Notable progress has been realised on SDG3 through the decline in maternal mortality ratio from 614 in 2014 to 462 in 2019. Through the various policies that have been developed, the HIV prevalence among the population aged 15-49 declined from 15.1% in 2010 to 11.8% in 2020. The country has made strides toward universal education through the adoption of the Education Amendment Act 2020 and the Inclusive Education Policy. Progress has also been recorded in achieving Gender Equality (SDG5) particularly gender mainstreaming in targeted empowerment programmes. These include reserving 60 seats under proportional representation for women and the implementation of gender budgeting in the national budget. However, SDG 8 and 10 are registering least progress due to high informalisation of the economy and widening of income inequalities owing to corruption, economic meltdown and political instability. Poverty remains a daunting challenge being faced in Zimbabwe.
National planning, implementation and budget commitments
The Government of Zimbabwe’s deliberate approach to align NDS-1 (2021-2025) to SDGs is a step forward toward enhancing the implementation and attainment of SDGs. The narrow fiscal space always limits implementation of development plans. Previous policies such as Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET, 2013 – 2018); Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP, 2018 - 2020) were not adequately resourced. The National Budget remaining skewed towards recurrent expenditures accounting for about 90% of revenue collections leaving less than 10% towards social development programmes. Financing for most of the goals has fallen short of the required budget. For example the Health budget has failed to reach the Abuja recommendation of 15% while Education also falls short of the 20% recommended. However, improvements in agriculture financing with the Agriculture receiving more than 10% of the budget from 2019 to 2021 in line with the Maputo declaration is commendable.
Progress since last VNR
Building on the SDGs implementation and co-ordination framework presented in 2017 VNR Government is further strengthening the institutional framework by establishing the SDGs Secretariat to co-ordinate SDGs implementation, and the tracking of the implementation of the 17 SDGs through the national SDG Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. Government has also involved other stakeholders in the SDGs Monitoring and Evaluation Framework though this should become formalised and also include the participation of communities in line with devolution thrust adopted by government. The NDS1 was developed and premised on inclusive economic growth and sustainable development which dovetails well with the country’s SDGs framework. There is considerable progress in strengthening CSO partnerships with development partners and government to complement each other in SDGs implementation through Leave No One Behind initiatives, Gender Mainstreaming and Integration, and Disability Inclusion.
Key communities who face being left behind
Persons with Disabilities, Women and Girls, Older Persons, Children and Young People, People from the LGBTQI community.
How have you engaged across communities?
CSOs in Zimbabwe were engaged through the NANGO and Zimbabwe CSO Reference Group on SDGs structures and platforms. CSOs and communities, including hard to reach and marginalised areas, were engaged on SDGs awareness raising, monitoring and consultations. The engagement platforms also included discussion on the national development plans such as the National Development Strategy-1 consultations and feedback. Community engagement was hinged on 4 pillars, namely; research, advocacy, dialogues, and awareness raising campaigns. These strategies have been used to engage the government at various levels and the wider communities. Resource constraints impacted on the reach of activities, limiting the geographic coverage and number of communities that could have participated in the roll out programmes.
Overview of climate change
Recurrent climate-induced shocks have mainly affected agriculture production and food security. According to the World Food Programme, in 2020, more than 7.7 million people half the population faced food insecurity at the peak of the lean season compared to 5.5 million in 2019, as poor rains and erratic weather patterns have a negative impact on crop harvests and livelihood prospects. 56% of the population also faced food insecurity as a result of droughts while floods have also destroyed crops. Climate change also had an impact on the hydroelectricity generation particularly in 2020 where the main source Kariba dam dried up. Government initiated the climate smart agriculture strategies that include irrigation development, conservation agriculture through the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme which have a potential to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However there is need for increased resources for the sustainability and success of these projects.
Civil society priorities
CSOs demands that government institutionalize SDG implementation and monitoring by moving away from ad hoc engagements to a sustained clear calendar. The pace for alignment of laws to the Constitution in order to leave no one behind is generally slow owing to, amongst others, lack of proper coordination by Line Ministries resulting in fragmentation efforts. Laws need to be aligned in an inclusive manner and in line with the National Constitution and SDGs. Focus should be on localization of SDGs and enhancing regular multi-stakeholder institutionalized inter-face engagements in line with a Whole of Society approach. Post HLPF feedback meetings will form part of the localization.
Civil society engagement
CSOs in Zimbabwe Group actively participated during the preparation of the 2017 VNR, the 2020 SDG Progress Report and the 2021 VNR from the inception stages to validation and final reports. In Zimbabwe, CSOs have been seconded to participate in the national SDGs coordination platforms and meetings with key Ministries and Government Departments. Additionally CSO has been engaged in the development and updating of the country’s SDG Monitoring and Evaluation Framework since 2019. Lastly, CSOs also consulted communities and developed positions during the formulation of NDS-1 that were used to influence the development policy. CSOs also consult communities during budget and other policy consultations.
The National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) was translated into 16 languages namely Shona, Ndebele, Tonga, Ndau, Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Nambya, Venda, Shangani, Sotho, Tswana, Xhosa, Koisan, braille and sign language as well as versions of , audio book and e-book in March 2021. The translation of NDS1 into local languages is expected to remove barriers of participation by communities previously left out because of language barrier. Tertiary institutions are participating through research and SDGs Lecture series. Civil Society Organisations programming is also heavily informed by the 2030 Agenda. The participation of local governments in SDGs process is still on the margins, with only 2 local governments having attempted the production of VLRs in 2020.