Lusaka 3rd October, 2018: Today, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Said Djinnit, paid a Courtesy Call on Dr. Frank Okuthe, the Executive Director. He was accompanied by the United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and his Personal Assistant Mr. Benoit Pylyser. The main purpose for the UN Special Envoy’s visit was to express his office’s support to the Centre and the work that was being done by the team. Special Envoy hailed Zambia’s commitment to the ICGLR Secretariat including the hosting of the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre (LMRC). He was even more enthused by the diplomacy expressed by Zambians, this emanating from the meeting he had earlier held with the Zambian Head of State, H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Ambassador Djinnit applauded the Centre’s important work within the region further highlighting his reason for a physical visit to the Centre.
The Executive Director who was in the company of the Regional Centre’s Head of Finance and Administration, Ms. Mareena Mawere, welcomed the UN Special Envoy and expressed the excitement of the Regional Centre for the visit. He went on to give a brief on the two main projects that the Centre currently had on-board, i.e. the “Elasticity of Democracy in the Mosaic States of the Great Lakes Region” and the Displaced Persons Project supported by the World Bank. Dr. Okuthe thanked the UN Special Envoy for being key in opening the way to the World Bank and hence the fruitful collaboration. He also suggested to the UN Resident Coordinator that the Centre would be more than glad to collaborate with her office as partners in areas of Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights as they are within the mandate of the Centre. In response to this, Ms. Rogan said she would ensure that this partnership is made possible and looked forward to it.
In conclusion, the UN Special Envoy thanked the Executive Director and for the warm reception accorded him and his entourage and urged the Centre to keep on with the applaudable job. It was agreed that Zambia’s stability within the Region ought to be appreciated more and that the country ought to be accorded more responsibilities in the resolution of the crises in the Great Lakes Region as it was certain that its authorities would take this up with utmost seriousness. The Executive Director said that Zambia was greatly committed to the Great Lakes issues as demostrated by its hosting of the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre and many ICGLR meetings and conferences.