By Byron Mutingwende
The diplomats were assured of mutual cooperation, as Zimbabwe was replete with various potential sectors for beneficial convergence. This emerged on the awards ceremony of the sixth edition of the Annual Diplomats Awards held at Cresta Loge in Harare on Friday 10 March 2017.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Bishow Parajuli, the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Zimbabwe said that since 1945, the United Nations has been at the center of international diplomacy and co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.
“Fast forward to our time, the United Nations has recently successfully spearheaded two major diplomatic efforts: Defined sustainable development agenda for the world for the next 15 years, and facilitated binding climate action to protect the planet from the deadly effects of climate change. These are critical to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development across the board – within and, among the advanced, emerging or developing countries.
“Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at global level requires creativity and willingness to cooperate on all sides of the multiple global divides: rich and poor, developed and developing, north and south hemisphere,” Parajuli said.
The UN Senior official said that diplomacy could greatly help the international community avert loss of human lives to conflict, destruction of property and environment and instead invest in human development and re-invest in system innovation, which in turn would increase the chances of a successful implementation of inclusive growth, prosperity and sustainable Development at national, regional and global levels.
In his address, Anxious Masuka, the Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) said that agriculture was a sector with a greatest potential for synergies.
“The ZAS transitioned from a show theme to an annual theme in 2015, to rally additional support for the cause of accelerated agricultural development. This transition has afforded ZAS and other like-minded stakeholders, an opportunity to periodically discuss various pertinent aspects of the value chain relevant to the theme under our now popular Leadership for Enhanced Agricultural Development Series (LEADS). The LEADS has become a platform that uses a value chain approach to bring key stakeholders to interrogate, highlight, discuss, distil, synthesise and communicate practical policy interventions for the advancement of agriculture,” Masuka said.
There is need to finance agriculture, revitalise the cotton sector, enhance the role of small grains in conservation and climate smart agriculture and investigate the attainment of food security in a “climate change” environment.
Masuka said that ZAS added its voice on climate change when it adopted the theme, “Climate Resilience: The New Agricultural Frontier” in 2016. That signified a shift from awareness to action. Illuminating and highlighting the benefits of addressing climate change will inspire more climate change action.
With innovation taken as a way of doing business, and with the value chain strengthened and consolidated, effectiveness and efficiency in agricultural productivity will be sustained.
Masuka reiterated that the agricultural development focus of the ZAS will be sharpened further, while broadening and deepening its multifarious, fruitful and mutually beneficial linkages with stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, primarily, and secondarily, feeding into the industry and commerce value chains.
In an interview, Taghrid Senouar, the Ambassador of Palestine to Zimbabwe said the two countries enjoy strong social, political and economic ties. Senouar expressed confidence in the fact that with support from the global countries, the Middle East conflict would be addressed.
“It’s unfortunate that Israel has always sought to destroy the Palestinian homeland without relenting. The Palestinian population of about 12 million people has always been separated with half of it living outside. Israel divided the population in order to dilute Palestinian resistance to occupation. For 11 years, Israel has kept the biggest open-air prison with nearly 1 million Palestinian prisoners who are deprived of work, family and education, clearly violating human rights. We therefore call upon Zimbabwe and the rest of the international community to encourage Israel to honour the agreed peace process,” Senouar said.
The Ambassador said that Palestine enjoys privileged ties with African leaders. In that vein, Palestine supports the struggle of African countries against colonisation and subjugation.
“Thus, there is a need to maintain political, social and economic cooperation amongst our people. We hope that our agriculture, tourism and the services sector as well as the small to medium enterprises are our key economic drivers. I had a meeting with Zimbabwe’s minister of tourism, Dr. Walter Mzembi where we agreed to collaborate more on tourism,” Senouar said.
She said that although claimed by Israel as its own, Palestine had holy sites recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Since tourism has low hanging fruits for the two countries, the existing political ties would translate into the exchange of more services.
Philippe Van Damme, the European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe was the 2017 Diplomat of the Year. Van Damme also shared the slot with the Ambassador of Netherlands, Gera Sneller and Enrico De Agostini of Italy as outstanding heads of missions from Europe.
Suzanne McCourt, the Ambassador of Australia bagged was the outstanding head of mission from Asia, Australia and Americas, the award she shared with the Ambassador of China, Huang Ping, and that of Cuba, Elio Savon Oliva and the Ambassador of Korea, Kwon Yong Kyu.
South Africa’s Ambassador to the country, Mphakama Mbete, Egypt’s Moayad-Fathallah-El-Dalie, Namibian Ambassador Balbina Daes Piennaar and Zambia’s Ambassador were the winners from Africa.
From the Middle East, Ambassador of Palestine to Zimbabwe Taghrid Senouar emerged the winner.
Fahad Alshatti of Kuwait and Chargé d’ Affaires of Malaysia, Amarjit Singh Sarjit Singh’s wotk as deputy ambassadors or first secretaries were honoured. The former president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, won the lifetime award for commitment and dedication to freedom of African countries.