[RC's Statement] On the Launch of the 2013 Zimbabwe Humanitarian Gap Appeal

I am pleased to welcome you all to the launch of the Zimbabwe Appeal for critical humanitarian gaps in 2013.

I want to particularly thank the Government of Zimbabwe, and all humanitarian actors with whom we have worked closely in the past year to reach consensus on what defines key humanitarian gaps.

I also want, at the outset, thank the humanitarian donors for their funding of the 2012 humanitarian appeal which stood at US $196.9 million (representing 83% of the funds requested).  In terms of percentages, this was the best funded appeal globally.

The 2013 Appeal, replaces the traditional CAP.   It is an innovative appeal because it is different by design, representing only few clusters compared to the past fully-fledged consolidated appeals processes we have been launching in Zimbabwe since 2006. The 2013 Appeal demonstrates a positive change on the humanitarian landscape in the country with fewer humanitarian needs presented and foreseen. 

In planning for the 2013 appeal, we went through a rigorous consultative process with the government, NGOs, UN agencies and donors to assess which humanitarian clusters continue to face major humanitarian challenges in the transition period the country is going through.   As a result, humanitarian actions for the year 2013 are only planned for four clusters: Food, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Health and Protection. 

As you are aware, the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has continued to improve and remains largely stable. This is due to the concerted effort by the Government of Zimbabwe, donors and other stakeholders to address the humanitarian needs the country has faced over the past few years. 

Despite these positive gains, some humanitarian challenges remain. The majority of the remaining challenges are related to food insecurity.  Others include assisting population affected by sporadic outbreaks of waterborne diseases, and providing humanitarian aid to a range of highly vulnerable groups. 

We have gathered here to profile these needs and seek your concerted efforts to ensure that we continue to respond appropriately. Our joint efforts to address the remaining humanitarian needs will ensure that the gains we have made in the Agriculture, Nutrition, Education and livelihoods Clusters -- which have now been deactivated -- can also be replicated in the four remaining critical clusters in 2013.

Last year, drought affected the southern part of the country, and the effects on food security are continuing into 2013. The impact of this drought is especially felt in the livestock and agriculture sectors. The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee estimates that over 1.6 million people will be requiring food assistance at the beginning of this year 2013. 

Inadequate access to clean water and unsafe hygiene practices result in Zimbabwe continually facing outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and acute diarrhoea in both urban and rural areas. Although the impact of disease outbreaks has been at much lower levels than previous years we must redouble our efforts to avert any deaths through preventative and rapid response initiatives.

The onset of the rains presents opportunities for drought relief, but at the same time compromises hygiene and sanitation practices in some communities that face risks of waterborne diseases. Flooding also remains probable and requires strengthened monitoring capacities, early warning and when need arises requires our ability to respond timely and effectively.

The 2013 Humanitarian Appeal therefore provides a common framework of action planned for the year 2013.

We are appealing for US$131 million this year to address the outlined needs in Food, WASH, Health and Protection as well as Coordination. Approximately 80% of this year’s request will be devoted to food security.   The total requested in 2013 represents approximately half of the amount requested for the 2012 CAP.  This reduction in the funding request demonstrates a clearer focus for humanitarian action and stronger linkages with recovery and development programming. To deal with urgent needs that may arise outside our prognosis presented in the appeal document, we are expanding the scope and he strategic setup of the existing Emergency Response Fund (ERF) to address unforeseen needs in 2013. This approach aims to ensure that remaining humanitarian needs are addressed while consolidating the gains made towards recovery and development through the appropriate mechanisms.

I take this opportunity to call upon members of the donor community to support both the actions planned in the 2013 Appeal and the ERF.

Looking ahead, disaster preparedness and risk reduction will form a core part of our work during this transition period in Zimbabwe.  I welcome recent developments regarding Contingency Planning processes at national level starting with the workshop held on 22 November last year. These consultations have cascaded down to the provinces, and this must be strengthened at all levels as part of the broad risk reduction agenda.

For national preparedness and response capacities, our work with the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) at national, provincial and district levels would be critical.  As such, support will be provided to the Department of Civil Protection on contingency planning and the implementation of the Disaster Risk Management Strategy.

I urge you all to cooperate with, and support this cornerstone Department, in disaster risk management and coordination of humanitarian response.

In conclusion, I want to acknowledge with gratitude the excellent work by all humanitarian partners to develop this simpler and more agile planning and resources mobilization tool. The 2013 appeal is a result of our common efforts to adjust and adapt to the evolving context in Zimbabwe.   It is my hope that the prevaling collaborative spirit, and our collective commitment to fund and support the remaining humantraian needs will be suatained during 2013.     

I thank of you all for taking part in this launch and look forwrad to working with you in this new year.