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UN Strategic Framework lauded for catalysing development results in Zimbabwe


28 June 2018, Harare – Today the Government and the United Nations together with development partners convened high level review meeting to validate and take stock of development results delivered, mid-way of the programme cycle, under 2016-2020 Zimbabwe UN Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF) contributing to national development priorities.


The high-level meeting co-chaired by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck J M Sibanda, and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli brought together over 140 delegates including senior Government officials and UN Heads of Agencies, diplomatic corps, heads of development agencies, civil society organisations, private sector and the media.


In addition to messages from the Chief Secretary to President and Cabinet, and the UN Resident Coordinator, two panel discussions took place as part of the stock taking and planning for 2018 and beyond. Panellists included ZUNDAF Co-chairs – UN and Government Senior officials, as well as the Head of UK’s Department for International Development, Ms Annabel Gerry and members of Civil Society, the Private Sector, and Media.


Noting the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF’s contribution on realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending poverty, transforming living standards of the people of Zimbabwe as well as protecting the planet, Dr Misheck J M Sibanda Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet said, “under the principle of national ownership and leadership, the UN has aligned the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF to the national aspirations detailed in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation – Zim ASSET, supporting Government in regularly convening all stakeholders and development partners to guarantee the sustainable development of the country.”


Commending development partners and the UN family for the results delivered under the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF which stands at USD 931 million (58%) in terms of programme delivery at mid-point of the five-year programme cycle, Dr Sibanda said, “it is good to note that, the UN has renewed its collective commitment to support the Government and the people of Zimbabwe to realize their aspirations in the new dispensation as well as supporting national efforts to foster social cohesion, and peace, economic recovery, job creation, improved quality social services, anti-corruption programmes, accelerated reform efforts in the public sector, credible, transparent and peaceful elections in 2018, and re-engagement with the international community.”


UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli said, “ZUNDAF supported development results have been instrumental as catalytic for the achievement of key national development priorities of Zimbabwe and the SDGs.” Mr. Parajuli also noted that the results and resourced delivered under ZUNDAF has been made possible due to the close collaboration with the Government, particularly the Office of the President and Cabinet.


“The generous support of development partners has also been indispensable, of which the major includes: United States of America; United Kingdom; Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; European Union; Germany; Sweden; Japan; Norway; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Equally, our thanks go to the civil society, private sector and the media for their strong partnership”, said Mr Parajuli.


Underscoring the ZUNDAF as a strategic framework fully aligned to Zimbabwe’s national development priorities that brings collective action of UN agencies, Mr. Parajuli said, “at the heart of this contribution is support to the country’s drive towards the achievement of the 17 SDGs by 2030, with an emphasis on principles of equity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.”


Through the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF, the United Nations’ focus has been on six result areas co-chaired by UN Heads of Agencies and Permanent Secretaries of line Ministries: social services and protection, food and nutrition security, HIV and AIDS, poverty reduction and value addition; gender equality; and public administration and governance. Some concrete results achieved under the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF, thus far:

Social Services and Protection, rolled-out a multi-million-dollar Health Development Fund to strengthen health systems and address child and maternal health. Increased enrolment of children with disabilities in primary and secondary education by 24% (from 40,226 to 49,692) and built the capacity of 51,000 school teachers, delivering 104 of 148 syllabuses to all schools nationwide. Expanded harmonised social cash transfer programme, reaching approximately 300,000 people in 23 districts. Some 57,596 children have benefitted from the UN-developed national minimum standards in child protection national case management. Enhanced hygiene and sanitation of approximately 300,000 people in rural and semi-urban areas. This results area is co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and UNICEF Representative.


Food and Nutrition Security: Targeted food assistance and nutrition was provided to over 2.2 million people and efforts were made inbuilding resilience to climate change with an increase of 23% in 2017 compared with 2016 of the number of households benefiting from climate adaptation activities. Achieved an increase of 26% of women applicants registering land jointly with their husbands, thereby reducing gender inequality in access to land. Through a multi-donor, multi-year resilience building fund some 830,000 people in 18 districts are targeted with on and off farm self-initiated projects, of which over 130,000 have so far been supported. This result area is co-chaired by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Development and FAO Representative.


HIV and AIDS: Strategic focus of ZUNDAF has been mainly combating new HIV infections and renewed efforts at eradicating TB, malaria and malnutrition, through a continued emphasis on education and prevention efforts, while providing treatment, care and support to over one million living with the virus. 70% coverage of infants in need of anti-retroviral treatment, as a contribution towards eliminating mother to child transmission. Some 356 health facilities in 20 districts received orientation on provision of adolescent and youth friendly health services. And some 405 health centres received solar power under the Solar4Health initiative to boost services. This result group is led by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the UNAIDS Country Director.


Gender Equality: our efforts have been on addressing the fundamental problems that underlie women’s limited representation in national decision-making bodies, low levels of education attainment, secondary school dropout rates, early pregnancy, child marriage and concerns around gender based violence, and unacceptably high maternal mortality. For instance, 200 community dialogues were conducted to raise awareness on child marriage and other issues. Joint programme to end gender based violence launched, and a multi-year multi-million-dollar new country programme is being designed to end violence against women and girls with support from the global EU-UN Secretary General Spotlight initiative. The Gender Equality results group is co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development and the UN Women Representative.


Poverty Reduction and Value Addition: focus has been on decent work and creating green jobs, especially for young people, is a must for Zimbabwe to nurture a more productive, skilled and competitive labour force as the foundations of a prosperous and stable society. The National Social Protection Policy was adopted following assistance from the UN, and leading to the allocation of USD 1.2million for a pilot Harmonized Cash Transfers (HACT) initiative using a bio-metric system. Human Development Report with focus on climate change has been launched to inform policy and advocacy to address the impact of climate change on health, education, environment and poverty reduction efforts. The Poverty Reduction and Value Addition results area is co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the ILO Director.


Democratic governance and Public Administration: Technical support provided to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on voter registration and implement continuous registration of voters; enhance civic and voter education, and create a dynamic space for inter-party and stakeholders dialogue. Similarly, the UN continues to support the capacity building of the key Chapter 12 institutions, including the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to promote peace, reconciliation, deepen democracy and human rights in the country. The Governance and Public Administration results group is co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentarian Affairs and UNDP Country Director.


Going forward, emphasis for the remainder of 2018 will be on:

  • Forging ahead empowered by the ongoing UN reform which reinvigorates the Resident Coordinator System and enhances the agility of the UN System to support Zimbabwe achieve the SDGs.
  • Sharpen the focus of ZUNDAF as a catalytic framework to boost strategic interventions on social protection, poverty reduction and gender equality for real impact.
  • Work towards creating synergy by reinforcing development coordination and integration, ensuring value for money and synergy.
  • Continue foster strong partnership with donors for increased Official Development Assistance to Zimbabwe, and scale-up engagement with the private sector and build on the tripartite alliance between Government, UN and private sector.
  • During the election season, the delivery of recovery and development projects and programmes must continue unabated to sustain and enhance social and development gains made in the past few years.


The United Nations has pledged to continue to work with an increased momentum to support Zimbabwe in its quest for economic, social and democratic transformation as well as fulfil its international commitments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende