|Accelerating MDGs in Zimbabwe|
Harare, 2 August 2012: UNDP has raised the red flag over the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with Zimbabwe like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa unlikely to meet their targets, three years to the crucial 2015 deadline for achieving the eight MDGs.
“While progress has been achieved, disparities in the rates of progress are evident across countries, sub-national regions and MDGs,” said James Wakiaga, UNDP Economic Advisor. Calling for more urgent action in the face of the global economic slowdown, Mr. Wakiaga explained that many countries risk missing one or more of the targets by the deadline “ unless they take immediate, focused action.”
The UNDP Economics Advisor attached to the Zimbabwe Country Office made the remarks during a stakeholders forum held in Harare on 26 July 2012 to review the progress the country has so far made towards achieving the MDGs, and produce a clear plan of action on accelerating them.
At the inception of the MDGs, Zimbabwe prioritised Goals 1 (ending poverty and hunger); 3 (gender equality); and 6 (combating HIV/AIDS). Subsequently, the National MDGs Taskforce and the Ministerial Social Services Committee prioritized the following: MDG 1 on ending poverty and hunger; MDG 2 on achieving universal education; MDG 4 on child health; and MDG 5 on maternal health.
“To assist in the process of developing an accelerated action plan on the prioritised goals, an MDGs Acceleration Framework (MAF) tool has been designed,” said Laxton Chinhengo , Deputy Director, Ministry of Labour and Social Services. This effort will lead to an Action Plan, which “will build upon existing country knowledge and experiences, as well as be fully consistent with policy and planning processes. This tool will be used by the National Taskforce to come up with acceleration plans which will be reviewed by ministers and the Cabinet, stated Mr. Chingengo.
The MDGs Acceleration Framework is a methodological mechanism offering governments and their partners a systematic way to identify and prioritize bottlenecks to progress on MDG targets that are off track, as well as ‘acceleration’ solutions. The MAF starts by identifying off-track MDGs —those for which one or more targets are likely to be missed at the current rate of progress.
In Zimbabwe, the MAF process in March 2011 with the convening of the National MDGs Taskforce ministerial meeting in March 2011 to explore the potential application of the MAF in the country.
The Taskforce agreed that MDG 2 would be the first focus of a national accelerated action plan. Consequently, a workshop was held with the task force at technical level at the end of May to lay the foundation for the process and review the MAF methodology in detail. This culminated in the involvement of the United Nations through a formal written request for support to the process. The letter was submitted by the Taskforce.
It’s against this background therefore, that relevant representatives of the public and private sector, as well as civil society organisations convened the recent workshop. During the meeting a Technical Expert Working Group (TEWG) was formed to coordinate the “acceleration” mainly of the critical MDG 2 on achieving universal primary education.
The group, spearheaded by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Labour and Social Services in collaboration with UNDP, comprises UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and national institutions working in the education sector.
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