Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator | Virtual Consultation with the Government of Zimbabwe on 2022-2026 UN Cooperation Framework strategic priorities

The Cooperation Framework adopts a human rights-based approach while emphasizing gender equality and women’s empowerment, accountability and sustainability.

  • Dr. Sibanda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet
  • Ambassador Kitikiti, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet
  • Senior Government Officials present
  • UN Colleagues

Thank you for making time to join this consultation meeting on the development of the 2022-2026 UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (Cooperation Framework for short).

The meeting aims to agree on the priorities and outcomes of the Cooperation Framework.

The Cooperation Framework will determine the United Nations strategic engagement in Zimbabwe in support of the National Strategic Plan (NDS1) and the achievement of the SDGs.

Four months ago at the high-level review of the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF, we launched the roadmap to develop the Cooperation Framework which will succeed the ZUNDAF next year.

Since then, and against the constraints brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made slow but steady progress that has taken us to this point where we are today to consult on the expected results of the Cooperation Framework, thereby validating their relevance to national priorities.

Let me outline the steps we have taken so far in this process:

  • Government and UN established a joint technical team that is working collaboratively to ensure true ownership of the process and final products. 
  • The UN Country Team has defined its strategic vision for collaborative support to the country over the next five years, through the lens of Zimbabwe’s own vision 2030.
  • We have started work to articulate a robust Theory of Change that will describe the desired change to be brought about by the Cooperation Framework and the pathways to getting there.

In many ways this new generation of Cooperation Framework is central to the success of the reforms of the UN development system that the Secretary-General embarked upon three years ago.

Not only is it helping to ensure that UN activities are closely aligned with national needs and priorities, but it is also aimed at fostering increased collaboration and coherence among the UN family as we plan together, align our programming, increase operational efficiency and ultimately reduce transaction costs and burden, in keeping with the spirit of Zimbabwe’s Development Cooperation Policy.

On the basis of our analysis of the development trajectory in Zimbabwe, and taking into account the mandates, capacities and comparative advantage of the UN, we are proposing four key strategic priority areas (or pillars) and related outcomes for the new Cooperation Framework, they are:

1. People-centered, equitable, human development and well-being

2.  Environmental protection, climate resilience and natural resource management

3. Economic transformation, equitable and inclusive growth

4. Transformative, accountable, equitable and inclusive governance

Before I give the floor to my colleagues who will explain more in depth the interlinkage between these priorities and their alignment with the targets of the NDS1 and the SDGs, please allow me to highlight the foundations on which the Cooperation Framework is anchored.

First, and perhaps most obviously, it articulates the UN’s support to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to ‘build forward better’ ensuring more resilient institutions and systems that are better prepared to anticipate and respond to shocks.

Second, it is firmly rooted in the principle of ‘leave no one behind’ and to ‘reach the furthest behind first’, which is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda and represents the commitment of the UN to address the multidimensional causes of poverty, inequalities and discrimination, and reduce vulnerabilities of the most marginalized in society.

Furthermore, the Cooperation Framework adopts a human rights-based approach while emphasizing gender equality and women’s empowerment, accountability and sustainability as the bedrock of sustainable development.

Going forward, more crucial engagement points in the Cooperation Framework process include:

  • Government and UN to engage on the financing landscape for the SDGs (beyond funding the Cooperation Framework).
  • Government and UN to discuss configuration of the UN system in Zimbabwe to deliver on the ambitions of the Cooperation Framework
  • Government to strengthen more predictable dialogue platforms with partners to facilitate regular consultations.

Chief Secretary, we are acutely aware that we have only ten more years to achieve the SDGs and even less time to reach the NDS1 targets.

COVID-19 has dealt a significant blow to development efforts and is threatening to reverse hard-won gains.

Chief Secretary, COVID-19 can continue to be viewed as a challenge or an opportunity to build forward better.

I want to assure you that the UN remains firmly committed to support national development priorities and the achievement of the SDGs in Zimbabwe.

Thank you.

Ms. Maria Ribeiro, UN Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe 

25 February 2021, Harare


Speech by
Maria Ribeiro
Resident Coordinator
 Maria Ribeiro
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Labor Organization
International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women
International Trade Centre
International Telecommunications Union
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Office for Project Services
Universal Postal Union
World Food Programme
World Health Organization
Other entities involved in this initiative
World Bank
World Bank