UNITED Nations resident co-ordinator Bishow Parajuli says poverty and hunger remain a critical challenge in Zimbabwe with 76% of the rural population being poor while 23% is extremely poor.
Parajuli, who is also the United Nations Development Programme resident representative, said this last week at a multi-stakeholder National Dialogue on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) meeting in Harare.
He said although Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had made a significant difference in the lives of people, especially the poor, there was still much to be done.
“There remains an unfinished business. In Zimbabwe, just like many others, poverty and hunger remain critical development challenges. In Zimbabwe, 76% of the rural population is poor while 23% is extremely poor. Despite some progress made, maternal mortality at 614 per 100 000 live births is still a significant issue. HIV and Aids is at 14%, which is still very high,” he said.
Parajuli said Zimbabwe had made significant progress in some MDGs that include achieving the target on reducing HIV and Aids cases, reducing maternal mortality by one-third, increasing child immunisation to 69% and maintaining primary school attendance at a high level of 94%.
“It is amidst these developments that the quest to end poverty and transform the world to better meet human needs, while protecting our environment, ensuring peace and realising human rights through the new post-2015 development agenda has begun. The SDG are being formulated through an unprecedented consultative process,” he said.
Parajuli emphasised the essential elements on delivering SDGs, which include ending poverty and fight inequalities, to ensure healthy lives and growing a strong, inclusive and transformative economy.