The Embassy of Sweden announced today SEK 45 million grant to the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) to allow the timely roll out of the Crisis Modifier. Crisis modification is used in Resilience building as a tool to implement early actions based on early warning, in this case to better prepare the communities to withstand the shocks posed by the looming El Nino weather phenomenon. This new allocation brings Sweden's allocation to ZRBF to SEK 120 million.
Noting the protection of development gains and livelihood assets as vital building blocks for long-term adaptive and transformative capacity to reduce dependence on handouts, Her Excellency Sofia Calltorp, Ambassador of Sweden said, "in light of the forecasted food insecurity throughout the ZRBF supported rural districts during the lean season due to the anticipated El Nino effects, the Embassy of Sweden allocated additional SEK 45 million to resilience building and to allow ZRBF to reactivate Crisis Modifier Mechanism to bolster the resilience of beneficiaries, households and communities."
The ZRBF is a six-year development initiative with USD 75 million to contribute to increased capacity of approximately 800,000 people in 18 rural districts to protect their development gains in the face of recurrent shocks and stresses and to enable them to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
The ZRBF is implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with generous funding and technical support from the European Union (EU); the Embassy of Sweden, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
Recognizing the continued generosity of the Embassy of Sweden to Zimbabwe and the work of the United Nations by committing additional new funding of SEK 45 million to the work of ZRBF, Mr. Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator said, "ZRBF brings humanitarian and development nexus by supporting the protection and sustainability of livelihoods of targeted rural vulnerable beneficiaries with an overall objective of weaning them out from humanitarian assistance over the cycle of the fund."
"ZRBF has a built-in innovative mechanism to address emergent and residual vulnerabilities through activating Crisis Modifier when needed. Zimbabwe like the rest of southern Africa is bracing for yet another El Nino induced dry spell with 80% likelihood of below to average rainfall according to metrological forecast and nearly 2.4 million people will need assistance by January 2019 according to the latest estimates by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee," said Mr Parajuli.
The signing ceremony, therefore, signifies Sweden's proactive response to the joint call by Government and the United Nations and shows Sweden's commitment to support Zimbabwe in addressing not only the negative effects of recurrent emergencies such as El Nino induced dry spells but also the medium to long term social, economic, environmental and democratic development agenda.
Resilience-building is essential in Zimbabwe in order the people to withstand economic hardship and increased occurrence of extreme climatic events - such as protracted drought, flooding and rising mean temperatures - that serve to exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities and hamper development gains.
In his remarks during the signing ceremony, Mr. Georges Van Montfort UNDP Country Director said, "With the additional support from the Embassy of Sweden, the ZRBF crisis modifier targets to cushion 226,800 people in 18 districts from the adverse effect of the El Nino and ring fence investments made, so far, in building resilience of the communities."
The Embassy of Sweden support to the ZRBF is the largest contribution and one of the first agreements signed under the 2017-2021 Swedish Strategy for Development Cooperation in Zimbabwe. In addition to the 18 districts covered by the ZRBF, the Embassy of Sweden also supports resilience initiatives in further four districts in agro-ecological zones of III, IV and V.
Noting early warning system as an important pillar of resilience building, Mr Ringson Chitsiko, Secretary to Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement said, "I thank the Government of Sweden for providing the resources which will go a long way in building the resilience of our communities and will make strategic investment in safeguarding livelihoods and development gains made by the ZRBF targeted communities."
ZRBF adopts multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral on-and-off farm initiatives that facilitate the application of evidence in policy making for increased resilience; contribute to improved absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities of vulnerable communities; and respond to emergencies through existing safety net and adopting crisis modifier.
The ZRBF programme, implemented by consortia of international and local non-governmental organisations, community-based organizations, academia, private sector partners, and the UN, aims to contribute to increased capacities of vulnerable communities to protect development gains and achieve improved well-being outcomes in the face of shocks and stresses.
The agreement was signed between the UNDP and Embassy of Sweden in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement; the EU; UK; the United Nations; ZRBF Steering Committee, the implementing organisations and the Media.