BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE
Incoming United Nations (UN) resident co-ordinator for Zimbabwe, Maria Ribeiro has pledged to strengthen humanitarian support to the country’s vulnerable groups in light of the current economic and climatic challenges.
Speaking after presenting her credentials to President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday, Ribeiro said the UN would continue working with the government in prioritising the needs of vulnerable people in the country.
“As a result of unprecedented climate and economic shocks, the humanitarian needs have, unfortunately, increased in Zimbabwe. The UN is working closely with the government and the humanitarian partners to meet the priority life-saving multi-sectoral needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the humanitarian situation,” she said.
Ribeiro said there was need to reinforce linkages between humanitarian and development support.
“Equally important is to continue building the necessary linkages between humanitarian and development support in which the United Nations has been delivering over US$400 million annually (representing over 60% of official development assistance to the country) under the 2016-2021 Zimbabwe UN Development Assistance Framework,” she said.
The UN was also was working with government in strengthening safety nets for vulnerable groups in the provision of basic services such as health and education.
“I also recognise the critical importance of social safety net for the vulnerable groups to cushion the impact of the economic austerity measures. The UN is jointly working with the government to strengthen the social safety net – including provision of basis services in health and education – and scale up social protection programmes as well as efforts to build resilience of at-risk communities,” the UN diplomat said.
Ribeiro, an Irish national, has over 30 years of humanitarian and development leadership experience in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean with the United Nations and other international organisations.