[RC's Statement] Joint Government and UN Media Breakfast on UN Day

On behalf of the United Nations in Zimbabwe, I would like to welcome you all to this Media Breakfast, hosted jointly by the Government and the UNCT on the occasion of the United Nations Day.

Today, we are celebrating the 67th anniversary of the United Nations by reflecting together on the aims and achievements of the United Nations.

This media breakfast is one of several activities lined up to commemorate UN Day Celebrations. Other activities include:  1) marking World Food Day and International Day of Poverty Eradication; 2) raising youth awareness on roles and functions of the UN through school outreach activities; and 3) a UN Day Symposium to be held on 5 November.

The UN Day Symposium, organised in partnership with the Government, will be held under the theme of, “Green Economy for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication”.

As you may know, a green economy is defined as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. The symposium will aim to raise awareness and enhance partnerships around these themes.

Over the years, the UN has provided indispensable platforms to tackle complex transnational challenges. These challenges include poverty eradication, promoting human rights, peace and security, and providing humanitarian assistance.

As such, the UN is a place for action not only when crisis looms but also in the face of long-term development issues. The UN does this by pooling its global network of complementary resources.

Alluding to this, the UN Secretary General, in his statement on the day, said, “In carrying out this global mission we rely on countless friends and supporters. Non-governmental organizations, scientists, scholars, philanthropists, religious leaders, business executives and concerned citizens are critical to our success.  No single leader, country or institution can do everything.  But each of us, in our own way, can do something.”

When it comes to promoting development, let us also not forget the critical role played by the media, in informing the public through factual and objective reporting.

Against this background, the UN in Zimbabwe works with many partners, including the media, in support of national development efforts. Through the Zimbabwe UN Development Assistance Framework for 2012-2015, support is provided in the areas of:

• Pro-poor sustainable growth and economic development;
- Supporting major surveys and studies, such as the national census
- Supporting the implementation of the Medium Term Plan 2011-2015

• Food security at household and national levels;
- Facilitating an extensive agricultural input support programme
- Supporting the development of the Food and Nutrition Policy

• Access to and utilisation of quality basic social services for all;
- Strengthening national health systems
- Providing 90% of all health facilities with essential drugs
- Training 10,000 teachers in 2011
- Primary school going children received 15 million text books reaching 1:1 student-text book ratio.

• Good governance for sustainable development:
- Mobilising financial and technical assistance for the Constitution making process
- Facilitating the Universal Periodic Review process

• Universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support:
- Ensuring that about half a million people are receiving HIV treatment
- Supporting national prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programme, with coverage from 22 in 2007 to 53%.

• Women’s empowerment, gender equality and equity:
- Strengthening the capacities of Women Parliamentarians on elections and constitution.
- Supporting rural women  access markets for their goods

In addition, UN agencies, through the Humanitarian Country Team, coordinate and provide assistance to the vulnerable in Zimbabwe in response to humanitarian needs.

For example, the UN is currently preparing to assist 1.6 million food insecure people during the lean season of 2012 and 2013. In addition, UN agencies continue to support efforts to improve water and sanitation as part of our humanitarian assistance programme.

It is against this background that we call upon you the media to continue enhancing your participation and engagement in Zimbabwe’s development processes.

In this respect, you have an opportunity to working closely with the UN Communications Group in Zimbabwe, whose members are represented here. I am informed that you had a good engagement with the group at a recent UN-Media Training Workshop in Masvingo.

What we are therefore seeking is to continue strengthening this partnership in a manner which is mutually beneficial in our effort to promote development issues in Zimbabwe. This media breakfast today is indeed an opportunity for you to engage the Government and all UN Country Team members here present.

To conclude, let me take this opportunity to reaffirm the UN’s commitment to support Zimbabwe in its efforts to achieve its development objectives and the Millennium Development Goals. 

I thank you all for responding to our invitation and wish you a happy UN Day.