The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.
The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.
But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.
We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are unrecognizable from even a week ago. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.
Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost.
Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. The UN system will support countries through each stage, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.
“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner
In response to the national plan, UNDP Zimbabwe has come up with US$ 35.9 million budgeted support through resource mobilisation and re-programming funds.
Our strategy is aligned in 3 pillars as follows:
Prepare – supporting the country to build resilient health systems
Respond – inclusive and multi-sectoral crisis management and response
and Recover – addressing the socio-economic impact and recovery.
Prepare ($US 18.4 million)
Under this pillar, US$4.1 million has been approved by the Global Fund towards the procurement of personal protective equipment to ensure adequate and timely preparation and response.
Efforts are ongoing to re-program funds towards providing hazard pay for front line health workers at high risk of contracting the disease.
Additional funds will be directed towards augmenting diagnostic and laboratory capacities of national health facilities.
Respond (US$ 7.8 million)
To ensure business continuity under the lockdown and related restrictions, UNDP and other UN agencies are providing e-Governance support for core functions (executive, judicial, legislative and key constitutional commissions).
Leveraging the Youth Connekt platform, UNDP is involved in community engagement and risk communication activities to raise awareness, promote prevention measures, contact tracing and general hygiene. Efforts have been made towards targeted awareness raising to the disabled, people living with HIV and artisanal miners.
Increased efforts are being made to link the victims of gender-based violence to essential services and ensuring continuation of Anti-Retroviral Therapy and prevention services.
Building upon previous work with key constitutional institutions such as the human rights, and peace and reconciliation commissions, UNDP is providing support for human rights monitoring and reporting, advocacy and compliance by law enforcement, and cohesion promotion and conflict prevention.
We are also working with over 870,000 small-holder farmers on the resilience building platform in community-based disease surveillance, supporting isolation centres and awareness raising.
Recover (US$ 9.7 million)
Together with the World Bank and other UN agencies, we continue to make assessments of potential socio-economic impact of COVID19 and make recommendations and policy guidance to the recovery process.
UNDP will be collaborating towards development and implementation of a socio-economic recovery strategy, which is closely aligned to the development of the National Development Strategy.
We are also exploring alternative food distribution models with the informal sector to ensure continuation of critical economic sectors while adhering to COVID19 mitigation measures such as safe transport and markets.