There are 10 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the Government through the Ministry of Macroeconomic Planning and Investment Promotion, has prioritized for implementation. The justification for prioritizing being that these were found to have a spiral effect of causing progress in the remaining 7 SDGs. It is critical to further deliberate on the methodology, which the country used in determining the 10 as the most important that the country needed to focus on.
By : National Association of Non Governmental Organizations (NANGO)
Firstly, it is critical to note that the Sustainable Development Goals are global goals that the countries worldwide are supposed to customize and develop strategies on, so that come 2030 these goals would have been met.
It is not only the figures that the country should look at, but also the real change that need to be brought about by these global goals. There are fundamental issues that we need to look at as the country lays the foundation for attainment of the SDGs. It is critical from the onset to ensure that No One is Left Behind in the SDGs agenda.
The Leave No One Behind has been popularized in various platforms with the Leave No One Behind fast becoming a movement now. However, there is need to ensure that there is a strategy which has been put in place to ensure that really no one is left behind. There are sectors that traditionally are always left out of the national process and if they are included, their inclusion is usual cosmetic. For instance, What role will children, persons with disabilities, youths, women, minority groups such as the Doma community down in Mbire, informal sector, and many other disenfranchised groups play as SDGs are deliberated and possibly implemented? How will these vulnerable groups be impacted on by the SDGs is very important to be understood and be considered.
Development economists argue that growth of the economy is not sufficient but there is need to ensure that the growth has impacted the lives of the disenfranchised and the poor. The government needed to develop a deliberate framework, which ensure the agenda lead to development outcomes for these without which the process will fall into the same path of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In times of economic challenges it is the vulnerable who are negatively impacted the most. During the era of the MDGs (2000-2015) Zimbabwe went through a prolonged period of economic meltdown which saw Gross Domestic Product (GDP) halve and hyper-inflation reaching 231 million percent by July 2008,and the impact was dire to the vulnerable groups.
It is therefore imperative that during this SDGs era, the government provide a conducive environment, which promotes growth of the economy, with a clear pro poor focus and bias.
Clear prioritization of SDGs, is essential to optimizing development efforts and impacts. The government should ensure that these prioritised SDGs underpin economic success and are backed by progressive, complementary and consistent policies. This is critical in laying the foundations for attaining the SDGs. Such initiatives need to be premised on a sustainable, broad-based, inclusive, pro-poor, and gender-sensitive economy that delivers decent jobs, economic opportunities for citizens to realise their full capabilities. This is central to poverty eradication, food security, empowerment and sustained human development. The effective SDGs framework accompanied by progressive policies would be key to address all the facets of development, including: enlarging the economic cake; equitable re-distribution of the key means of production, inclusive economic transformation and the economic empowerment of indigenous people; governance; and other human rights issues. These are and will always be fundamental in laying an effective framework for SDGs attainment above the prioritisation of the 10 SDGs.
Sifelani Tsiko in Victoria Falls
“Our slogan should be from a cotton field to a factory that produces a shirt, from animal leather to a shoe factory…from fruit to fruit juices and not to send your fruits only to import fruit juices,” says Mr Frederick Shava, permanent representative of Zimbabwe to the United Nations.
Mr Shava who is also the president of the Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc), the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development, says growing crops and exporting them in their raw form, without adding value will simply perpetuate poverty making it difficult for most developing countries to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at a global experts meeting on agriculture and agro-industries development in Victoria Falls recently, Mr Shava said value addition, industrialisation and beneficiation can help create sustainable growth in agricultural industries that can provide opportunities for increasing economic benefits for the majority of smallholder farmers who are trapped in poverty.
Africa and most other developing countries, he says, need to take a broader approach to development that targets the entire market system – from crop production, processing and manufacturing to marketing and distribution.
“We are happy and proud that Zimbabwe can host such a high profile global meeting on agriculture and agribusiness. Zimbabwe is a peaceful country, it’s a good destination for investment, tourism and discussing ideas that can positively influence global debates on sustainable development,” says Mr Shava.
Zimbabwe is hosting the United Nations Economic and Social Council this week to find ways of strengthening innovations and investment in agriculture and agro-industries across all countries.
The country was chosen to lead the 54-nation Ecosoc at the 71st Session of the General Assembly last September.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the UN, Mr Shava now heads Ecosoc after taking over from Oh Joon, an ambassador of South Korea.
The expert group meeting aims to maximise the participation of top policy and technical experts on agriculture and agro-industry from all countries, particularly African and the countries in special situations, as well as relevant representatives from non – state actors.
Recommendations and conclusions will inform the Ecosoc Special Meeting to be held at the UN headquarters in May 2017.
The expert group meeting on agriculture and agro-industry here in Victoria Falls is the second preparatory meeting focusing specifically on agriculture and agro-industry.
The first preparatory regional meeting on Infrastructure and Industrialisation in developing countries was held in Dakar, Senegal in March this year.
Smallholder farmers in Africa and most other developing countries are still mired in poverty and are unable to feed themselves owing to constraints they face in accessing inputs, farm technologies, extension services, finance, markets and beneficiation from value addition chains.
Global experts say to lift the farmers out of poverty, it is imperative to focus more on the two billion people who live and work on small farms in the developing world.
They say the best way to support these smallholders has less to do with things they can do to improve their farms but more to do with the systems in which they operate.
The experts were unanimous that farmers must be supported to access knowledge that enhances productivity inputs and tools.
To create sustainable growth in agricultural industries, that can provide opportunities for increasing economic benefits for farmers now and in the future, they say.
Governments, UN agencies, the private sector and all other key stakeholders need to take a broader approach to development that targets the entire market system.
Ms Carla Mucavi, director of the FAO Liaison Office in New York, who represented the director-general, Mr Jose Graziano da Silva, said agro-industry development was crucial in achieving several SDGs.
“Agro-industry development has strong multiplier effects as it can simultaneously generate decent jobs, increase profits and create markets for value-added food products. It will also be key in delivering safer, more affordable, reliable, convenient, and nutritious food to urban markets,” she said.
Experts at the Ecosoc meeting also say the transformation of the agricultural sector through agro-industries development is critical.
They say if the private and public sectors combine their respective strengths and responsibilities, agro-industry development will become one of the primary drivers for achieving the SDGs.
Emphasis on technology transfer, sustainable funding, together with good agriculture and manufacturing practices, can also accelerate countries’ poverty reduction and food security efforts, the experts say.
Speaking at the three-day meeting, Minister of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Dr Obert Mpofu said agricultural development was essential to eliminating hunger and malnutrition.
“Higher agricultural productivity and more efficient markets for agricultural products reduce food prices, thereby enabling access to food for the poorest rural and urban dwellers,” said Dr Mpofu.
Other experts bemoaned the lack of political will, financing, support for research and development in agriculture, poor inter-Africa trade, over reliance on outdated approaches to development, lack of agricultural technologies and poor adoption of modern farm technologies.
The share of inter-Africa trade for agriculture and livestock products is 12 percent and 87 percent is from the rest of the world.
“We have to do more to increase the share of inter-Africa trade to develop our agro-industrial sector,” says Mr Julius Ecuru, a Kenyan-based value chain expert.
“In the European Union, the share of inter-trade is 60 percent and as Africa we need to improve this so that our farmers benefit more from value addition chains and increased business.”
Experts say too many agricultural development programmes focus on increased productivity without enough thought about how those products will be sold and processed competitively, through the business cycle.
Large-scale processors have dominated the agri-processing sector and experts say African governments need to push for the establishment of smaller, labour – intensive plants located near farming areas that could operate at a lower cost, produce a high-quality product and create jobs in rural communities.
This, they also say, could create a reliable local market for the farmers, who could be incentivised to improve the quality of their product.
“We have to have productive areas that generate jobs in Africa. Governments can’t create the jobs anymore. About 80 percent of jobs lie in agriculture and we need to take practical steps to lift our farmers out poverty by investing more in agriculture and agro-industrial development,” says Mr Gerardo Patacconi, acting director of agri-business development at UNIDO.
He says agribusiness promotion is key in the attainment of SDG 9 which focuses on the attainment of goals on value addition and job creation.
“About 40 percent of production from agriculture does not reach the consumer. We produce but at the end of the day the food does not reach the consumer. Postharvest losses are huge and we have to focus more on the big value that comes from processing and manufacturing and that’s where Africa should focus more.”
To develop agribusiness in developing countries, experts called for improved financing, profiling R & D and innovation, creation of an enabling policy for agriculture and agro sector, infrastructure development, collective action, improved support for small farmers, improved adoption of new technologies, revamping the regulatory environment and promoting cross-border linkages to link farmers into regional markets rather than relying on volatile global markets.
In addition, they say increased private sector involvement, provision of incentives, extension services, raising the profile of agriculture in the national psyche and allowing titles to land can also help drive agro-industrial development.
“Implementation is key. We must make sure we apply what we have learnt, what has worked and what is possible,” says Mr Augustine Wambo of NEPAD.
“We can’t afford to remain at the theoretical level but we have to move to a practical level.”
Adds Mr Jerome Afeikhena of FAO: “There is a lot about what needs to be done and less about the how. The devil is in the hows, of how things are done.”
However, Mr Shava remains optimistic: “I’m very optimistic about the outcome of the meeting here in Victoria Falls. Certainly, the recommendations will give a strong push for export-oriented agri-business, agro- beneficiation, value addition and for all strategies that will help lift our farmers out of poverty.” – Zimpapers Syndication.
https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2017/04/23/agenda-2030-sustainable-development-goals-time-act-now/he Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known, as global goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The Heads of State and Government, in 2015 unveiled the 17 SDGs building on the successes and lessons of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while including new areas such as climate, economic, inequality, innovation, sustainable energy consumption, peace and justice among other priorities. The goals are interconnected; often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
By Sindiso Moyo
The SDGs came into effect in January 2016 and they will continue to guide global developmental agenda for 15 years up to 2030. The legacy of the MDGs provides nations with valuable lessons and experience to work on the SDGs. But for millions of people around the world the MDGs remains unfinished business. For instance Zimbabwe need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child into school beyond primary. The SDGs are therefore an urgent call to shift the world onto a more inclusive sustainable development path.
At regional level, progress on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was not uniform, however there was notable progress in others areas such as improvement in enrolments children in primary schools, particularly girls, increasing the representations of women in parliament, and reducing child and maternal deaths and the proportions of people infected by HIV.
Building on this progress, several African countries are taking steps to translate the ambitions articulated in the 2030 agenda into tangible outcomes for their people through integrating the SDGs into their national visions and plans.
SDGs Prioritization in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has since developed the Country Position Paper on SDGs, which articulates the roadmap the country has developed to ensure that the country will effectively implement and coordinate programs around the SDGs. The position paper highlights that the government has decided that it will implement all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as they are all important to the country. The prioritization exercise is said to be guided by the country’s vision, the need to focus on enabling Goals, resource availability and our unfinished business in the MDG’s.
However, in terms of focus and prioritisation, Government has decided that it will focus and prioritise the following ten SDGs:
• Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment;
• Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all;
• Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture;
• Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation;
• Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all;
• Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
• Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development;
• Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages;
• Goal4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all; and
• Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Achieving the SDGs requires the partnership of governments, private sector, civil society and general citizens alike to make sure that No One Is Left Behind and that whatever benefits that are realised out of this development initiative at global, regional and national levels are enjoyed by everyone. As such the National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) feels Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has more role to play in complementing the efforts of the government in achieving the SDGs; and also in playing their traditional watchdog role to ensure that the government delivers its developmental obligations and promises to the people. In this regard, NANGO has since developed a framework to enhance the monitoring and programming of members around the SDGs. The role of CSOs is key in ensuring that by 2030 the country will achieve the majority of the SDGs and its ultimate objective. (In our next article we will give a critique of the prioritisation and justification of the 10 SDGs by the Government of Zimbabwe.)
29 March 2017, Harare – A high level meeting jointly convened today by the Government and the United Nations brought together some 150 senior officials from Government, UN, Development Partners and Civil Society Organizations to validate programme results achieved under the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF).
Noting the strong partnership between the Government and the United Nations Development System,
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr. Misheck J Sibanda said, “On behalf of the Government, I would like to thank the development partners for their generous support and the UN for a fruitful collaboration under the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF in pursuit of improving the lives of the citizens of Zimbabwe.”
The 2016-2020 ZUNDAF, co-chaired by Government and the United Nations, supports national development efforts in six result areas. The six result areas, fully aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are Social Services and Protection; Poverty Reduction and Value Addition; and Food and Nutrition. The remaining three areas are Gender Equality; HIV and AIDS; and Public Administration and Governance.
Addressing participants at the review meeting, Mr. Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator said, “In 2016, with a generous financial support from development partners and under the leadership of the Government development results worth USD 403 million were delivered through the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF contributing to national development priorities and addressing humanitarian challenges.”
“The results show strong partnership among Government, UN and Development Partners, in this regard I wish to express my utmost gratitude for the partnership particularly to the donors for their consistent generous financial support amid competing global priorities,” said the UN Resident Coordinator.
The following highlights are key results achieved in the first year implementation of the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF in support of national development priorities:
- In the social services and protection result area a multi-million-dollar health development fund commenced implementation to strengthen health systems, address child and maternal health.
Enrolment of children with disabilities in primary and secondary education increased by 24% (from 40,226 to 49,692). National Social Security Strategy was launched and cash transfer to over 55,000 vulnerable households was maintained. In an effort to enhance hygiene and sanitation over 58,000 household latrines have been constructed.
- In response to the severe drought that hit the country in 2016, the focus of food and nutrition security result area was redirected to life-saving assistance which supported two million people with food assistance; close to 140,000 vulnerable people were also supported with community asset building programmes.
- In the HIV and AIDS results area, over one million people living with HIV have been provided with anti-retroviral therapy enabling them to lead healthy and productive lives. Prevention efforts through male circumcision; awareness raising; and called-up voluntary counselling and testing has stopped the epidemic on its tracks and has been on a down spiral trend.
- On gender equality and women empowerment, with a concerted multi-stakeholder national advocacy child marriages have been banned and national action plan on ending child marriages has been put in place. Joint efforts have strengthened the capacity of women parliamentarians. In an effort to mainstream gender equality into the national financial inclusion strategy, eight women banks have been established.
- In the areas of public administration and good governance, extensive national multi-stakeholder consultation during the second Universal Periodic Review process has resulted on successful participation of Zimbabwe at the UN Human Rights Council session and accepted 142 recommendations for implementation. Collaborative efforts are moving forward with the alignment of laws to the constitution, capacity building on treaty bodies, and establishing and strengthening the capacity of independent institutions including human rights; gender; election; peace, healing and reconciliation; and media commissions.
- On poverty reduction and value addition result area, Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy for 2016-2018 has been formulated and implementation commenced, National Labour Migration Policy and diaspora policy to engage Zimbabweans who live abroad in their national development have been reviewed. Government, UN and Development Partners have also began implementation a multiyear and multi-donor resilience programme, which so far supported over 86,000 households in vulnerable districts in the country aiming at income generating opportunities (both on and off farm), markets and value chains, services delivery and community-based natural resources management.
In addition to the development programmes, joint Government, UN, Development and Humanitarian Partners developed Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) covering April 2016-March2017 and provided effective humanitarian support to nearly two million vulnerable people (65% of the overall HRP target) affected by drought with USD 215 million.
Going forward, under the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF, joint efforts will continue to building and strengthening of national capacities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and reduce underlying causes of vulnerabilities to external shocks as a result of climate change such as recurrent droughts and flooding.
Media Contact: Sirak Gebrehiwot, UN Communications Specialist, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Cell #: +263 772 198 036
By Wallace Mawire
Empowering women and girls could help Zimbabwe achieve at least eight of the 17 global goals for sustainable development including health, poverty, education, nutrition and violence against women and girls, according to Ekenia Chifamba, Director of Shamwari Yemwanasikana, an organisation in Zimbabwe based in Chitungwiza working on comprehensive strategies to empower the girl child.
Chifamba said at a belated International Women’s Day (IWD) commemoration event held at a colourful ceremony in the Harare gardens that through effective partnership,Zimbabwe can lead the way to change given the scale and complexity of violence against women and girls as this cannot be ended by politicians alone.
“All actors, from lawmakers and community leaders, to the media, civil society actors and the girls themselves, have a role to play in making gender based violence history,” Chifamba said.
Also, due to her dedicated work in the area of women’s empowerment, especially the girl child, Ekenia Chifamba was recently sworn in as a full member of the Anti-Domestic Violence council of Zimbabwe.
“Through this appointment, the onus will be upon me and other council members to advance women’s issues, empower women and girls and empowering the nation,” Chifamba said.
Some of the activities of her organisation include mobilising families and communities as agents of change, providing adequate
services, and advocating for a legal framework that protects girls from all forms of abuse and its negative consequences.
She also urged government to work closely with civil society and other actors to protect all girls at risk and provide support to them so that they are holistically empowered.
Chifamba said that Gender Based Violence (GBV) curtails Zimbabwe’s development and economic prosperity by denying millions of girls, who will be future women, the education and opportunities that would have empowered them to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
This year’s IWD commemoration was observed under the theme: Be Bold for Change. The belated event was also graced by the organisation’s partners like UNFPA and the ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development.
By Byron Mutingwende
The need to prioritise the issues of poverty alleviation, democratic governance and peace building, climate change and disaster risk, and economic inequality as espoused under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) led Zimbabwean civil society organisations to converge in Harare to critique the popularisation of this development agenda.
In her welcome remarks, Judith Kaulem, the Executive Director of the Poverty Reduction Forum Trust (the workshop organisers), said that the ambition of the SDGs was to integrate the action to eliminate poverty, with efforts to better manage the natural environment while leaving no one behind.
“The Poverty Reduction Forum Trust seeks to ensure that the broader civil society sector in Zimbabwe demands greater accountability for the implementation of all the 17 SDGs for poverty reduction and sustainable development to be achieved, and that as CSOs, we are able to provide cutting-edge policy advice to the government for the realisation of the SDGs. It is against this background that in a bid to popularise and localise the SDGs, PRFT brought together CSOs from across all sectors to deliberate on their aspirations and contributions towards the realisation of the SDGs,” Kaulem said.
Simba Mukanganise, a Development Officer of the National Council of Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe said that there was a cycle of disability and poverty, with persons with disabilities being among the poorest and people in poverty being at greatest risk of acquiring a disability.
He said that women and girls with disabilities were among the poorest and most marginalised. He cited Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which recognises the responsibility of countries that have ratified the convention to include persons with disabilities in their international development efforts.
“In Developing countries, including Zimbabwe, there is inadequate information on disability, translating to limited information on which to base advocacy, policy development and eﬀective resource mobilisation and utilisation,” Mukanganise said.
The available global statistics on disability is worrisome. Currently, 15% of the world’s population have disabilities and 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries. There are 93–150 million children under 15 years of age with some form of disability worldwide. Children with disabilities are much less likely to attend school than children without a disabilities. In developing countries, only 5%–15% of people who require assistive devices/technologies receive them. The cost of health services exacerbates the poverty level for persons with disabilities.
Over and above that, 20 million women a year acquire a disability as a consequence of pregnancy and childbirth, mainly due to poor birth practices and lack of access to appropriate health care services. While equally at risk of HIV and AIDS, for a variety of reasons persons with disabilities do not have equal access to HIV and AIDS information, education and prevention services. Over 884 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, which is a fundamental right for all people and is especially important for persons with disabilities.
Mukanganisa said that the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Section 23) protects the rights and dignity of Persons with Disabilities and promotes and supports the full equalisation of opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and their integration in society, within a social model and human rights framework.
Despite efforts by government in developing enabling legislation, transforming the state machinery and putting structures in place to be representative and responsive to the developmental needs of the Persons with Disabilities, the majority of Persons with Disabilities are still exposed to restrictive environments and barriers that continue to marginalise and exclude them from main stream society and its social and economic activities.
“The core developmental social services categories of prevention, education, training, placement, rehabilitation, protection, continuing care and mental health, and the levels of intervention, such as prevention, early intervention, and statutory interventions and after care remain negligible.The result thereof has been lack of effective protection programmes that are based on and responsive to the needs of Persons with Disabilities, a lack of focus on children and women and inadequate support to NGOs providing services to Persons with Disabilities.”
The National Coordinator of the Women’s Coalition, Sally Dura, said that there are developmental challenges confronting the women’s rights sector.
Dura bemoaned the absence of data on the status quo of development trends on women and girls. One thorny issue was the margination of women and girls in development processes and decision making (the deliberate systematic exclusion and invisibilisation of women and girls as key actors in development).
“I am appalled by the violence against women and girls in private and public spaces as well as the limited capacity of state and non state duty bearers to be responsive to the women’s rights agenda. A plethora of social and cultural norms is hindering the realisation of rights of women and girls,” Dura said.
The women’s rights proponent hailed the SDGs for recognising the disparities of opportunity including wealth and power and gender inequality; realising that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution to progress across all the Goals and targets.
Goal 5 seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; while gender is mainstreamed in all the other goals. The SDGs support gender-sensitive development strategies; seek to eliminate gender disparities in education, encourage states to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by gender amongst others.
“The implementation of SDGs is a collective responsibility in which the government, civil society, private sector and citizens should work together in a collective and holistic manner for sustainability. Leaving No Woman or Girl behind means taking on board men and boys and all stakeholders beyond the women’s rights sector. With a clear strategy, conducive environment and sustained momentum it is possible for progress to be practical, realistic and reach every Zimbabwean where SDGs grows beyond lip service to being a life style of accountability, action and sustainable development ,” Dura added.
The National Coordinator of Caritas Zimbabwe, Christopher Mweembe said that development initiatives were hampered by the unstable economic environment. In addition, he said that the social delivery had collapsed resulting in the suffering of people who cannot afford accessing primary health services, education, affordable housing, a clean environment, road network maintenance and a clean water delivery.
“There is an opportunity to use the global goals as a tool to shape our work based on our values of solidarity, stewardship and options for the poor so we can improve our planet through transformative action and prayer at local and national level,” Mweembe said.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya, the Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said that the media should be included (and participate) in national, regional and international platforms and initiatives on poverty eradication.
There is a need to advocate for policy reforms that would ensure the media plays its watchdog role and becomes an effective platform for citizens’ dialogue and debate as well as a means through which they can make demands on office holders for transparent and accountable governance of resources,” Ngwenya said.
While it is a well-known fact that Zimbabwe’s rural areas depend primarily on agriculture, the Poverty Reduction Forum Trust recently stated that urban residents are increasingly relying on urban agriculture for sustenance (PRFT, 2017). Urban agriculture in Zimbabwe has gained acceptance and recognition over the years for its contribution to urban economies, food security and general wellbeing of urban residents. Zimbabwe is located in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been characterised by exponential urbanisation. Data shows that in 2013, six of the ten countries with the highest urbanisation rates were in Sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank, 2014). This growth is attributed to rural-urban migration and natural population increase. A comparison of Zimbabwe’s 2002 and 2012 census reports reveals increasing urban population. Harare, the capital city, had a 2.3% increase in urban population while Gweru and Mutare’s urban populations increased by 12.4% and 10.4% respectively (ZimStat 2002 and 2012). Unfortunately this population increase is occurring within a context of economic woes as evidenced by the continuous underperformance and closing down of companies. The Herald newspaper edition of 15 August 2015 estimated that 20000 people lost their jobs in the third quarter of 2015 (Langa and Muzulu, 2015). The situation is exacerbated by climate change which is threatening agricultural activities in rural areas, the main source of food for urban dwellers. These factors have given urban agriculture impetus as urban families look for alternative ways of survival.
Urban farming presents the easiest and cheapest alternative, fuelled by availability of ‘unused’ council and private lands. This is where the problem begins. Competition for limited urban resources in an ever-increasing population and decreasing economy brings about unsustainable urban farming practices which put residents at loggerheads with city councils. On 10 January 2017 Harare city council issued a statement highlighting that it will not tolerate hazardous cultivation while in Bulawayo, the city council recently reversed its decision to slash maize after protracted dialogues with councillors but resolved to conduct awareness campaigns before the following planting season to curb hazardous farming (Chideme, 2017: Katongomara, 2017). Pressure is mounting on councils to avail land for urban farming against other competing demands for urban spaces. The decision by Bulawayo city council shows that local authorities in Zimbabwe are confronted with a dilemma where, as law enforcers, they are forced to make harsh decisions but as residents understand the difficulties people are facing in securing food. The current landscape is one of haphazard cultivation on any piece of land deemed ‘free’ and in most cases prohibited spaces. This raises concern over the implications for working towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 which endeavours to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. While SDG 11 speaks to various components leading to safe, resilient and sustainable human settlements in cities; this blog focuses on urban agriculture as a key component requiring increased attention and response particularly related to challenges stemming from precarious urban agricultural practices.
It is important to note the distinction between three forms of agriculture that characterise urban areas in Zimbabwe. The first two; farming in plots and farming within individual residential stands; are recognised and supported by the Government of Zimbabwe through city council designations. However, the third form of urban agriculture where residents farm on undesignated land or land set aside for other purposes (Figure1) often poses serious urban planning challenges as well as environmental, social, health and infrastructural risks. This hazardous urban farming is usually seasonal, occurring mostly during the rainy season. People mostly grow maize and other food crops such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beans, sugar cane, and watermelons. Residents utilise practically every ‘available’ piece of land without much regard to anything else. Any ‘unused’ piece of land is a target during this time whether surveyed or serviced awaiting development. People plant along road sides, hill slopes, on wetlands, along stream banks, vleis, dumpsites and near electricity, water and sewer infrastructure. Citizens either are not aware of the impacts of their actions or regard environmental degradation and other risks as secondary to meeting their food requirements. This is in stark contrast to national, regional, and international commitments made by Zimbabwe towards attaining sustainability. In my opinion, this could partially be attributed to limited engagement and awareness of the people, in this case urban dwellers on the efforts to provide a conducive, healthy and safe urban living environment.
In 2015, Zimbabwe adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, yet another blueprint that has already been forgotten about as evidenced by political instability, continuous shut down of companies, and introduction of bond notes in addition to the massive external debt, rampant corruption, high unemployment, persistent and widespread poverty, dilapidation of health infrastructure, and water woes among other challenges. The country is found lacking at every turn. While I acknowledge that it may be too early to tell since the country has 13 more years to achieve these goals, it is not off to a great start and the horizon seems bleak.
Zimbabwe’s current implementation strategy of the SDGs requires careful monitoring. The country has prioritised 10 out of the 17 goals with the hope that these would trigger success of other goals. While this is a noble approach, care should be taken not to let disaster brew in the backyard. As it is, the main cause of concern for city councils are the hazards brought on by the recent heavy rains and floods in urban areas and this speaks directly to SDG 11 which is currently not a priority to Zimbabwe. Hazardous urban agriculture is a slow approaching threat which by the time it’s realised, it will be too late. The government clearly cannot handle this mammoth task on its own, which is why citizens should shoulder some of the responsibility. It is up to the citizens to honour and observe Council bylaws. SDG 11 targets highlight: improving road safety, reducing the number of deaths and number of people affected by water related disasters, reducing the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, providing universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, adopting policies towards adaptation to climate change and resilience to disasters. Hazardous urban agriculture is leading the country down a very precarious road of exacerbated environmental degradation that could jeopardise its ability to achieve these targets.
Challenges of Hazardous Urban Farming
While urban agriculture has the potential to sustainably and significantly contribute to food security by being integrated into the urban economic and ecological system; the illegal urban farming activities that are taking place in Zimbabwe’s urban areas, are likely to cause significant long term damage to the urban ecological systems. While providing food security in the short term, hazardous urban agricultural practices can consequently hinder the ability of urban residents to secure food as it is likely to become the leading cause of distress in relation to SDG 11. The section below highlights some of the challenges associated with hazardous urban farming.
The land on which illegal urban farming takes place is often left undisturbed for the greater part of the year therefore tilling is preceded by land clearing where grasses, bushes, shrubs and trees are removed mechanically or using fire or a combination of both. Use of fire poses a great risk on the environment as an agent of pollution and fragmentation of urban species habitats. The tilling itself particularly on hill slopes and road sides (Figure 2) triggers soil erosion resulting in gullies (one of the most prominent characteristics of degraded land and an eyesore). Furthermore, land clearing also interferes with green spaces and threatens biodiversity by replacing natural environments. This is linked to disturbance and draining of wetlands and vleis which impedes their ability to carry out their ecological services (e.g. renew ground water supply, control fire, filtering water of excessive nutrients, and food security etc.) (EMA, 2013). Moreover, the use of chemicals for pest control or fertiliser worsens the situation as these chemicals end up contaminating water sources and endangering aquatic life particularly where residents are practising stream bank cultivation (Smit et al., 2001). Water is contaminated through a process known as cultural eutrophication, where water bodies have excessive nutrients usually resulting from runoff from human activities, chiefly agriculture. These nutrients promote proliferation of flora which outcompete aquatic fauna for oxygen resulting in death of aquatic life.
In addition to causing air pollution, fires have the potential to spiral out of control and cause massive losses of property and life. Gullies are not only an eyesore but pose a hazard to motorists as they have the ability to weaken and erode the road if left unchecked. Stream bank cultivation causes siltation of urban streams and flooding when rainfall exceeds normal levels thereby posing a serious threat to infrastructure and human life. The law prohibits farming within 30 meters of rivers and streams. Further, tilling near water ways and sewer reticulation systems can result in damage to the systems, causing widespread distress and risk of disease outbreaks when people and crops are exposed to and contaminated by sewer runoff.
Urban areas are characterised by multiple competing land uses in close proximity. When it comes to urban farming, this presents a challenge because residents utilise whatever space is available regardless of its proximity to potentially precarious land uses such as industries which produce pollutants in solid, liquid or gaseous state. These pollutants have the potential to contaminate plants which can absorb heavy metals and harbour pathogens which are transmitted to people when they ingest contaminated plants. Lead has been identified as one of the most harmful metals that can be transmitted to humans through plants and mainly endangers pregnant women and children. It has been associated with anaemia, neurological problems, lower intelligence and behavioural problems among other disorders (Smit et al., 2001). In this regard, it is not advisable to practice any form of agriculture near roads, industrial zones and waste dumps. It is likely that hazardous urban agriculture will continue gaining momentum as an alternative means to food security and this means more and more people are going to be at risk as the scramble for arable land will lead to utilisation of such dangerous spaces.
Until recent decades agriculture was traditionally a rural phenomenon, men left their wives and children to till the land while they went to find work in the city. While rural-urban migration has seen more women moving to cities (Kanthoul, 2015) agriculture is still largely a gendered phenomenon as even in urban areas the majority of agriculture labourers are women mostly who still bear the main responsibility of food security and general well-being of the family. This can potentially overwork women who also have to attend to other household chores (Wilbers, 2004; Ansueew, 2012). Furthermore, it can also lead to overworking children and interfere with their education. Tall crops can also be hazardous to public safety by harbouring criminals (Figure 3). “The city will not tolerate crops that hinder the smooth flow of traffic, crops that endanger the safety of residents. Muggings and robberies are known to be on the rise during this cropping season as people plant crops along footpaths used by residents to go to the bus ranks, shops, clinics and adjacent suburbs” (Chideme, 2017). In addition, tilling under electricity poles and infrastructure exposes one to risk of electric shock as it can weaken the pole or accidental exposure to naked wires.
Figure 2: Limited cultivation space leads to cultivation right on the edges of main roads.
Urban planners and politicians are at crossroads with regards to solving hazardous farming practices as they attempt to meet service delivery needs according to council bylaws amidst limited resources available for all residents. Achieving the SDGs is not the sole responsibility of the government. Citizens must be prepared to play their part as responsible citizens regardless of prevailing political, economic, social and environmental conditions because,”We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”_ Unknown.
Anseeuw,W., Kapuya, T., and Saruchera, D(2012). Zimbabwe’s agricultural reconstruction: Present state, ongoing projects and prospects for reinvestment. Development Bank of Southern Africa. Development Planning Division Working Paper Series No. 32.
Chideme, M (2017). Message on urban Agriculture. Harare City Council.http://www.hararecity.co.zw/index.php/message-on-urban-agriculture/
Accessed 02 February 2017.
Environmental Management Agency (2013). Wetlands our lifeline. http://www.herald.co.zw/wetlands-our-lifeline/ Accessed 02 February 2017.
Kanthoul, L (2015). Women on the Move: A Look at Migration, Women and Cities. The United Nations Migration Agency. https://weblog.iom.int/women-move-look-migration-women-and-cities Accessed 02 February 2017.
Katongomara, A (2017). Chronicle: BCC reverses decision to slash maize. http://www.chronicle.co.zw/bcc-reverses-decision-to-slash-maize/ Accessed 05 February 2016.
Poverty Reduction Forum Trust (2017). Flooding impacts urban agriculture in Zimbabwe. http://www.prftzim.org/flooding-impacts-urban-agriculture-in-zimbabwe/ Accessed 02 February 2017.
Langa, V and Muzulu, P (2015). NewsDay: Job losses reprieve. https://www.newsday.co.zw/2015/08/15/job-losses-reprieve/ Accessed 04 February 2016.
Smit, J., Nasr, J and Ratta, A (2001). Urban Agriculture; Food, Jobs and Sustainable cities. Chapter 8: Problems Related to Urban Agriculture.
The World Bank (2014). Africa’s urban population growth: trends and projections. http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/africa-s-urban-population-growth-trends-and-projections Accessed 04 February 2016.
Wilbers. J (2004) Gender and Urban Agriculture. Urban Agriculture Magazine Number 12 MEI 2004.
SDG 1 progress report
In signing Agenda 2030, governments around the world committed to ending poverty in all its manifestations, including its most extreme forms, over the next 15 years. They resolved that all people, everywhere, should enjoy a basic standard of living. This includes social protection benefits for the poor and most vulnerable and ensuring that people harmed by conflict and natural hazards receive adequate support, including access to basic services.
Poverty was halved over a decade, but one in eight people around the world still lived in extreme poverty in 2012
The international poverty line is currently defined as 1.90 US dollars per person per day using 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP). In the decade from 2002 to 2012, the proportion of the global population living below the poverty line dropped by half, from 26 to 13 per cent. If economic growth rates observed during those 10 years prevail for the next 15, the global rate for extreme poverty will likely fall to 4 per cent by 2030, assuming that growth benefits all income groups equally. Poverty remains widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 40 per cent of people lived on less than 1.90 US dollars a day in 2012.
Proportion of population living below 1.90 US dollars a day, 2002 and 2012 (percentage)
Note: The regional estimates for Northern Africa and Western Asia could not be calculated because the available data do not have sufficient population coverage.
Among the working poor, young people most likely to live in extreme poverty
In 2015, 10 per cent of the world’s workers and their families were living on less than 1.90 US dollars per person per day, down from 28 per cent in 2000. Young people aged 15 to 24 are most likely to be among the working poor: 16 per cent of all employed youth were living below the poverty line in 2015, compared with 9 per cent of working adults. One-third of all workers in sub-Saharan Africa and more than 18 per cent of workers in Southern Asia were among the working poor that year.
Proportion of employed population living below 1.90 US dollars a day, total, youth and adults, 2000 and 2015 (percentage)
About one in five people receive any type of social protection benefit in low-income countries
One way of further reducing poverty is to improve coverage of social protection programmes and target benefits to the poor and most vulnerable. Social protection programmes include social assistance, such as cash transfers, school feeding and targeted food assistance. Social insurance and labour market programmes are other forms of social protection, covering old-age and disability pensions, maternity benefits, unemployment insurance, skills training and wage subsidies, among others. Most poor people remain outside social protection systems, especially in poorer countries: about one in five people receive any type of benefit in low-income countries compared with two in three in upper-middle-income countries.
Barbra Farashishiko (46) is a fighter. She has lived with HIV for over 25 years. Farashishiko is the only surviving member of the three siblings in her family following the death of her brother and sister who succumbed to the pandemic.
By Kudzanai Gerede
She says living with HIV during the time she got the infection (in the late 80s) was tantamount to a death sentence as there were very limited treatment options.
The disease has ravaged the Farashishiko family over the years, a situation Barbra regrets if treatment had been accessible could have overturned the fate of her family.
At their humble residence in Harare’s Tafara high density suburb Barba looks after her old father, two children left by her late brother and sister including her own surviving child.
“I have lost 11 members of my immediate family to HIV/AIDS related ailments and that has given me the reason to fight and survive for my remaining family,” narrates Barbra.
“Both my siblings died of HIV related sicknesses. Before they died, my sister had lost 6 children, my brother lost one and I lost two of my children as well, all to this infection,”
She says symptoms of HIV started to show when her health dramatically deteriorated 1989 before being tested and caught with TB. Even health personnel stigmatized her.
“They did not tell me I was HIV positive then because at that time they thought it was not yet “conceivable” so they hid it from me. The death of my first child in 1995 traumatized me and deteriorated my health leading me to Wilkins hospital where I was admitted,”
“My stay at the hospital coincided with the doctors’ strike and that’s when I was told of my HIV status and they discharged me in a very critical condition. I remember my father carrying me in a wheelbarrow from the bus terminus to our home as I was too weak to walk,”
Breaking with tradition, Farashishiko’s parents labored to save her life.
She attributes her survival to the unrivaled support of her father and her now late mother who catered for her special diets before she went on HIV treatment in 2008
“There was stigma in society. But I told myself this was my daughter and I could not afford to lose another of my children so I committed to supporting her through the ordeal,” says Mr Faranando Farashishiko’s father.
Because of poor health care and stigma against people affected by the pandemic, many lives were lost.
“I was lucky to live for so long but I believe all my siblings and children could have survived had they got HIV medication on time,” says Farashishiko.
But thanks to partnerships between government health institutions and development partners, many lives are being saved.
Farashishi is now the focal point of Harare east district for Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) and believes various partnerships in the form of financial and medical assistance has improved access to medication for people living with HIV/AIDS; but there is room for more cooperation she says.
While addressing delegates at the official launch of the space creation project in Glenview, Health and Child Care Minister Dr. David Parirenyatwa hailed the partnerships between government and health players.
“We need a lot of help from partners. That is why we are also saying NO to new HIV infections,” he said
The recently completed Space Creation Project spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Child Care with the financial assistance from the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC/Zimbabwe) will be key in the provision of a safe, dignified and confidential treatment environment for HIV patients in the country.
The 159 ART Porta-cabins installed nationwide at a cost of US$ 5.9 million are detached from the main health facilities to accord privacy.
Most of the country’s health facilities were built before the onset of the HIV epidemic hence lack desirable facilities for comprehensive HIV/OI services.
“Space has been a challenge in provision of comprehensive, confidential and quality HIV/OI services in some of our health facilities. This donation of Porta-cabin clinics will go a long way in alleviating these challenges,” said Dr. Owen Mugurungi, Director AIDS and TB Programme in the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Last year PEPFAR supported Zimbabwe with life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 434 131 people and provided antiretroviral medicines for 47 180 pregnant women living with HIV to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission.
Most of the country’s health facilities were built before the onset of the HIV epidemic hence lack desirable facilities for comprehensive HIV/OI services.
“Space has been a challenge in provision of comprehensive, confidential and quality HIV/OI services in some of our health facilities. This donation of Porta-cabin clinics has gone a long way in alleviating these challenges,” said Dr Owen Mugurungi, Director AIDS and TB Programme in the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Barbra says the introduction of Anti Retro Viral (ARVs) drugs and government support from development partners has helped people living with HIV/AIDs to live longer.
“As a result I have survived to help others and currently I am the focal point of Harare east district for Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with HIV (ZNNP+).”
HIV/AIDs treatment drugs are in short supply in rural areas. Drugs for second regiment patients such as Abacivir, Alluvir, Altazonivir and Lamvudine among others are very expensive and are not readily available at most satellite clinics.
Harare provincial AIDS coordinator for the National AIDS Council Mr Adonijah Muzondiona says lack adequate health facilities and sufficient drug in remote areas across is causing an upsurge in people seeking treatment in the capital.
“There are inadequate health facilities outside our main cities which has seen most HIV patients coming to Harare hence increasing drug demand. But at the moment Harare is safe in terms of ARV accessibility,”
“We however have challenges which such people (who come to Harare) as we often lose track of where they end up going once they start treatment. That is a big challenge as we do not have systems of tracking them once they return to their respective constituencies,” he added.
The coming board of health care partners is expected to help decentralize service to remote areas of the country.
Why are PPPs necessary?
This has been largely attributed to little fiscal allocation heading towards the health sector.
Government continues to grapple with budgetary deficits to sustain various development initiatives.
According to the National AIDS Council, Zimbabwe requires about US$ 22.5 million annually to monitor the health of 750 000 HIV positive people who are currently on antiretroviral treatment.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) HIV guidelines calls for patients to receive a viral load test once a year to allow the switching of clients to favorable drugs- but for most locals this is a costly exercise.
The Abuja Declaration stipulates that African governments should allocate at least 15 percent of their entire budgets towards health delivery; a threshold government has constantly fallen short of on a yearly basis.
Over the past 3 years, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has received less than a cumulative US$ 1 billion dollars (less than one quarter of the yearly budget in 3 years) from treasury with the ministry receiving US$ 337 million in 2014, US$ 301 million in 2015 and US$ 330 million in 2016.
While efforts to resuscitate most health facilities and offer better medical services remain a priority to government, the country failed to meet most of its health targets under the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015).
The continuous ravaging of diseases such as HIV/AIDS despite marginal gains in lowering their prevalence rates have fallen short of achieving the MDG 5 which sought to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Shortage of drugs at main hospitals has affected people living with HIV and more so, the failure by government to build more hospitals in the remote areas poses even more threats to human life.
New financing models
As the world enters a new era of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), new financing models have been proposed to avert failures of the MDGs.
World governments, especially in the developing world have been challenged to take a leading role in funding and facilitating the implementation of set goals.
However entrusting governments particularly those in the developing world to play a leading role in coordinating and financing SDGs has raised new challenges.
This has been exacerbated by the fact that the shrinking global economy has rendered most governments to operate under tight fiscal constraints daunting prospects of achieving health targets under the SDGs.
Partnerships have proved to be efficient in the provision of drugs and quality health care especially in developing countries battling with resources to self-fund various health initiatives.
Zimbabwe is least likely to achieve the set of global goals aimed at ending poverty.
World leaders agreed last year that by 2030, nobody on the planet should be living on less than $1,25 per day, the United Nations (UN)’s threshold poverty figure, but chronic underfunding is holding back progress, a government position paper has revealed.
The proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed to by the UN’s 193 member countries last year, is a set of 15-year objectives that range from ending hunger and poverty, promoting education, fighting inequality and conquering climate change… https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2016/12/06/zim-unlikely-to-meet-new-un-poverty-goals