Remarks by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet | Zimbabwe UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026 virtual consultative meeting
The UN has and remains our reliable, time-tested and trusted partners in country’s development agenda.
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Maria Ribeiro
Deputy Chief Secretaries
Results Group Co-Chairs
Permanent Secretaries and other Senior Government Officials
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors
UN Country Team
Civil Society Representatives
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is with great pleasure that this virtual consultative meeting has been convened, today, as part of the process of elaborating the Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022 – 2026, which is the successor partnership framework to the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF)
2016 – 2020 that has now come to an end.
It is my fervent hope that this consultative process between Government, the UN and other development partners will result in a comprehensive framework to effectively complement Government in the implementation of national programmes as identified in the new national development blueprint, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1)
2021-2025. I am pleased to note that the participants comprise a broad spectrum of key stakeholders.
As we are all aware, ZUNDAF 2016-2020 was aligned to national development blueprints, the most recent being the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) 2018-2020, which has also been concluded. Realising that there was need to align the successor Framework to a new development blueprint, ZUNDAF was extended by mutual agreement with the UN by one year.
The 2016-2020 ZUNDAF Evaluation Report has been produced and considered to mark the end of the programme. The report clearly outlined the achievements recorded as well as the challenges that were encountered during the implementation period. To account for the extended implementation period the 2020 ZUNDAF Annual Results Review process has commenced. I am reliably informed that this process is progressing well and that all the results groups are convening.
Ladies and Gentlemen, important changes took in Government during the ZUNDAF implementation period. Key was the ushering in of the Second Republic in 2018 which created opportunities to strengthen further the level of cooperation and expedite the development of our country. To this end, Government pronounced the country’s long term development trajectory which aims to create a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030.
Further to this, Government enunciated the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) 2018-2020 and two medium term plans, covering the periods 2021-2025 and 2026-2030, as strategies for the implementation of this Vision. The TSP implementation brought about stability to our economy which was going through a plethora of socio-economic challenges, resulting from inter-alia macro-economic instability; continued illegal sanctions; effects of climate change which caused intermittent droughts and cyclones, such as Cyclone Idai in 2019 and the outbreak of the global pandemic Covid-19 in March 2020.The resultant gains manifested in the exchange rate and price stability which brought about a conducive as well as predictable environment, and relief to the generality of the citizens.
Government is grateful for the support rendered by development partners during this hour of need which resulted in significant progress being registered in resilience building, among communities whose livelihoods were decimated by Cyclone Idai, and effective mitigation of the drought as well as Covid-19 pandemic through humanitarian assistance.
Pursuant to the long-term national development trajectory in line with SDGs, and need to improve overall well-being of all citizens, Government developed, in 2020, the medium-term blueprint, National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1)
2021-2025. The blueprint seeks to consolidate the gains already realised during the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and identifies the key priorities for implementation to enhance development under the Strategy.
The NDS1is a results-based Strategy developed through a comprehensive consultative process involving Government and all key stakeholders, namely business, labour, academia, civil society as well development partners. It clearly defines bold strategies for the achievement of identified outcomes at both national and sector level.
A total of 14 National Priority Areas were, in this regard, identified as followsEconomic Growth and Stability; Food Security and Nutrition; Transport, Infrastructure and Utilities; Governance; Moving the Economy up the Value Chain and Structural Transformation; Housing Delivery; Health and Wellbeing; Human Capital Development; Environmental Protection, Climate Resilience and Natural Resource Management; Image building and International Re-engagement; Devolution; Social Protection; Digital Economy; and Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture. The modality for effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation ofNDS1 was also developed. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the fraternity of development partners led by the UN for the technical and financial support in the development of NDS1.
The UN also supported production of the National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy and National Monitoring and Evaluation Guidelines which will enhance monitoring and evaluation of NDS1.While this provides a broad policy framework and guidelines, cross cutting issues such as gender and development, youth, women and the elderly are also taken into consideration.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I note with appreciation that the process of formulating the new cooperation framework has begun in earnest. Government recognises that this is a United Nations process. However, as with its predecessor ZUNDAF the current process should also reflect joint planning with Government and hence Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (ZUNSDCF).
Initial consultations have already identified the following four (4) broad priority areas of focus informed by NDS1:Human development and well-being; environmental protection, climate resilience and natural resource management; economic transformation, equitable and inclusive growth; and transformative, accountable, equitable and inclusive governance. The priorities also take into account the comparative advantage of the UN development system in Zimbabwe to address these priorities and the challenges highlighted by the Common Country Analysis (CCA) that has been undertaken by the UN in Zimbabwe.
As with its predecessor, the new cooperation framework is to be informed by the national blueprint, NDS1. In this regard, our discussion should align the priorities in the sustainable development cooperation framework to national priorities in NDS1 so that they speak to each other to achieve equitable growth in our economy towards Vision 2030. Already, the National Vision is aligned to SDGs and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as well as SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) to ensure that there is harmony with the international and regional strategies for development. It is time for the global community to move beyond meeting basic human needs and to accelerate efforts to promote dynamic, inclusive and sustainable development.
As Government, we value the partnerships and resources that the UN convenes and mobilizes. While Zimbabwe acknowledges its primary responsibility for the attainment of its development objectives and commitments to the SDGs, we as a country remain open for engagement to allow international partners to play their role and honour their commitments to support country-led strategies. The UN has and remains our reliable, time-tested and trusted partners in country’s development agenda. I strongly believe this meeting will allow us to articulate our shared responsibility, collaboration and further sharing of views on our aspiration of becoming an upper middle-income society.
Our position was clearly reiterated and amplified in 2020 by His Excellency the President, Cde E D Mnangagwa at the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly. The Government will continue to push forward key reforms and developmental priorities to enhance structural economic transformation; inclusive and people centred development; environmental sustainability as well as peace and security for all.
Furthermore, the Government’s focus has and will continue to be on enhancing productive capacities for sustainable development, notably in the areas of infrastructure, climate proofing agriculture, retooling industrial capacity; value addition and beneficiation; ICT and e-governance solutions and service delivery; youth development and engagement; women’s empowerment; and sustainable natural resource management.
The good rains received promise a good harvest this season which will ensure food security for the majority of households that have been dependent on food handouts for their survival. In addition, it will expedite economic recovery as our agro-based industry is dependent on agriculture for the bulk of its raw materials, create employment opportunities and improve livelihoods of our citizens. Notwithstanding, the effects of excessive rains in some areas will need to be assessed.
The Government is concerned by the raging COVID-19 pandemic which reached national health crisis level and its social and economic impacts in undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The process of acquiring the Covid-19 vaccines from China and Russia is a most welcome and timely intervention which is expected to contain its deadly effects that has seen many families lose their loved ones. Government priority remains focussed on the protection of the lives of our people and recovery of the economy. The role of development partners during this period can therefore, not be over-emphasised.
All said and done, to achieve the 17 SDGs require significant scale up of SDGs aligned investment and demands more than what government alone can provide, and thus broader collaboration between government and development partners and the private sector. The partnership, therefore, is vital in steering cooperation towards accelerated SDGs delivery.
At this juncture, allow me to thank the UN and all development partners for support rendered to date. The support has no doubt been critical in complementing Government efforts in the successful implementation of national development programmes.
With these remarks I thank you all for your attention.
Dr M J M Sibanda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet
25 February 2021, Harare