UN Sustainable Development Summit

Sustainable Development Summit

UN Sustainable Development Summit

From 25-27 September, 2015 the UN Sustainable Development Summit will take place in New York. About 150 world leaders are expected to adopt a new Sustainable Development Agenda, including 17 goals which will build on the work of the Millennium Development Goals.  Log on to http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/summit to keep abreast with what is going on at the Summit.

Furthermore, other events including — General Assembly Debate, Pope’s visit to the UN and the SDG Summit — will be available live and on-demand in the 6 UN official languages on the UN Web TV website (http://webtv.un.org).

UN Security Council Reforms seize Model UN Debate


Above: Nigeria’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Peter Iyamabo (centre) congratulates Autharage Abureni and Fungai Choofamba (second and third from right), the team that represented Nigeria in the Model UN while Tafadzwa Mwale (extreme left) of UNIC and Ambassador David Hamadziripi, Director for Multilateral Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (second from left) look on.

UN Security Council Reforms seize Model UN Debate

The topic of UN Reforms came under the spotlight on Friday, 4 September when students at Midlands State University, Gweru held their Model United Nations (UN) in partnership with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC).

Representing 24 countries across the globe, the students, who are members of the Young Ambassadors’ Forum (YAF) discussed, in a diplomatic manner, the topic “It’s high time the UN Security Council adopts and implements Reforms”.

Speaking at this event, Dr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Minister of Foreign Affairs said the topic “aptly captures and conveys the frustration felt by the majority of the UN Member States at the lack of progress in the ongoing efforts to reform the UNSC.”

“It equally reflects the impatience of several Member States in getting some traction in the negotiations to create a new-look Security Council. Your topic also implicitly acknowledges the complexity of the task at hand and the painstaking process that has been underway for a number of years towards the goal of reforming the UN Security Council,” added the Minister who was represented by Ambassador David Hamadziripi, Director of Multilateral Affairs in the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.

Tafadzwa Mwale, UNIC’s Officer in Charge said one of the advantages of the Model UN is it allows the students exposure to global topical issues and tests their ability to then engage in a discussion around the issue in a constructive and results-orientated manner. This then allows the students to be part of a grand academic tradition that has raised many important global leaders in politics and business.

In addition, the Model UN has afforded the students exposure to the world of diplomacy.
“By the time they come to discuss their topic, the students will have gone through rigorous training on the Model UN process by the UN Information Centre, on how to speak diplomatically, how to negotiate better and on other areas so that they represent the real United Nations General Assembly as much as possible. The students also get to meet with ambassadors and/or embassy officials as they prepare for this event,” Mwale explained.

Minister Mumbengegwi explained that the current negotiations on the reform of the UN Security Council can be traced to as far back as 1993 when the UN General Assembly decided to establish an Open-Ended Working Group to consider all aspects of the question of the increase of the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council. In 2009, the Open-Ended Working Group was replaced by the current Intergovernmental Negotiations.

Below: The Model UN banner.


UNIC Harare commemorates the first-ever day for Albinism awareness

Women living with albinism commemorated the first International Albinism Awareness Day in Harare on 13 June.

Women living with albinism commemorated the first International Albinism Awareness Day in Harare on 13 June.

On June 13, UNIC Harare joined hundreds of Zimbabwean people born with albinism in celebrating their talents and achievements during the first-ever International Albinism Awareness Day. The event, which was held at Harare Gardens in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, was also used to highlight the challenges they face.

The  International Albinism Awareness Day was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014 in response to the “growing international understanding of the need to fight against discrimination and stigma against persons with albinism while also addressing root causes,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his statement to mark the Day.

He noted that although people with albinism can live normal, healthy and productive lives given the right opportunities, “far too many suffer isolation, mutilation and even death because of persistent discrimination and ignorance surrounding their condition.

“Continued reports of gruesome violations, killings and attacks against persons with albinism, including children, women and persons with disabilities, and the elderly, remain a deep concern. Persons with albinism continue to live in fear of their lives. Yet the resilience and courage of the survivors of these attacks and the abilities of persons with albinism, and the degree of commitment of those who work for the enjoyment of their rights is heartening,” said Ban Ki-moon.

According to Talent Maunganidze, a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe University who was also born with albinism, many people with albinism are mistreated.

He said children are labelled “murungudunhu,” a Shona term which is derogatory.  Added to that, the majority of people born with albinism are short sighted and furthermore, most people do not want to associate closely with them. The sun is also their enemy, as it gives them pimples, Maunganidze said, adding that hats help to minimize the amount of sun going to the skin.

In a work environment, they can be employed but not paid said Gibson Gurumani.

“The government should assist by giving us places to live and also with projects so that we can be self sustaining,” he said.

Women born with albinism also face the risk of being raped because of the myth that “if you sleep with a person born with albinism you will get cured, a belief that is false, said Gwen Marange, Alive Albinism Initiative Director.

“We do not heal HIV. It is a myth. We say No to superstitious beliefs,” said Marange.

The United Nations has pledged to continue mobilizing international action to eradicate all forms of discriminatory practices against persons with albinism.

UNIC at the Zimbabwe International Trade-Fair


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The United Nations Information Centre participated in the Zimbabwe International Trade-Fair’ from 29 April to 2 May 2015 as a member of the United Nations Country Group (UNCG). UNIC’s Knowledge Management Assistant, Jabulani Nyamweda attended the week-long Fair.

The United Nations was one of the 611 exhibitors at this years’ Fair. Publications and hand-outs including t-shirts, flyers, card-holders, pens, pencil cases, posters and caps from a number of United Nations Agencies in Zimbabwe were displayed and distributed during the Trade-Fair.

Overall, over 3100 people visited the UN Country Group Stand. These included school-teachers; students from both primary and secondary schools and from universities; researchers; government officials and members of the public.

This 56th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair compared to 654 the previous year.

There were 31 foreign countries at the Fair compared with 27 countries last year.  Some of the foreign exhibitors were China, Germany, USA, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Germany, Zambia, Botswana, Poland, Malawi, Iran, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Japan and Switzerland.

UNIC in World Water Day quiz


Winners of the High Schools Quiz on water, Dzivarasekwa 2 High School pose with their teacher

This year’s World Water Day highlights the essential and interconnected role of water as the UN prepares to adopt a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda in September, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said.

In his annual World Water Day Statement read during activities to commemorate the Day in Harare on 22 March, the UN Secretary General said that among the most urgent issues surrounding water are access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

“Despite progress under the Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, some 750 million people — more than one in ten of the world’s population — remain without access to an improved water supply.  Women and children, in particular, are affected by this lack, as not only is their health compromised, but considerable hours are wasted in the unproductive – and sometimes dangerous – business of collecting water,” he said.

“Our sustainable future is also jeopardized by climate change, which is why United Nations Member States are working hard towards a meaningful, universal climate agreement this December in Paris,” he added.

The Secretary-General said over the coming years, greenhouse gas emissions will have to significantly decline in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change, which include changed weather patterns and the threat of water scarcity in large parts of the world.

To commemorate World Water Day in Harare, UNIC and the Zimbabwe United Nations Association organised a high schools quiz on water. Twenty students from ten Harare based schools participated in the quiz. These included Marlborough High School, Mufakose 4 High School, Mukai High School, St Peters Mbare and Tafara High School.

Running under the 2015 theme Water and Sustainable Development, the quiz posed questions such as “According to the order of the MDGs, which Goal states the need to promote environmental sustainability? Which UN agency specialises in water? “In which year was World Water Day proclaimed?”

The Dzivarasekwa 2 High School team won first prize, followed by Kuwadzana 2 High School in 2nd place and Mufakose 4 High School in third place.

Speaking at this occasion, Percy Mugwangwavari, Planning Engineer in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate said the Ministry recognizes World Water Day as it heightens the need to raise awareness on water related issues. He explained that the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate makes every effort possible to engage all stakeholders, including local authorities, citizens and other organisations on issues to do with water.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly responded by adopting resolution A/RES/47/193 of 22 December 1992 by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water, in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) contained in Chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources) of Agenda 21.

The first World Water Day was observed on 22 March 1993.

UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli speaks during the official launch

UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli speaks during the official launch

UNIC Harare unveils Shona and Ndebele versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

 On 12 February, 2015, UNIC Harare unveiled local language versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event was officiated by the UNIC Harare Director and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli in the UNIC library, where framed copies will remain a permanent feature.

Speaking at this event Mr Parajuli said the event was the “beginning of a long journey.”

“We have only managed to translate the Declaration into two Zimbabwean languages while the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognizes 16 national languages. Together, we will surely get there where our Zimbabwean children and youth will have the opportunity to read the articles of the Declaration in their own mother tongue and apply them in their lives and for the benefit of their communities,” he said.

Mr Parajuli commended the Government of Zimbabwe for its commitment to promote human rights. He cited the Government’s adoption of “a progressive, people centred and rights-based constitution,” saying this was a key milestone in Zimbabwe’s human rights history.

Likewise, Zimbabwe’s participation for the first time in the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, where it accepted and has since been working to implement 130 recommendations made through the UN Human Rights Council is another key milestone.

The UPR is a global process which allows for all countries to mutually review their human rights achievements and challenges every four years.

Mr Francis Munhundiripo, Principal Administrative officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the unveiling came at the right time given that Zimbabwe’s new Constitution recognizes 16 local languages as official languages. He expressed the hope that UNIC and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) would work together to translate and disseminate the document into the other official languages.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Mr Elasto Mugwadi said the launch is an important landmark in the development of fundamental human rights awareness as henceforth, Ndebele and Shona speaking people in this country will be acquainted with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights couched in their mother tongue.”

He said it is our obligation to “bring the awareness of the generality of humankind to their entitlement to these rights and freedoms through various methods including teaching, education and information dispensation in languages which people understand and converse in.”

Following the Launch, UNIC will work with a cross-section of organizations to disseminate the local language versions of the declarations.

Model UN students in informative debate


Model UN participants pose for a photograph with Tafadzwa Mwale of UNIC and Ambassador David Hamadziripi, Director Multilateral Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

For the third time in as many years, UNIC Harare and Bindura University of Science Education partnered to hold the Model UN on 13 November 2014 at the university’s new campus. The topic for this year’s Model UN was ‘Rural Industrialization for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation’.  

Fifty-two (52) second year students pursuing Policy Analysis and Globalization and Development degrees debated this topic from the position of the countries they were representing. This followed months of research at the UNIC library and at embassies, and orientation by UNIC. The end product was a well-researched debate highlighting real issues affecting the 16 countries.

Officially opening the Model UN, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who was represented by Ambassador David Hamadziripi, Director, Multilateral Affairs, in the Ministry cautioned the students not to consider their participation in the Model UN as a ‘mere simulation exercise but as a serious exercise in informing themselves about this critical, topical, national and international topic.”

Speaking at the same event, Tafadzwa Mwale, UNIC officer in Charge presented the background of the Model United Nations, highlighting that it had become very global in nature.

The event was also attended by ambassadors, attaches, lecturers and local government representatives.

At the end of the event Model UN delegates were presented certificates by Tafadzwa Mwale, the Namibian Ambassador to Zimbabwe H.E. Balbina D. Pienaar and Professor W. Parawira, Executive Dean of Science at Bindura University of Science Education.

The Model United Nations with Bindura University of Science Education is now an annual event and will likely incorporate more Faculties in the coming years. In 2012 Bindura University of Science Education students held the Model UN under the theme “ICT and Globalization in the New Millennium’ while in 2013 the Model UN was held under the theme ‘Indigenization and Economic Empowerment.”

UNIC’s Model UN Stand popular during UN Day Commemorations


Government officials, donors, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society and the media were among the groups of people that visited the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) exhibition stand during the commemoration of United Nations (UN) Day on Friday 24 October at the World Health Organizations grounds.

On display was the Model UN which has been held jointly by Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) and UNIC Harare over the past two years.

Bindura University of Science Education students Edmore Dauramanzi, Farai Fenyere and Sympathy Makururu shared their experiences of the Model UN process to stand visitors and explained how they had benefitted academically.

“The Model UN is a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly. Through our Model UN, students took on the capacities of the different countries and they represented those countries’ positions on the topic being discussed, explained Dauramanzi, who was the President during the Model UN held at BUSE in 2012 under the topic i

Farai Fenyere explained that the Model UN had given her insight into how the UN General Assembly operates whilst Sympathy Makururu said he had been exposed to diplomatic processes through the visits they make to embassies in preparation for the Model UN.

The Display mounted by UNIC was part of an information Market organised for this UN Day commemoration with the primary objective of showcasing the partnerships that exist between the more than 23 UN agencies in Zimbabwe and some of their stakeholders.

“As you all know, the creation of the UN 69 years ago was the result of a dream for a world free of violence, discrimination, poverty and diseases,” Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator explained during the formal session of the commemorations.

“Here in Zimbabwe, we are celebrating the 2014 UN Day under the theme “Together Moving Zimbabwe Forward” to showcase the success of our joint collaboration between the Government, donors, the UN, NGOs and the civil society,” the Resident Coordinator explained.

Speaking at the same event, Deputy Chief Secretary to President and Cabinet, Retired Colonel Christian Katsande said “Zimbabwe with the support of the UN and other cooperating partners, has made significant progress in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include improving primary school enrolment and child health, gender party in education and reducing the spread of HIV, TB and Malaria.

More than 250 people attended the UN Day commemorations.

Read more on the following link. http://www.zw.one.un.org/newsroom/news/joint-efforts-revitalise-social-services-new-five-year-un-framework-underway-sustain

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on restrictions applied to travellers from Ebola-affected countries

The Secretary-General is concerned by the recent restrictions put in place in several countries and localities applying to people who have travelled to the main Ebola-affected countries.

He believes that these restrictions have put particular pressure on health care workers and those who have been on the frontline of the Ebola response. Returning health workers are exceptional people who are giving of themselves for humanity. They should not be subjected to restrictions that are not based on science. Those who develop infections should be supported, not stigmatized.

The Secretary-General reiterates that the best way for any country to protect itself from Ebola is to stop the outbreak at its source in West Africa. This requires considerable international health care worker support and in return for this support, we have an obligation to look after them.

New York, 27 October 2014

UNIC Releases Dove to Mark Peace Day

Peace Day Bindura Crowd 2014

Some people clapped while others ululated as a white dove was released into the air by UNIC Harare’s Tafadzwa Mwale. This was the commemoration of the International Day of Peace, 2014 held at Bindura University of Science Education on 26 September.

Prior to releasing the dove, which represents “hope for peace” or a peace offering from one person to another, Tafadzwa Mwale read and distributed English, Shona and Ndebele versions of the UN Generals Message message to mark the Day.

“We ask combatants to put down their arms so all can breathe the air of peace,” said Mr Ban ki-Moon. “Armed conflict causes untold grief to families, communities and entire countries. Too many are suffering today at the brutal hands of warmongers and terrorists. Let us stand with them in solidarity.”

He added that: “Peace and security are essential foundations for social progress and sustainable development. That is why, three decades ago, the United Nations affirmed the right of peoples to peace.”

A moment of silence was observed at noon in remembrance of those killed during war times.

“Peace is much more than the absence of war. It is a practical discipline which aims to change the lives of people in societies they live in,” stressed the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Charles Pfukwa.

He added that universities have a greater opportunity of creating peace globally in fulfilling the vision of the UN, of protecting the rights of the vulnerable.

Speaking at the same event, Blessing Bishau a student at the University of Zimbabwe said, “Peace is an act of goodwill, an expression of tranquillity and unity expressed from within and not from without.”

The International Day of Peace is observed annually around the world on 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

United Nations marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Peace and this year’s theme was “Right of people to Peace”. This anniversary offers a unique opportunity to reaffirm the United Nations commitment to the purposes and principles upon which the Organization was founded. The Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace recognizes that the promotion of peace is vital for the full enjoyment of all human rights.

“Peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with us,” said Senator of the Mashonaland Central, Mrs Mavhunga who was standing in for Senator Mumvuri, United Peace Federation (UPF) Chairperson.

Over 300 people who included government officials, Bindura university lecturers, private sector representatives, Zimbabwe United Nations Association members and university students attended the event.