Sweden Commits US$8m to Zim’s Resilience Fund

31 May 2017, Harare – The Embassy of Sweden and UNDP signed USD 8 million grant today giving a boost to the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) and marking Sweden’s increasing development cooperation in resilience building and climate action in support of the people of Zimbabwe.IMG_3997rev.jpg

Addressing partners at the signing ceremony, Mr. Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said, “Since the launch of the ZRBF in May 2016, some 407,000 labour endowed vulnerable people in nine rural districts benefited from climate-smart agriculture; nutrition and livelihoods; productive asset creation; access to finance and value chain development; and community-based natural resources management.”

“The nine districts that are currently benefitting from the Fund are:  Binga, Umzingwane, Kariba, Mwenezi, Mbire, Umguza, Bubi, Nkayi and Chiredzi”, said Mr. Parajuli.

The ZRBF is a five-year multi-donor fund managed by UNDP in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as other national players such as Ministry of Environment; Water and Climate, Ministry of Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare; Department of Civil Protection; and Food and Nutrition Council.

The ZRBF, officially launched in May 2016 with generous financial and technical support from European Union (EU), and UK Department of International Development (DFID), prioritizes 21 vulnerable districts targeting 800,000 people with a total budget of USD 70 million over the life of the programme.

Noting ZRBF’s innovative, forward-thinking approach, which builds on intensive knowledge and evidence to make a real impact in terms of resilience-building in the country, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, H.E Sofia Calltorp said, “resilience lies at the heart of Sweden’s new five-year strategic commitment to Zimbabwe in fighting poverty, environmental degradation and in ensuring absorptive and transformative capacities in the face of climate change.”

Recognising women’s transformative role in social and economic processes, Ambassador Calltorp said, “Sweden will strive to ensure that gender equality is adequately integrated into the work carried out by the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund including its implementing partners and consortia to ensure that Zimbabwean women equally benefit from this support as they often carry the brunt of shocks, stresses and disaster when it occurs.”

The overall objective of the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund is to contribute to increased capacities of at risk communities to protect development gains and achieve improved well-being outcomes in the face of shocks and stresses. This will be achieved through three interlinked components:

  • Creating a body of evidence and building capacity for increased application of evidence-based policy making,
  • Improving the absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities of at-risk communities,
  • Setting up a crisis modifier mechanism which will provide appropriate, predictable, coordinated and timely response to risk and shocks from a resilience perspective.

The grant signed between UNDP and the Embassy of Sweden today is a renewed commitment of the Embassy of Sweden under its new five-year (2017-2021) development cooperation to contribute to sustainable use of natural resources, strengthen value chains and increase access to renewable energy in its efforts to promote sustainable and resilient economic growth in Zimbabwe.

Expressing gratitude to the Embassy of Sweden for the new fund and appreciating the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and the strong partnership with EU and DFID on establishing a robust fund for resilience building, Mr. Parajuli said: “We should increase our focus and investment towards building strong national resilience that ensures the integration of development and humanitarian nexus; lest our progress towards Sustainable Development Goals can be lost in an instant due to natural disasters, shocks, and stresses or completely reversed for decades by man-made crises.”

Under the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the UN in Zimbabwe is supporting efforts to improve disaster risk reduction in all its dimensions of exposure, vulnerability; strengthening of disaster risk governance; preparedness to “Build Back Better”; and strengthening of partnerships. This initiative is in line with the outcome document of the Third UN Disaster Risk Reduction Summit held in Sendai, Japan in 2015.

The Embassy of Sweden remains a strong partner to Zimbabwe’s development efforts with an annual contribution of USD 27 million. Working in partnership with UN Development System in Zimbabwe, the Embassy of Sweden supports the achievement of development results on key national priorities of gender equality, health, education, child protection, social protection, good governance and accountability, resilience building and environmental protection. Sweden also plays significant role in advancing multilateralism and UN coherence for better development results at global and national levels.

The agreement was signed in Harare, in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development; Ministry of Environment; Ministry of Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare; Food and Nutrition Council; Department of Civil Protection; the Embassies of Sweden; EU; UK; UNDP; the Media and some of the grant recipients including CARE International; Action Aid; and Welthungerhilfe.