The Sustainable Development Goals

Teachers with SDG poster

ABOVE: Teachers from various schools in Harare pose with the SDGs poster at the UNIC offices after attending a ZUNA meeting on January 28, 2016. UNIC Harare gave each of the 19 schools a poster as a way of raising awareness to the SDGs.

The Sustainable Development Goals

On 25-27 September 2015, over 160 heads of State and Government, together with leaders of civil society and the private sector, gathered at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York for the adoption of the new sustainable development agenda. This bold and ambitious agenda aims to end poverty and promote prosperity and people’s well-being while protecting the environment over the next 15 years. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted. In Zimbabwe, the United Nations and the Government of Zimbabwe are working to raise awareness of the SDGs and to implement them.

Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change


195 Nations Set Path to Keep Temperature Rise Well Below 2 Degrees Celsius

Paris, 12 December 2015 – An historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in Paris today.

The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.

The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The 1.5 degree Celsius limit is a significantly safer defense line against the worst impacts of a changing climate.

Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.

To reach these ambitious and important goals, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.

“The Paris Agreement allows each delegation and group of countries to go back home with their heads held high. Our collective effort is worth more than the sum of our individual effort. Our responsibility to history is immense” said Laurent Fabius, President of the COP 21 UN Climate change conference and French Foreign Minister.

The minister, his emotion showing as delegates started to rise to their feet, brought the final gavel down on the agreement to open and sustained acclamation across the plenary hall.

French President Francois Hollande told the assembled delegates: “You’ve done it, reached an ambitious agreement, a binding agreement, a universal agreement. Never will I be able to express more gratitude to a conference. You can be proud to stand before your children and grandchildren.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “We have entered a new era of global cooperation on one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause to take common climate action. This is a resounding success for multilateralism.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “One planet, one chance to get it right and we did it in Paris. We have made history together. It is an agreement of conviction. It is an agreement of solidarity with the most vulnerable. It is an agreement of long-term vision, for we have to turn this agreement into an engine of safe growth.”

“Successive generations will, I am sure, mark the 12 December 2015 as a date when cooperation, vision, responsibility, a shared humanity and a care for our world took centre stage,” she said.

“I would like to acknowledge the determination, diplomacy and effort that the Government of France have injected into this remarkable moment and the governments that have supported our shared ambition since COP 17 in Durban, South Africa,” she said. To read more click



Palestine Day commemorated in Harare

Zimbabwe School of Music at Palestine Day

Zimbabwe School of Music at Palestine Day

UNIC and the Embassy of Palestine in Harare on Monday 30th November commemorated the International Day in Solidarity with the People of Palestine.

To commemorate the Day, the Palestine Embassy hosted a reception which was attended by over 23 diplomatic missions, by academics, Palestinians resident in Zimbabwe and, friends of Palestine, among others.

United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli read the statement of the UN Secretary General to mark the event. The statement notes that the 2015 observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People came at a time when security and hope are at a low point.

“A wave of violence has included heinous attacks, stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks causing immense suffering among Israeli and Palestinian families alike.  I condemn such attacks and all acts of violence.  Illegal settlement activities and settler-related violence have continued, along with punitive demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes and structures,” he said.

The Secretary General urged both the Israelis’ and the Palestinians to “play a constructive role towards resolving the conflict” and “reject incitement and inflammatory public statements.”

Speaking at this occasion, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Honourable MP Edgar Mbwembwe urged the Israelis to stop the wanton killings of women and children. He urged the international community to do more to stop the killing of Palestinians.

On 29 November 2012, the State of Palestine joined the United Nations as a “non-Member observer State”. Today, 136 countries recognize the State of Palestine and its flag flies at the United Nations next to those of all Member States.  However, these advances are not felt by children in Gaza, or by the residents of Nablus, Hebron and East Jerusalem.  What they feel instead is a lack of hope that their lives will change for the better and that they will be citizens of a State able to ensure their freedom and well-being through peace with their neighbours, said the UN Secretary General.

This event was organised by UNIC Harare and the Embassy of Palestine.



UN@70 commemorations draw to a close

The 70th year commemorations of the United Nations concluded with the official UN@70 commemoration held at the World Health Organisation and where Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the guest of honour.

The Vice-President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa at the UNIC stand.

Above: Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) visited the UNIC stand with UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe, Bishow Parajuli.

Before officiating, the Vice President took a tour of exhibition stands mounted by UN agencies and also stopped at the UNIC Harare tent where he was given a briefing about UNIC Harare by Tafadzwa Mwale, the NIO.

UNIC displayed historical photographs showing some of its work in the country since opening office in Harare in 1982.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli, also gave a speech at this event which was held under the theme “From Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Over 1 000 diplomats, NGO representatives and UN partners attended this event.

This official commemoration was a culmination of various UN@70 activities held in Zimbabwe which included a UN@70 Family Fun Day and Wellness Day that was open to all UN staff and their families; an educational awareness reaching almost 5 000 pupils from 20 schools in Harare and most of which were officiated by UN agency heads; planting of 70 fruit and indigenous trees by the UNCT at 7 schools in Harare and outlying areas (10 trees per school); and distribution of the ‘Did you Know’ and ‘Preamble to the Charter’ videos to 30 schools.

Traditional dancers at Domboramwari Secondary School in Epworth, Harare celebrating UN@70.

Traditional dancers at Domboramwari Secondary School in Epworth, Harare celebrating UN@70.

UNIC plants trees in ceremony to mark UN@70

UN@70 PLANTING A TREE (Mrs Tafadzwa Mwale, UNIC)

UN@70 PLANTING A TREE (Mrs Tafadzwa Mwale, UNIC)

On 14th October, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) planted the first 10 trees out of a total 70 tress to be planted by the United Nations in Zimbabwe in commemoration of the Organizations’ 70th anniversary.

The trees, which were a combination of fruit and indigenous trees, were planted at Pinewood High School at a ceremony attended by over 300 pupils, teachers, parents and other officials. The tree-planting ceremony coincided with the graduation ceremony for Form 6 pupils at that school.

“As we look back to the 70 years (of the United Nations), we look back on a proud record of achievement – and adaptation to an ever-changing global landscape,” said Tafadzwa Mwale, UNIC Harare National Information Officer and Officer in Charge.

“Here in Zimbabwe the United Nations has been supporting recovery initiatives and development efforts of the Government of Zimbabwe to the tune of USD 400 million per year. For instance through the 2012-2015 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), the UN played a significant role in resuscitating the social services including education, health and the strengthening of national institutions to provide adequate public service. More specifically, the ZUNDAF’s focus has been on enhancing national capacities in six thematic areas in support of national development objectives,” she said.

Some of the UN in Zimbabwe’s achievements in Zimbabwe include the following:

    • Over 747,000 adults and children have access to free anti-retroviral therapy and over 5 million mosquito nets distributed; notably, AIDS-related deaths have declined by about one-quarter due to increased number of people on treatment. Though still high, HIV prevalence has been reduced to 14% from as high as 26%.
  • 1:1 pupil to textbook ratio maintained for all 2.5 million primary and secondary school children;
  • Immunization coverage maintained at 95%, and 90% of all health facilities have 80% of essential drugs.
  • 70% of all health facilities have integrated maternal and new born services.

The United Nations has been operating in Zimbabwe since 1980 at the invitation of the Government of Zimbabwe. It is represented by 25 UN entities which are signatories to the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), working together as one UN Country Team. The United Nations works towards the realization of national development objectives and international development goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals which will supersede the MDGs in 2016. Visit

Pinewood High School presented a UN@70 cake at this event to share in the commemorations.

Pinewood High School presented a UN@70 cake at this event to share in the commemorations.

UN@70 pinewood students

UN@70 pinewood students



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 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 (

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.