- A senior United Nations official today begins a three-day mission to Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian situation and meet with government officials, aid workers and donors to map out how the UN can support humanitarian and early recovery activities in the Southern African country over the next year.
Catherine Bragg, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN’s Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, will also jointly launch an appeal for Zimbabwe today with senior officials from the government.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that Ms Bragg’s trip is aimed at reviewing the overall humanitarian situation and studying the linkages between aid work and early recovery efforts by UN agencies and partner organisations.
Zimbabwe has been plagued by widespread humanitarian suffering in recent years, driven in part by long-running political strife.
Meanwhile, the SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Tomáz Salomão formally handed over the activities of the Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Development Assistance Framework to the government of Zimbabwe at a meeting held last Thursday, in Harare.
The Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Development Assistance Framework was launched on 8 January 2009 in Harare, as a mechanism through which assistance given to the country could be distributed to the people in a transparent and non-partisan manner.
The handover of the Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Development Assistance Framework means that all future distribution of the assistance given to Zimbabwe will be carried out by the government of Zimbabwe in close collaboration with key stakeholders in the country.
In his remarks during the handover ceremony, Dr Salomão said that the programme was being handed over to the government because the country had a functional inclusive government which was established in February this year. He said he was confident that the Inclusive Government had the necessary capacity to continue with the programme which had a unique, yet effective approach to the distribution of assistance given to the country.
He said the Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Development Assistance Framework had delivered significant quantities of seed and fertilizer to the small scale farmers in Zimbabwe during the 2008/09 summer season and the 2009 winter season. This had significantly contributed to the total food production in the country. He noted that this year’s total cereals production in Zimbabwe is estimated at 1.5 million metric tones, which represents an increase of more than 100% compared to last year.
Dr Salomão however said that the handover of the programme should not be interpreted as closure of the programme. He said Zimbabwe still needs assistance in agriculture, health and water supply, among others. In this regard he called on SADC Member States and the international community to continue assisting Zimbabwe in order to stabilise all sectors of the economy.
The Acting Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development for Zimbabwe, Ignatius Chombo, received the file of the programme on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe. He expressed great appreciation to SADC Member States for the assistance given to Zimbabwe and said that the assistance has been very crucial in increasing food production and reducing food insecurity in the country.
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