UN Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli Scoops Top Diplomat Award

Harare, 5 March 2016 - United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Bishow Parajuli scooped the 2016 diplomat-of-the-year award at a ceremony held yesterday.

The UN Resident Coordinator won the award at the fifth edition of the Diplomat of the Year Awards held in the capital, Harare, under the theme, “Tourism: driver of economic development and diplomacy”.

Attributing the recognition to the work of the UN in Zimbabwe and its partners, the UN Resident Coordinator said, “I am indeed humbled and this recognition is a boost the commitment of the UN system to the people of Zimbabwe”.

UN System in Zimbabwe together with the development partners has supported development programmes worth $ 400 million, on average annually, since 2012. The UN with the generous support of the development partners through the 2012-2015 ZUNDAF has in total delivered over $1.6 billion supporting the revitalization of social services;  fighting HIV and AIDS; supporting over 1.4 million food insecure population with food security programmes and targeted food assistance; women empowerment; and the development of people driven and progressive Constitution as well as  capacity building of key national institutions to deliver public services, promote equity and  human rights.

In line with the new global commitment of Agenda 2030, the UN commitment to Zimbabwe has been articulated under the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF). With a total funding requirement of $1.6 billion, the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF aims to contribute to six national priority areas: Governance and Public Administration; Poverty Reduction and Value Addition; Social Services and Protection; Food and Nutrition Security; HIV and AIDS; Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.

Tourism and Hospitality minister, Walter Mzembi, who delivered the keynote address, called on diplomats to assist in the achievement of the $5 billion tourism economy for Zimbabwe by informing their respective nationals on the opportunities in Zimbabwe.

Underlining the rich natural endowment and various internationally recognised heritages, Mzembi said, “Africa is yet to exploit the full potential of tourism as a key driver to national development.” Minister Mzembi said that Zimbabwe has increased revenue generation from tourism to $1billion in 2015 from a mere $250 million in 2009. He said, “The Government has put a national tourism policy and a five year strategy with a target to generate $5 billion revenue from the tourism industry by 2020.”

In other awards, the UN Resident Coordinator was also named outstanding head of mission from Asia, Australia and Americas together with Ambassador of Brazil Marcia Maro Dasilva, Ambassador of Korea, Kwon Yong Kyu and Australian Ambassador Suzanne McCourt.

In Africa, Ambassador of Angola, Pedro Hendrik Vaalneto, Botswana’s Kenny Kiniotrio Kapinga and Namibian Ambassador Balbina Daes Piennaar were also honoured.

Phillipe Van Damme, the head of EU delegation, Ambassador of Italy, Enrico De Agostini and Ambassador of Britain Catriona Laing were winners in outstanding heads of missions from Europe.

Outstanding deputy ambassadors or first secretaries were also recognised for their work, with Fahad Alshatti of Kuwait, H M Lugor of South Sudan and Isaac Mwakiluma of Tanzania being named winners. Eye specialist Solomon Guramatunhu won the outstanding contribution to diplomacy and citizen diplomacy by a non-diplomat.