Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
A top United Nations Development Programmes Administrator and vice chair of the UN Development Group Mr Achim Steiner is visiting the country tomorrow and is expected to meet President Mnangagwa. He is on a three-day visit. This is the first visit to Zimbabwe by a top UN official since the end of Mr Robert Mugabe’s era.
In a statement last night, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office spokesperson Mr Sirak Gebrehiwot confirmed the visit.
“The United Nations Development Programmes Administrator Achim Steiner will visit Zimbabwe from 15–18 March. This is the first visit by a UN official since the end of Robert Mugabe’s Presidency and the transfer of power in November 2017.
During his visit, Mr Steiner, who is also the vice chair of the United Nations Development Group, will meet with President Mnangagwa and other senior officials, including the two Vice Presidents, and the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Lands and Agriculture, Environment, and Health, among others. He will also meet with development partners, members of civil society, and the UN country team,” he said.
Mr Gebrehiwot said during his meetings with Government officials, Mr Steiner will discuss how the UN could support the upcoming elections and assist in rebuilding the Zimbabwean economy.
“He will also meet with a number of Independent Commissions, including the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, and the Gender Commission
Mr Steiner will also deliver the keynote address at the launch of National Human Development report on Climate Change on 16 March 2018 in Harare.
The Human Development Report aims to inform policy, provide additional evidence for resilience and livelihood building projects and advocacy to address natural disasters that have become recurrent in Zimbabwe due to climate change,” said Mr Gebrehiwot.
He will also travel to the field to see a variety of projects, including a voter registration facility, an agricultural diversification project, and HIV and AIDS programmes in Mbare and Mutoko. Mr Steiner is expected to hold a Press conference on Saturday at a local hotel in Harare.
Mr Steiner has been a global leader on sustainable development, climate resilience and international cooperation for nearly three decades.
Before joining the UNDP in April 2017, Mr Steiner was Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford.
He was also the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (2006-2016), the director-general of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, director-general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and secretary-general of the World Commission on Dams.