Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme has requested the Irish government to support the candidature of Supreme Court Judge, Justice Dr Mumba Malila, to the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) in the elections set for October.

And Irish Minister for Natural Resources, Community Affairs Sean Canney has responded favourably to the request.

Meanwhile, Muchinga Province Minister Malozo Sichone thanked the Irish government for the support provided to the region and called for continued financing of activities.

In a statement availed by Ministry of National Development Planning spokesperson, Chibaula Silwamba, Monday, Chiteme extolled Dr Malila’s tremendous experience in human rights.

Chiteme conveyed Zambia’s request during a bilateral meeting with the Irish Minister on the sidelines of the 2019 United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York last Thursday.

He extolled Justice Dr Malila’s tremendous experience in human rights and law reform having served in different capacities at national and continental-level, including twice as Attorney-General, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, Vice-Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and author of several law books.

Canney responded favourably to Zambia’s request.

But he reminded Chiteme of Ireland’s candidature to the United Nations Security Council non-permanent member category in the UN Security Council elections scheduled for 2020 and requested for Zambia’s reciprocal support.

The Irish Minister reiterated the importance of the two countries to support each other’s efforts on the international fora as a way to ensure strong representation of issues of concern to both of them.

In response, Chiteme assured Ireland of Zambia’s support to Ireland’s candidature and reiterated the need for the two countries to continue strengthening their bilateral relations.

The two ministers exchanged views on the continued cordial relationship between their countries, efforts to combat climate change and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Chiteme explained the challenges that climate change had brought on countries in Africa, and Zambia in particular, such as droughts and water shortages the need to be addressed through global finance.

“Africa is badly affected by climate change and the continent needed to have a voice on international for a, such as the UN Security Council,” read the statement.

Chiteme informed Canney that Zambia would present its Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the 2020 High-Level Political Forum and called on the Irish government for support. On climate change, Canney explained the framework that Ireland had adopted for climate action that involved young people in being part of the solution and the importance of mindset change in the way people do things.

He said Ireland adopted a climate smart framework, including decarbonisation and adoption of renewable energy sources and innovative and clean technology in transportation systems with diesel-powered vehicles being phased out and electrical vehicles being adopted.

Meanwhile, Sichone thanked the Irish government for the support provided to the region and called for continued financing of the activities.

He said with Irish support, capacity had been built in governance at local-level, and in water and sanitation management.

“These efforts need to be sustained with future partnerships,” stated Sichone.

The Irish Minister for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development responded with affirmation to Sichone’s request and called for follow-up discussion between the latter and the Irish envoy in Zambia to undertake the activities in Muchinga Province.

The elections to the Committee Against Torture (CAT) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 3, 2019, during the 17th Meeting of States Parties.

CAT is a body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the CAT and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State Parties.

Members are elected for a term of four years by States parties and may be re-elected.