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Zim Gvt, UNDP Partnership For Sustainable Development.

Staff Reporter

MATEBELELAND-The UNDP is targeting to complete 24 dams by year 2027 in Matebeleland South, North and Manicaland provinces through its close partnership with Green Climate Fund and government.

The project is meant to help communities to respond to climate action and also ensure the effect of El Nino does not have too much impact on them.

The initiative will also ensure the country regains its status as the breadbasket of Southern Africa.

In an interview, UNDP Zimbabwe Resident Representative Ayodele Odusola said the projects are part of the partnerships Government financed to the tune of about US$65 million, targeting three provinces.

He said funding will come from Green Climate Fund which availed US$28 million while a government will chip in with US$20 million.

Additionally, Odusola said they were also doing some initiatives with Climate Adaption Water and Energy Project (CAWEP) to the tune of US$16 million targeting irrigational facilities.

“We have some kind of initiatives we are doing with Climate Adaption Water and Energy Project which is a project of close to $16 million dollars because we do a lot of irrigation facilities.

“We are actually targeting to construct 24 dams by 2027. We had already constructed two last year and we are planning to complete seven this year to make them nine.

One of the completed dams include Wanezi Dam in Insiza district.

He said as UNDP they were keen to make sure they walk with government and people of Zimbabwe for the country to retain its status as the food basket of Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“We strongly believe between 2025 and 2027 we should be able to complete the balance. The beauty of it is that if we meet some service on the basis of available fund we could go beyond that.

“We strongly believe this is doable, but we are averse that we can’t do it alone, we need the Government, we need the people, private partnerships and all development partners on board so that we achieve this goal, “he said.

Odusola pointed out that the whole idea is ensure the project transforms agricultural initiatives in communities in face of climate change induced droughts.

He highlighted that over the years, they have worked with the department of Meteorological Services to put in place 44 automated weather stations to assist in weather forecast.

“The automated weather stations will help forecast on what will happen in the weather pattern within the next 30 to 90 days in advance,” he said.

Odusola said they have also assisted with access to borehole through support from the Global Fund.

“As of this year, we have constructed 447 solar power borehole systems. This is part of the initiative we are putting in place to ensure that people are able to respond to climate action and also ensure El Nino effect does not have too much impact on them, “he said.

Odusola said President Mnangagwa was impressed by these initiatives which he said speaks to his government devolution agenda of leaving no one and no place behind.

“When I met the President he was so amazed about the initiative. To show him that we are walking the talk I briefed him that we have completed two dams last year and we are targeting to complete another seven.

“He told me that it is what he meant when he talks about devolution. He also said every development is local and bringing development on the door step of rural people is what he calls transformation and development.

“He was so happy that it is going to bring inclusivity and development in the country,” he explained.

Odusola said they were intending to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) impact investor map that will help market the economic potential of Zimbabwe to the rest of the world.

“The impact investor map is like evidence based map that provides investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and will sort of help promote and market economic potential of Zimbabwe to the rest of the world.

“UNDP is supposed to be a facilitator. One of the roles of UN system where we operate is to be a convenor in the sense that you bring government and people together.

“We bring the country where we operate together with international community. This is one of the things we are doing together.

“I briefed President about our intentions and he gave a nod and was happy that something like that can be done because we strongly believe that Zimbabwe is sitting on a number of assets that the rest of the world need.

“We want to assist so that government and people of Zimbabwe walk with the rest of the world and to achieve what they need as articulated in the National Development Strategy (NDS1),”said UNDP representative.

Matebeleland region has been affected by the El Nino induced drought. The most affected districts are Tsholotsho and Binga of Matebeleland North province and Mangwe and Bulilima districts of Matebeleland South province.