A lifetime opportunity to bid fairwell to poverty | Bishow Parajuli

29 Sep 2015

UNDP Zimbabwe

Today marks a historic moment as world leaders adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 17 SDGs constitute a vision to put people and our planet on a sustainable path by 2030. These goals will form the bedrock of a new development agenda designed to set the world on a course of action to end poverty, transform lives and protect the planet.

In general, enormous progress has been made under the MDGs, showing the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. Yet despite the progress, the indignity of hunger and poverty remains as reality for over 800 million people.

I have learned, from over 30 years of work in humanitarian and development spheres as well as with the United Nations, that setting goals and targets works. Here in Zimbabwe, the MDGs were implemented during a difficult economic period. Zimbabwe has recorded progress in halting and reducing HIV prevalence, which fell from 29.6 percent in 1998 to 14 percent in 2014; increase in anti-retroviral therapy coverage for adults as well as increased coverage of prevention of mother-to-child transmission.

With Government engagement and support from our specialised agencies such as WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF as well as with generous financial support from development partners, Zimbabwe has also reduced the maternal mortality ratio by more than half and a universal literacy rate of 99 percent was achieved.
These achievements exemplify how partnerships can be nurtured along agreed common development goals such as the MDGs. As Zimbabwe implemented the MDGs, development partners injected one billion US dollars a year in Official Development Aid, of which 400 million was channeled through the United Nations System to augment national resources.

Going forward, Zimbabwe is well poised to implement the SDGs. The country has had a series of consultations at both the national and local levels on adaptation and implementation of the goals. Zimbabwe has recognized the need for strong institutions that foster peace, justice and inclusive societies to achieve the SDGs. The national constitution provides for the establishment of key independent commissions which include a national peace and reconciliation commission, through which the country continues to strengthen social cohesion and effective public service delivery.

I believe that taking action to achieve the global goals and building greater shared prosperity is in everybody’s best interest and provides enormous investment opportunities that stand to benefit the people of Zimbabwe. Success will be driven by the Government and the people of Zimbabwe. In fulfilling our shared responsibility to implement the SDGs, I can’t over-emphasize the need to maintain, if not increase, the provision of Official Development Assistance to support developing countries such as Zimbabwe to complement their domestic resources.

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