During Mr. Bishow Parajuli, the UN Resident Coordinator’s tour of duty in Zimbabwe for nearly five years, the focus of the UN Development System has been on building and strengthening national and local capacities to deliver quality public and social services, advance right-to-development, climate action and humanitarian response (disaster risk reduction and mitigation), address HIV and AIDS, advance good governance, gender equality, peace and human rights.
Mr Bishow Parajuli made the remarks at a breakfast meeting with the media take that took place today, Wednesday 28 August 2019 at the United Nations in Zimbabwe’s Headquarters in Harare.
He said to support the Government and people of Zimbabwe to achieve sustainable development under his leadership and with great collaboration with the Office of the President and Cabinet, the UN Team in Zimbabwe comprised of 25 UN entities adopted Delivering as One approach, joining 54 other country offices in the world.
The UN Zimbabwe has advanced the sustainable development initiative in a number of areas while delivering as one entity. The UN Zimbabwe rolled-out the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe UN Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), which delivered USD 1.5billion as at 30 June 2019 in various development projects against the total USD 1.6billion commitment to be mobilised over a period of five years.
“This means the UN has been channeling on average USD 400 million per year accounting 62% of Official Development Assistance to Zimbabwe. The ZUNDAF contributes UN support in six national result areas: Food and Nutrition Security; Social Services and Protection; Poverty Reduction; HIV and AIDS; Gender Equality; and Good Governance and Public Administration. It has supported the development of National position for localising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Goals.
“For example, the UN has developed a multi-year health development fund; resilience development fund; HIV response through the Global Fund; and the joint UN-EU multi-year Spotlight Initiative Country Programme to end violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe. As UN Resident Coordinator, I have also provided leadership in the coordination of humanitarian response to recurrent disasters in Zimbabwe, including: severe drought caused by El Nino in 2016/17 affecting over 5 million Zimbabweans; flooding that wrought havoc in southern part of the country displacing and affecting the livelihood of over 20,000 people in 2017; and in containing typhoid and major cholera outbreak including in high-density areas of Harare in 2018,” Mr. Parajuli said
Through the UN-coordinated support, on average over 2.2 million people were consistently supported with food and non-food relief assistance and coordinated response to flood affected communities and successfully contained the disease outbreaks. For example, the UN has also provided USD 33 million worth humanitarian assistance to 270,000 people affected by Cyclone Idai. Preparations are underway to embark on recovery efforts with USD 72 million committed by World Bank. The recovery effort package will be implemented by United Nations Agencies.
The United Nations has also been assisting people affected by drought and economic challenge through mobilising USD 225 million in the areas of food assistance, agriculture, water and sanitation, health, nutrition, and protection to 2.2 million people. The number of targeted beneficiaries has increased to 3.7 million and the UN is striving to mobilise additional resource of USD 215million to sustain relief assistance until next harvest (April 2020).
“I have brought in high-ranking UN Officials to visit Zimbabwe, facilitated and led various field visits for all Ambassadors based in Zimbabwe; led UN team European countries to mobilise resources and generate support for national policy reforms. Recently, I was in to New York to garner additional support to the prevailing humanitarian response in Zimbabwe. In the face of the lingering socio-economic challenges, the Government of Zimbabwe – with UN support – developed a Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) (October 2018 – December 2020) to stabilise the economy and pave the way for medium-to-long term growth towards the attainment of the country’s Vision 2030 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Mr. Parajuli said
He said that the United Nations has provided analytical support to the Government, particularly in facilitating a Joint Needs Assessment in collaboration with the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The Joint Needs Assessment and its 25 Sector Notes informed the development of the TSP and is expected to also inform the successor national development plans.
The Joint Needs Assessment would also serve as a basis for the common country analysis for the next generation of UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework – a UN strategic engagement which will succeed the UNDAF.
Parajuli underscored his personal determination for the Zimbabwean people to pursue their development aspiration in peace, justice, fairness and equity.
“I was personally involved in efforts to improve the electoral process; the human rights situation through the Universal Periodic Review process and through the UN we provided technical and financial support to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and undertook capacity building of the Parliament of Zimbabwe. The UN under my leadership, also worked towards advancing peace and reconciliation with the establishment of the peace building fund. The UN also supported the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission; rolled out a multi-year programme to end violence against women and girls and capacitated the Gender Commission. In addition, I worked to ensure that the UN provided support to ensure that Government takes concrete action in the fight against corruption, enhance accountability and transparency in public and social services.
“My commitment emanates from the strong belief that support from the UN and development partners will have a positive impact over-time through building strong democratic, social and economic national institutions, including robust independent watchdogs in line with the Constitution as well as agile civic and civil society organisations.”
Parajuli said his vision together with UN team and partners has, for example, led the UN to formally adopt the Delivering as One approach in Zimbabwe in 2016 that has enabled the UN Team in the country to be ahead of the curve on the implementation of the UN development system reform agenda which was formally adopted by the General Assembly on 31 May 2018. This comprehensive reform agenda involves a set of far-reaching changes to ensure that the UN works more cohesively to support countries including Zimbabwe in their quest towards the Agenda 2030 under a reinvigorated Resident Coordinator System.
His personal commitment and the role of the UN in Zimbabwe has also consistently engaged Government and partners to enhance freedom of information and protection of the media as well as build a bridge for a consistent cordial media relation through a series of joint engagement to enhance objective reporting of development and humanitarian issues.
“My office has been open to media engagement and dialogue as well as with partners or ordinary Zimbabweans across the board through online and off-line. I would like to sincerely to thank the media for the strong commitment and passion to their work despite the prevailing socio-economic challenges and at times of high political temperatures. The UN stands for freedom of the media and personally I have great regard for the media and the role of media in transforming society. Media is the force for good, sustainable development and a platform for constructive dialogue.
“I salute you and encourage you to keep being the voice of the voiceless, keep the good fight in advancing human rights, justice and at the same time casting the country in good light so that the people of Zimbabwe reap the fruit of the abundant resources they have through tourism and investment. As the fourth estate, keep being an eye of the public in the fight against corruption, the promotion of rule of law, peace, equality, and climate action,” Mr. Parajuli added.