GREEN Economy and Environment Minister Collins Nzovu has assured the Swedish government that the UPND would prudently utilise resources from cooperating partners.

And Nzovu says he is excited to ensure that environmental sustainability is at the core of any project.

Speaking when he met the Swedish delegation led by Vice Minister for International Development Cooperation Janine Alm Ericson and Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Anna Maj Hultgård, Monday, Nzovu said the UPND government had a zero tolerance towards corruption policy.

“Trust us Ambassador, Minister, that we appreciate the help you have rendered to us so far, obviously now we want to crank up all systems. We want to see how we can sustain the environment better. So, we will be calling on you for assistance. You are assured that this government supports the principle of zero tolerance to corruption, your resources will be safe with us. So we call upon you to work together with us, we have an open-door policy. We will look forward to more cooperation between the government of Sweden and the government of Zambia,” Nzovu said.

“Another key area where you have supported us a lot and where we need your support is on training. We need more training in climate change effects. So, it is an exciting time to receive the high-profile delegation of the Swedish Government, the Ambassadors’ office and all the officers who are here. We operate on an open-door policy, help us; you are welcome to critic but we want to work together sustainably. For your information, the press, my government will ensure that all projects that we do with our cooperating partners are done at a good cost, they are done at a good quality, they are done timely.”

And Nzovu said he was excited to ensure that environmental sustainability was at the centre of all projects.

“Receiving the Minister from Sweden as well as Ambassador is exciting because the Swedish have been very strategic and have been very helpful in as far as matters of the environment are concerned. In our UPND manifesto, we are very clear on how we want to develop the country. We are currently developing the country at a very low rate; our aim is to reach 10 per cent economic development. In doing this, we are very clear that we use a lot of our natural resources. 2030, this is 2021 we are remaining only with eight years to see if we can ensure that the 17 SDGs are realised,” he said.

“So in doing all these things, we appreciate your help. In doing all these things, we want to ensure that the institutional framework for the new Ministry, the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment is supported. There are a lot of projects we will be doing, obviously in doing all the projects environment sustainability issues will be key. Issues of climate change are already with us; global warming is with us.”

Nzovu reiterated government’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“Right now, one of our biggest challenges is the demand for economic development in areas which are ecologically sensitive. One of the key things we want to do is do a smart environment impact assessment so that all areas which are ecologically sensitive are directed to environmental sustainability. Our President, His Excellency Mr Hakainde Hichilema, is also very strong on environmental issues. His strength can be seen from the content of our manifesto on environmental sustainability. His emphasis on environmental sustainability can be seen from the creation of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment. So, in all our developmental agenda, environmental sustainability is key. We are obviously mindful of the fact that we have to take our people out of abject poverty,” said Nzovu.

And Ericson said Sweden was ready to support the Zambian government.

“I want to congratulate you on your appointment and also to the President for making the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment. This is a great respect to the planet and people living on it. Sweden and Zambia, our cooperation goes a long way back. We also congratulate the peaceful transition of power. Therefore, as Sweden we are glad to hear that this is also one of your priorities. In developing a new program, global development has to be green. If you can choose between something that is bad for the environment, the environmentally friendly way must be chosen. As Sweden, we have agreed to support you in any way that we can and the international community is also there. I also want to stress the importance of international cooperation. We have the UN agencies, the Development Bank, the World Bank, we need to use every tool in the tool box to do this together,” said Ericson.

Meanwhile Ambassador Hultgård said the Swedish government would continue to engage government on environmental sustainability areas.

“As an Ambassador of Sweden to Zambia, we are very honoured and privileged to have these high-level visitors from Sweden. This is one of the very high priorities areas that I would like to assure you honourable Minister that we will be as Embassy engaging you. This is just a start of a continued relationship that we would build with you,” said Hultgard.