Community Development

Repositioning UN Development System in Zimbabwe


UN Resident Coordinator to Zimbabwe Mr. Bishow Parajuli presented his credentials, as the most high-ranking UN Representative, to His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa at State House earlier today.


On 1 January 2019, the United Nations System embarked on a global reform of transformation with a reinvigorated and new Resident Coordinator System and UN Country Team putting countries at the forefront. The appointment of Mr. Parajuli by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres is part of the implementation of ongoing United Nations reform agenda.


At the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the UN adopted resolution 72/279 to strengthen the authority and leadership of the UN Resident Coordinators, as the highest-ranking representatives of the United Nations development system, leading sustainable-development-focused United Nations country teams, and system-wide accountability on the ground for implementing the United Nations Development Assistance Framework and supporting countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.


The focus of the reinvigorated UN Resident Coordinator and recalibrated UN Country Team remains sustainable development, with the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions as its overarching objective, which is consistent with the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda and in line with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework.


With the reinvigorated mandate, Mr. Parajuli will lead the alignment of both UN agency programmes and inter-agency pooled funding for development with national development needs and priorities, as well as with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, in consultation with the Government.


In his recent statement to Member States on the rollout of the UN System Reform, Mr. Guterres said that countries will be able to count on impartial and empowered UN Resident Coordinators– fully devoted to the needs required to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, drawing on experience, skills and knowledge across the UN system. “Our teams [UN Country Teams] on the ground will now be better able to tailor their presence, capacities, skillsets and overall response to your [countries] priorities”, said Mr. Guterres.


Prior to this appointment by the UN Secretary General to lead the newly reformed UN System in Zimbabwe, Mr. Bishow Parajuli has been working as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Zimbabwe since September 2014.


Mr. Parajuli has been leading United Nations cooperation with the Government, donors, Civil Society, Communities, the media and other partners in Zimbabwe to new heights.


Mr. Parajuli led the development of a new strategic engagement in Zimbabwe under the 2016-2020 UN Development Assistance Framework, focusing on six national priorities: poverty reduction, social services, gender equality, HIV and AIDS, food and nutrition security, and good governance, leading the successful mobilization of USD400 million annually for the past three years.


Development results delivered include: resilience building of 830,000 people in 23 rural districts, providing 2.2 million vulnerable people with cash and food assistance, introducing climate smart agriculture, expanding agrobusiness and irrigation infrastructures, and linking women to local and regional markets.


In addition, support has been given to the establishment and strengthening of Zimbabwe’s independent institutions, the Chapter 12 institutions, including the Zimbabwe Election Commission, Human Rights Commission, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to promote peace, reconciliation, and contribute to enhance democracy and human rights in the country.


The United Nations, moreover, has assisted Zimbabwe to fulfill its reporting obligations to United Nations human rights mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review, and to the implementation of human rights recommendations, and the sustainable development goals, with a view to enhancing human rights and development in the country.


The United Nations has also been actively engaged on national initiatives to end child marriages and gender-based violence, ensuring access to education of children with disabilities and providing books to 2.5 million pupils, over 300,000 poor households – especially child headed have been assisted with cash transfer consistently, and over 3.6 million people in rural and semi-urban areas received water and sanitation services.


In response to the HIV pandemic over one million people have been successfully put on antiretroviral treatment allowing them to lead a productive life and making Zimbabwe one of the leads to achieve international targets in the fight against the HIV epidemic.


The United Nations has also been responding proactively to emerging humanitarian crisis caused by recurrent droughts, flooding and outbreaks such as cholera and typhoid, while working with Government and partners to find sustainable solutions by building national capacities for disaster risk management, early warning systems and resilience building of communities to withstand shocks and effects of climate change.


Brief bio of Mr Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator

Mr Bishow Parajuli, Nepalese national, has over 33 years of experience in development, humanitarian, diplomatic, fund raising, coordination and management in Asia, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. He has expertise in the implementation of large-scale and complex operations in diverse contexts, including development, emergency, protracted relief and recovery.


Prior to joining the UN in Zimbabwe, Mr. Parajuli served as the UN World Food Programmed Country Director & Representative in Yemen from 2013 to 2014, which was one of WFP’s top five operations globally in terms of size and complexity.


In Yemen, Mr. Parajuli developed a new vision for WFP assistance for USD 491 million and mobilized USD 220 million, during the first year, allowing WFP to assist 5 million people. This vision shifted focus from relief to recovery and resilience building, laying the foundations for WFP to sustainably help improve food security.


Prior to working in Yemen, Mr. Parajuli served in WFP Headquarters in Rome, as the Chief of Staff, Director of the Executive Directors Office, as well as the Director of Government Donor Relations. As the Director Govt donor’s relations, he played an important role in mobilizing close to USD 4 billion in 2012, with a focus on expanding partnerships with many emerging economies.


From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Parajuli worked as UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Myanmar. During the period, Mr. Parajuli worked on enhancing coordination of humanitarian and development activities amongst UN agencies, international NGOs and other stakeholders in responding to a major humanitarian crisis caused by cyclone Nargis, which killed 140,000 and displaced 3 million people.


Prior to taking up his assignment in Myanmar, Mr. Parajuli worked for WFP in various parts of the world. He was the WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt, where his innovative and exemplary contributions were recognized when he was awarded the WFP Merit Award for 2006. He has also served in various positions in WFP offices in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Botswana and its headquarters in Rome.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende