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UN 77th Anniversary: Call for Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges

Mr. Edward Kallon, UN Zimbabwe Resident Coordinator

Zimbabwe today celebrated the 77th anniversary of the United Nations belatedly due to unavoidable circumstances, with a call for transformative solutions to a plethora of challenges.

The UN Day is officially commemorated each year on 24 October – the anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter.

At the event in Harare today, Dr. Emmerson D Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, was ably represented by Honourable Dr. Frederick Musiwa Makamure Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade whose presence was a testimony to the commitment of the Government of Zimbabwe to the ideals, principles, and values of the UN Charter and the strong collaboration with the UN System.

The event was also graced by Members of the Diplomatic Corps as well as Development Partners for the excellent cooperation and partnership and the true spirit of the United Nations.

Also in attendance were UN partners on the ground including traditional, religious, and community leaders; national associations; NGOs; Civil Society Organizations; academia, the media; and the private sector.

In his remarks, Mr. Edward Kallon, the UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe said the United Nations Day offers the opportunity to acknowledge the role and support of our Member States who develop, agree, and implement the frameworks of international law and human rights that are intended to make the world safer and a better place to live not just for the present but future generations.

In the past years, Zimbabwe has played an exemplary role in promoting peace and generously giving refuge to many thousands of men, women, and children fleeing their own countries in fear for their lives.

Zimbabwe’s security forces and civilians have and are serving in many UN peace operations around the world, sometimes paying the ultimate price – their lives.

“We honour such generosity and service offered selflessly by Zimbabweans to humanity. The founding of the United Nations was a solemn pledge to the world’s people to end the scourge of war, and assaults on human dignity, and lead the way to a better future.

“Globally, there have been painful setbacks triggered by the cost-of-living crisis; the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic; violent conflict; geopolitical tensions; growing inequalities; extreme nationalism; and advancing human rights and leaving no one behind. These interlinked challenges have set the world on a watershed moment in which consensus among Member States within the premise of the UN Charter makes it even more critical to delivering transformative solutions. We need today more than ever a reinvigorated, inclusive, and networked multilateralism to address the contemporary multi-layered, interlinked global challenges and investment in transformation,” Mr. Kallon said.

In Zimbabwe, the UN Cooperation Framework (2022 -2026) is aligned with the National Development Strategy and the SDGs with a focus on strengthening national institutions and peoples’ capacities to engage, plan, manage and deliver on their development aspirations.

Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 covering the years 2021-2025 encapsulates the shared commitment to leaving no one and no place behind in delivering concrete development results. The UN through the Cooperation Framework aims to mobilize US$ 2.8 billion to support the implementation of the National Development Strategy with a focus on four pillars – Peace, People, Planet, and Prosperity.

Mr. Kallon is optimistic this will drive transformative, inclusive, and sustainable development, economic growth, gender equality, climate action, and human rights.

Over the years, it has been demonstrated that traditional development assistance in the absence of effective local resource mobilization and national ownership is not enough to achieve sustainable development hence the call not to rely on a system centered around aid and ODA.

“We must convince partners to look at root causes and scalable solutions using ODA to leverage and signal that countries are good investments In this regard, as part of our cooperation, allow me to share a few possible steps that could fast-track our collective efforts in accelerating implementation and achievement of the SDGs in Zimbabwe,” he added.

Un recommended steps in accelerating implementation and achievement of the SDGs in Zimbabwe:

First, A conducive policy environment premised on removing all inequalities, upholding the rule of law, engendering respect for human rights and gender equality, and upholding basic democratic tenets are a critical pre-requisite for sustainable development.

Second, Strong, efficient, and accountable institutional mechanisms for service delivery including an efficient public fiscal management system with robust regulatory mechanisms and quality health and educational services are critical for the achievements of the SDGs in Zimbabwe. In addition, the creation of employment opportunities, especially for youth and women is a critical driver for poverty alleviation.

Third, incentivize the private sector and south-south and triangular cooperation to co-invest in agriculture, infrastructure, energy (clean energy), transport, and ICT to unlock the vast economic potentials in Zimbabwe and optimize value addition, especially in agriculture and the extractive sector through public and private investment, south-south, north-south and triangular cooperation and innovative financing.

Fourth, a commitment to a more sustainable future, where we use the riches of the earth wisely and carefully, always looking out for what we leave to future generations. Responsible use of the abundant natural resources in Zimbabwe that ensures the conservation of biodiversity and reducing carbon footprints is fundamental. The discussions this week at the COP27 Climate Summit in Egypt reiterated the need for change and a renewed commitment for people and the planet with a call for investment in just energy transition, adaptation and mitigation financing, and compensation for loss and damage to tackle the impact of climate change.

As captured in the UN Cooperation Framework, the UN family in Zimbabwe is committed to supporting climate mitigation and adaptation programmes to tackle the scourge of climate change in Zimbabwe.

Fifth, a commitment to safeguarding “Peace”. is the enabler of all other development aspirations. Every Zimbabwean should cherish and promote peace as there can be no development without peace and no peace without development. We must reject the temptation to indulge in violence, noting that non-violence is not a sign of weakness. It is rather the noble, the brave, and the caring who choose the non-violence options to dialogue, negotiation, and mediation that can effectively contribute to peaceful co-existence and prosperity in any society

Therefore, as the country gears towards the harmonized elections in 2023, the United Nations will continue to support the Government and the people of Zimbabwe to strengthen participatory democracy and promote dialogue to ensure a peaceful outcome.

All said and done, social and economic vulnerabilities require a well-articulated social protection mechanism in tandem with economic policies that can generate an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery response that will increase resilience and protect societies from future shocks.

Achieving the SDGs, require investment in building resilience, particularly in rural communities, prioritizing youth development to harness the demographic dividend and empower women. Youth is the present, not only the future. We need to engage them today, as main agents of change and progress because this is the generation that will solve future crises, lead countries, and innovate, particularly in the digital arena.

However, the Government cannot do this alone. In the spirit of multilateralism and global partnership, I call on all stakeholders – national, regional, and international – to come together, so that no one in Zimbabwe is left behind. 2030 is around the corner and we need to put all our efforts into accelerating the implementation of the SDGs in Zimbabwe by:

 

  1. Mobilizing everyone, everywhere to identify risks, set priorities for leadership and galvanize political will; and secure smarter development solutions to ensure no one and no place is left behind and act, individually, collectively, and locally.

 

  1. Demanding urgency and ambition to ensure transitions in policies, budget implementation (not just allocations), institutions and regulatory frameworks to end extreme poverty, win the race against climate change and conquer injustice and gender inequality.

 

  1. Translating ideas into solutions, that expand access and demonstrate the possibilities of ideas that drive sustainable innovation, financial investments, and technology, while mobilising the youths, civil society, the media, private sector, academia, and other stakeholders to push and contribute to required transformation.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende