By Byron Mutingwende
The United Nations (UN) office in Zimbabwe has expressed its commitment to supporting the economic recovery initiatives being spearheaded by the new political administration under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Speaking at the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), Tafadzwa Mwale, the Officer-in-charge of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) hailed the new leadership’s commitment towards social cohesion and peace; economic recovery and job creation; improved quality delivery of social services; firm stance on anti-corruption; accelerated reform efforts, including in the public sector; human security; credible, transparent and peaceful elections in 2018; and re-engagement with the international community.
“The UN reconfirms its commitment to supporting Zimbabwe to advance sustainable, rights-based and inclusive development for all and strongly supports the new Government’s commitment and efforts towards re-engagement with the International Financial Institutions (IFIs).
“The UN System commits to scale-up its joint support to national efforts. In so doing, the UN remains committed to the principle of national ownership and leadership, under the overarching collective commitment to leaving no one behind, with a special focus on the most vulnerable populations, particularly children, youth, girls and women,” Mwale said.
She said the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assitance Framework (ZUNDAF) guides the UN support.
The ZUNDAF is the UN’s strategic programme framework to support inclusive growth and sustainable development in Zimbabwe. The current ZUNDAF programme cycle covers five years, 2016-2020, with planned budget of $1, 6 billion. The ZUNDAF is developed with the Government and in consultation with national and international stakeholders including NGOs, Civil Society Organisations and development partners.
The current ZUNDAF (2016-2020) incorporates principles of disaster risk reduction, recovery and development. The ZUNDAF delivered USD 812 million in development grants from the beginning of 2016 up to 31 December 2017, making Zimbabwe amongst the top-10 largest UN development portfolios globally.
The UN focuses its support on enhancing the foundations and national capacities in a number of areas.
On one hand is the food and nutrition security sector with a focus on policy and action frameworks for enabling agricultural productivity and production as well as resilience building of vulnerable labour-endowed communities and targeted food and nutrition assistance for communities affected by the effects of climate change – such as recurrent droughts and flooding.
Ton promote gender equality, the UN supports the establishment of laws, policies and frameworks to ensure women’s empowerment, gender equality and equity.
To address HIV and AIDS, the UN is focusing on universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
In pursuit of poverty reduction and promoting value the thrust is on economic management and pro-poor development; decent employment opportunities; resilience building of vulnerable labour-endowed communities and generation and utilisation of data.
The UN promotes justice and rule of law; peace building; accountability; human rights and people’s participation in democratic processes and also focuses on improved access to and utilisation of quality and equitable education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and social protection services.
“The ZUNDAF has played a significant role in maintaining the provision of basic social services including education, health and the strengthening of national institutions to provide adequate public service.
“Given the key human development challenges of poverty, job creation, gender disparity and gaps in health, education and HIV related services, as well as climate change and adaptation, the underlying need to strengthen institutional capacity to address these issues with focus on delivering results have been the priority for the United Nations System in the ZUNDAF implementation process,” Mwale said.
The UN System remains committed to the principle of national ownership and leadership, under the overarching collective commitment to leaving no one behind, with a special focus on the most vulnerable populations, particularly children, youth, girls and women.
Godfrey Koti, the Head of Corporate Affairs of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) thanked the UN for creating a conducive environment for accelerated economic recovery and inclusive growth, towards socio-economic and gender equality.
“The UN has been doing a great job in strengthening effective and accountable public-sector institutions to enhance quality social service delivery through increasing participation of all citizens, especially women, in democratic processes and promotion of human rights; and strengthening national and local capacity for accelerated implementation and monitoring of Zimbabwe’s commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Koti said.