UN Day Celebrations 2011 in Zimbabwe: Sustainable Development towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

The United Nations in Zimbabwe commemorated the 66th anniversary of the United Nations with its UN Day celebrations, focusing on the global theme of “UN Works 4 U”, from 16 to 24 October 2011. 

The celebrations unfolded in an action-packed week that embraced the country theme of “Sustainable Development towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals” and highlighted the UN’s commitment to partnering with the Government of Zimbabwe for the cause of sustainable development.

Commencing the celebrations was World Food Day on 16 October and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October, which both featured articles in the media to raise awareness around these issues.

Click to view photos from the event.On 19 October, senior journalists from print and electronic media engaged with members of the UN Country Team, the Office of the President and Cabinet, and the National Association of NGOs in a Media Breakfast Meeting to discuss the role of the UN in achieving the MDGs and sustainable development in Zimbabwe.

The following day, the UN partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource Management and the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts, and Culture for an event titled “Kicking the Ball for the Environment,” where over 900 students from 30 high schools in the greater Harare area gathered to compete in essay contests and participate in football matches to raise awareness on sustainable development. The UN also handed over 5000 soccer balls to the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts, and Culture for distribution to schools in each province as a gesture of promoting the virtues of team spirit, discipline, and peacebuilding among youth in Zimbabwe.

On 21 October, the UN partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture for the celebration of World Food Day, held in Rushinga, where they visited the Chimwanda irrigation scheme to show how food assistance can protect vulnerable communities affected by food price instability.

The week of celebrations culminated on 25 October with the UN Day Reception, where the UN partnered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host over 250 guests from government, donor agencies, civil society groups, and the diplomatic community to commemorate the founding of the United Nations and showcase how UN agencies are working together in support of national priorities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Zimbabwe. At the reception, guests were also entertained by Zimbabwean musicians, Chiwoniso and Kunonga.

Click to view photos from the event.In his remarks, the Resident Coordinator called for solidifying the growing partnerships between the Government of Zimbabwe, the United Nations System, and their development partners, saying that in doing so, “we will leverage the different resources, knowledge, and expertise necessary to support the Government in meeting the country’s development objectives.” Thanking the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations in Zimbabwe for what he described as good working relations with the Government of Zimbabwe, Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi responded by saying that the interaction is “a solid relationship based on collectivity and mutual consultation that has seen us covering a lot of ground in addressing issues of development and humanitarian concern.”