Harare – On Monday 18 October in Harare, UNIC joined the rest of the United Nations Country Team in Zimbabwe at a Media Encounter to launch the UN Week in commemoration of United Nations Day.
The Media Encounter was aimed at informing and creating understanding of the activities of the UN in Zimbabwe and strengthening the relationship between the UN and the media. Zimbabwe chose to focus on the MDGs and to follow on the high level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly held 20 – 22 September 2010 which adopted a global action to accelerate achievement of the MDGs by 2015.
On the panel which was moderated by Thomas Deve, Policy Analyst with the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) were Mr. Alain Noudehou the UN Resident /Humanitarian Coordinator, Mrs. Hilda Makamure the Focal point for the Civil Society Coalition on MDGs and Mr. Lancaster Museka, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, on behalf of the Minister, Honourable Paurine Mpariwa.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Alain Noudehou, speaking on behalf of the UN Country Team explained that the topic of the MDGs was chosen because “MDGs underpin many of our (the UN’s) efforts towards sustainable economic development.
He stressed the importance of the United Nations’ joining forces’ with other stakeholders in order to maximize the impact of interventions and capitalize on our strengths. “No-one actor can meet the MDGs alone. Achieving them draws us all together – governments, multilateral agencies, civil society, NGOs and foundations, and the private sector.”
With five years to go to the 2015 deadline Mr Noudehou highlighted the need to consolidate the experiences, lessons learnt and best practices from other countries and adapt to the country’s action agenda. He shared with the audiences an 8 Point action agenda which he said can be adapted to suit the Zimbabwe context:
- Employment-intensive growth is critical for rapid poverty reduction because labour is often the greatest asset owned by the poor.
- Pro-poor and inclusive growth expands the resource base for households, firms and government to invest in the MDGs.
- Supporting agriculture and rural development helps to increase food production and reduce poverty and hunger.
- Investment in school infrastructure and human capital.
- Abolition of user fees leads to increased use of family planning services.
- Targeted interventions for HIV and AIDS reduction.
- Legal and constitutional reforms.
- Women’s economic opportunity successfully accelerates their empowerment
In her speech, Minister Mpariwa expressed Zimbabwe commitment to achieving the MDGs. She said Zimbabwe had incorporated the MDGs into its development planning and the Medium Term Plan, Zimbabwe’s new economic blue print, clearly sets the goals at the centre of the Zimbabwe’s development initiative.
“Notwithstanding the unfavourable economic performance of the economy, Zimbabwe was able to make significant progress in a number of key areas of the MDGs such as attaining Universal Primary Education, halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS, and empowering women and achieving gender parity,” she said.
During the UN Week running from 18-22 October, the UNCT in Zimbabwe were devoted to highlight the role, aims and achievements of the organization through three key activities i.e. the Media Encounter, UN4U Schools Outreach Programme, and Exhibition by the UN agencies followed by a reception.
The focus of the Media Encounter was on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
This year the United Nations celebrates its 65th year, and the coming into force of the UN Charter on the 24th of October 1945. The Global Theme for this year’s UN Day is United Nations works for you or UN4U
Thirteen members of the press from both the Print and Electronic media houses came for the Media Encounter.