Celebrating Two Decades of Sustainable Action in ZimbabweAug 27, 2014
Celebrating two decades of involvement in Zimbabwe, the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEFSGP), managed by UNDP brought together one of the largest representation of community-based organizations and NGOs to Harare to share experiences and best practices on community action for sustainable development.
Held in Harare on 27 August, 2014, the exhibition and knowledge fair attracted 120 participants that included community-based organizations and NGOs, representatives of the Government, Donor Agencies such as European Union, research institutions, private sector and the media. Among the international organizations present were Practical Action and the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC).
The lively ceremony featured arts and drama. In addition SGP grantees had an opportunity to exhibit products and share knowledge on what they are doing in line with GEFSGP thematic areas of biodiversity, climate change, land degradation and chemicals. On display were different varieties of traditional foods, organic products and prototypes of renewable energy technologies.
The event culminated in the launch of the publication titled “20 Years of Sustainable Action”. The publication chronicles the work of GEFSGP in Zimbabwe in the past 20 years. This is clustered in the thematic areas of conservation of biological diversity; climate change mitigation; reversal of land degradation; elimination of chemicals; and protection of international waters.
Describing the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change as a key partner for GEFSGP as well as the GEF Focal Point at National Level, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere said the event was a key milestone for the ministry.
“It provides a forum whereby UNDP-GEFSGP grantees, Government, NGOS and community-based organizations can share and showcase best practices and lessons learnt over the past 20 years of community action for the environment” explained the minister, who was chief guest at the occasion.
In Zimbabwe, the GEF SGP has been in existence since 1993 and has funded numerous projects designed to address global environmental challenges and improve livelihoods.To date 167 communities nationwide have benefited from SGP funding with a total of US$5,709,534.17 allocated during five operational phases.
In her remarks, the UNDP Country Director, Ms Verity Nyagah cited the strategy of the GEFSGP saying “it’s centred on a holistic approach focussing on community empowerment and participation, environmental sustainability, gender and health mainstreaming as well as participation by youth and indigenous groups”.
“This is in line with the new UNDP Strategic Plan that emphasizes the need to find ways of fighting poverty and inequality, deepening inclusion and reducing conflict, without inflicting irreversible damage on environmental systems, including the climate,” said the Country Director.
A jovial Ms Nanganidzai Makoho who is the Chairperson of the National Steering Committee of the GEFSGP expressed her satisfaction about the event as follows:
“It is critical to note that we have never held such an event where we gather various stakeholders from the national government, civil society, research institutions, academia and private sector to exchange information on how we are managing our environment.”
The event ended by giving awards to SGP grantees that had excelled in their exhibitions and in sharing knowledge with participants.