a cornerstone of our bilateral relationship with Zambia. We will continue to seek ways to cooperate on advancing the areas just mentioned as well jointly addressing other important issues such women’s economic empowerment; women in political leadership and sexual and reproductive health rights. On behalf of the High Commissioner of Canada to Zambia, Her Excellency Pamela O’Donnell, and the Head of Office for the Canadian High Commission in Lusaka, Ms. Megan Foster, I would like that NGOCC for this opportunity to support this event and wish all the participants very fruitful discussions,” said High Commissioner O’Donnell.