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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ZIMBABWE

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministries of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Education; Health; and Environment and Tourism are central to combatting poverty.

Decision-MakingLegislation and Regulations

No information available.

Decision-MakingStrategies, Policies and Plans

Zimbabwe's National Strategy to Combat Poverty is outlined in a policy framework document, adopted in 1994, entitled the Poverty Alleviation Action Plan. The basic thrust of the PAAP is to invest in people as the country's key resource. The goals of this strategy will be achieved through targeted social expenditure, decentralized decision making so the poor can effectively participate, empowerment of beneficiaries through participatory methods and recognition of their expertise and knowledge, especially of their environment, move the poor from welfare to income earning productivity, and finally continue to monitor social policy and poverty indicators.

The Government, through ESAP, is promoting the indigenisation of the economy as well as the development of small and medium size enterprises and the informal sector. This is being done through deliberate policies to deregulate the economy, and by giving financial and technical support to the informal sector. Examples include: deregulation of financial institutions to facilitate access to credit by the informal sector and SMEs; review and amend laws which prevented SMEs and the informal sector from participating in the economy; remove restrictions inhibiting environmentally sound small scale mining.

Decision-MakingMajor Groups involvement

No information available.

Programmes and Projects

As poverty in rural areas was exacerbated by land pressure and overuse of resources, the Government introduced a land resettlement programme in 1983. The Government bought farms and resettled people from communal areas using specific models. Although this programme was discontinued in 1990, due to the lack of funds to purchase land, it will soon be resumed.

To improve the agricultural productivity of the rural poor, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas, the Government adopted a Give-a-Dam project which ensures that each district has a dam. Irrigation projects are established to assist the rural poor to increase their income through higher productivity.

The Government is currently mobilizing funds to electrify rural areas. A solar photovoltaic project, funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), is under implementation to improve lighting in the rural areas.

Several economic programmes have been put in place to revitalize the economy with a view to eradicating poverty in the long-term. These include, ESAP, Vision 2020, and the recently adopted Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (ZIMPREST). The latter programme focuses on poverty alleviation and employment creation.

Status

The Poverty Assessment Study Survey (PASS), carried out in 1995, showed a high incidence of poverty in Zimbabwe, with 62% of the population classified as poor and 46% classified as very poor, with an income of less than US $122 per year. The study also found that 75% of the poor live in rural areas, compared to 39% in urban areas. Of the rural poor, 72% were found among female-headed households, compared to 58% from male-headed households. 

Challenges

The main causes of poverty were identified as unemployment, retrenchment and drought. Poverty reduction is no doubt the greatest challenge the country is facing today.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Zimbabwe has also introduced planning capacity building projects which use participatory methods. These include District Environmental Action Plans (DEAPs), the National Plan to Combat Desertification (NAP), and the National Environmental Action Plan. As the planning process continues, identified projects can be implemented if funding is available.

The Rural District Council's Capacity Building Programme was launched by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development.

Information

No information available.

Research and Technologies

No information available.

Financing

There is no direct budget since poverty reduction is a cross cutting issue. However, the Poverty Alleviation Action Plan alone is estimated to require US $2.1 million.

At the same time, there is targeted social expenditure. Zimbabwe believes that human development is the key to poverty eradication. Thus, 20% of the country's budget is devoted every year to financing education and health.

The Community Development Programme, which is under the PAAP, is meant to provide budgetary resources directly to communities, who will used them to finance their own community development initiatives. This process is expected to engender ownership and make communities accountable for the use of their resources.

Cooperation

No information available.

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This information was provided by the Government of Zimbabwe to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

There is a proposal to establish a National Population Council, to be chaired by the National Planning Commission as a Government steering body, as well as a National Population Forum to serve as an inter-sectoral body of both state and non-state actors.

Decision-MakingLegislation and Regulations

No information available.

Decision-MakingStrategies, Policies and Plans

In 1996 Zimbabwe commissioned the drafting of a National Population Policy. This was due to the realization that development planning, which concentrated only on economic growth and fertility regulation, was unlikely to attain sustainable development, therefore the need for a multi-disciplinary approach. In order to develop this policy, research was commissioned in the following areas:

- Population and education;
- Youth and adolescents in Zimbabwe: definitions, policy problems, prospects and recommendations;
- Population and legal reforms;
- Population ageing in Zimbabwe;
- Culture and gender inequalities;
- Population and the Environment;
- Reproductive health extended: domestic violence and child sexual abuse
- Adolescent fertility and sexual behaviour in Zimbabwe;
- Mortality and mortality determinants in Zimbabwe;
- Determinants of fertility in Zimbabwe;
- Population and employment;
- People with disabilities;
- Early demographic, social, and economic impact of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe; and
- internal migration in Zimbabwe 1982-1992.

Decision-MakingMajor Groups involvement

No information available.

Programmes and Projects

No information available.

Status

It should be noted that the focus on population has been mainly on improving the health of the mother and child, through child spacing and fertility management, rather than on reducing numbers per se. Another approach has been to increase access to birth control devices as well as education and awareness, particularly for women and girls. Programmes on population have generally focused on education and awareness, child spacing and fertility methods, and the health of the mother and the child.

Challenges

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information available.

Information

The Population Studies Unit of the University of Zimbabwe gives short courses on population and development studies; strengthens the vital registration system and data collection at district level; and strengthens capacity of national data collecting agencies.

Research and Technologies

This research work is currently being synthesized to help formulate the National Population Policy, with specific strategies focusing on population issues, economic growth, education, environment, youths/adolescents, persons with disabilities, the elderly, HIV/AIDS, health and nutrition, fertility management, gender equity, domestic violence and child abuse, legal reforms, and agriculture.

Financing

No information available.

Cooperation

No information available.

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This information was provided by the Government of Zimbabwe to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Health plays a regulatory role for matters relating to both public health and primary health care. This ministry works closely with the Ministries of Environment and Tourism, Labour and Social Welfare in environmental health, occupational health and safety respectively. Local Authorities provide and manage local health centres and are also responsible for waste management and pollution control. The Food and Food Standards Advisory Board and the Drug Advisory Council represent the inter-sectoral fora for discussing health related issues.

Decision-MakingLegislation and Regulations

By law, waste management is a responsibility of local authorities and the Ministry of Health maintains strict monitoring systems. Food quality in Zimbabwe is monitored through the Food Standards Act and is strictly enforced by environmental health workers.

Decision-MakingStrategies, Policies and Plans

Primary health care is underpinned by a National Policy entitled Equity In Health. This policy emphasizes the delivery of primary health care, which includes: education concerning prevailing health problems and methods of preventing and controlling them; promotion of food supply and proper nutrition; adequate supply of safe water and basic sanitation; maternal and child health care, including family planning and immunization against major infectious diseases; prevention and control of local endemic diseases; appropriate treatment of common diseases and injuries, and provision of essential drugs.

Zimbabwe's public health system lays emphasis on environmental health. An Environmental Impact Assessment Policy, adopted in 1994, requires assessment of impacts of any development programme before it is approved. Health impacts form an important part of any EIA.

Decision-MakingMajor Groups involvement

No information available.

Programmes and Projects

Promoting women in decision making: Zimbabwe initiated a programme, with the assistance of the WHO, for promoting women's health, functional literacy and income generation activities through inter-sectoral actions. The objective is to improve the living standards and health status of vulnerable women, and to use their health status as a measure of development. This was initially a pilot project to be implemented in the Chivi district which will be replicated to other districts. The target group included women between the ages of 15-49, with at least one child below the age of 15, one child who died of preventable diseases, who have the least income, are unable to read and write, and may be unmarried single mothers. The project has been a major success in improving the women's health as well as their socio-economic status and it is ready for replication.

The following is a list of other programmes which have also been put in place:

Control of communicable diseases: A Rapid Weekly Surveillance System linking 420 health centres nationally and monitoring malaria, measles, diarrhea and dysentery. The effect of HIV-AIDS is also being integrated into the system.

Protecting vulnerable groups: Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has already produced a Children's Action Plan. Specific programmes to protect children's health and welfare include the Child Supplementary Feeding, for those children under the age of five, and Promotion of Breast Feeding. To date, thirty-nine baby-friendly hospitals have been established which promote the exclusive use of breast milk. Growth monitoring programmes have been introduced at every clinic and community; the only limitation is the availability of scales.

Status

Zimbabwe has an effective and strong environmental health component, with environmental health workers educating communities on vector control through both chemicals as well as environmental manipulation. The latter is proving very effective in malarial control. Occupational health and safety is enforced in the workplace. In rural areas, programmes have been put in place to improve access to clean water supply and sanitation. The policy is that each household should have a "Blair toilet" and people should not have to walk more than one kilometre to the nearest borehole and not more than ten kilometres to the nearest clinic. The implementation of these policies has been delayed due to the lack of financial resources.

Challenges

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Public information and health education: Zimbabwe is developing a School Health Master Programme in which two teachers per primary school are taught primary health, including HIV-AIDS issues. To complement the programme, teaching materials have been developed, such as "Health for Living" for primary grade 1-7, and "Caring for my Body" for grade 1-4. A Health Education Strategy 1995-2000 has been adopted with emphasis on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, control of diarrhea, infant malnutrition, reproductive health, and interpersonal communication for health delivery personnel. All these strategies are complemented by public education campaigns, such as: the Drink Wisely Day, No Tobacco Day, World Aids Day, World Health Day, World Breast Feeding Day, World Mental Health Day, among others. Recently Zimbabwe introduced a Patients Charter to assist patients to make informed judgment about their care.

Information

No information available.

Research and Technologies

No information available.

Financing

Financing of health services in Zimbabwe is mainly from fiscal revenue complemented by substantial donor assistance. At 2.5% of the government budget, health care is one of the biggest. Nevertheless, this allocation is far too small to meet the health needs of the population. Most heath centres lack essential facilities and basic drugs.

Cooperation

Zimbabwe is a member of the World Health Organization and uses some of the WHO standards and guidelines in the health field.

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This information was provided by the Government of Zimbabwe to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

An Environmental Education Subcommittee was established in 1995 as part of the Environmental Liaison Forum in Zimbabwe. The forum and subcommittee consist of representatives of non-governmental organizations, the private sector and the government. In addition to its activity in the country, the committee has actively participated in regional and international networks and conferences, such as the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication. The committee has organized and implemented two national workshops in Zimbabwe, sponsored by UNESCO/UNEP. The committee, along with other organizations, is working towards the development of a national policy on environmental education but limited government resources and staff have hampered this effort.

Decision-MakingLegislation and Regulations

No information available.

Decision-MakingStrategies, Policies and Plans

No information available.

Decision-MakingMajor Groups involvement

No information available.

Programmes and Projects

Environmental education at Universities encompass a wide range of disciplines in the natural and social sciences. This breadth and scope is matched by the current extent of involvement of departments, institutes and staff at the University of Zimbabwe. At least sixteen departments and four research centres in six faculties include some type of environmental studies in their teaching and research. Two Masters programmes in the University, M.Sc. in Tropical Resources Ecology, and MA in Environmental Policy and Planning are multi-disciplinary environmental programmes that have gained both regional and local acclaim as valuable courses. The former, though established before UNCED, has become even more popular in the region. There is a continuing and growing demand for these courses which can be attributed to the growing realization of the importance of environmental issues.

Various ministries, NGOs and other organizations are involved in programmes to educate and promote environmental awareness at the grassroots. Several departments in the government have extension departments through which information is disseminated to the communities. Of these, some have officers operating at the district level while others have village based extension personnel. Information is disseminated in various forms including workshops, short training programmes, seminars, village meetings, household visits, and the media. This dissemination is undertaken by numerous institutions and includes traditional environmental conservation practices.

The Government runs an extension programme which includes workshops, training courses for village leaders, mobile environmental programmes and village awareness campaigns. Since Independence there has been a concerted effort to promote methods of education and awareness that do not impose conservation on communities. Consequently, extension has become more participatory, drawing on traditional experiences of conservation and dissemination of these to wider audience. Many departments, such as the Forestry Commission, now acknowledge the value of traditional practices in forestry conservation and promote these widely. An appreciation of the role and contributions that communities can make to conservation has resulted in proposals to develop initiatives for resource sharing where the government and the community are equal partners in resource management.

Education and awareness-raising also take place through such Radio Programmes as Environment 2000, Forestry Commission, Natural Resources Board, and Natural Farming Network; through Communication and Networks such as the Environmental Liaison Forum Subcommittee - Action Trust Regional Net, the Forum of Environmental communicators - US Peace Corps, IMERSEC - Natural Farming Network, ART - Silveira House, and Environment 2000 - ORAP; and through such International Representations as IUCN - Commission on Education and Communication, EEASA, and NAAEE.

Status

In many schools in Zimbabwe environmental science is a subject offered in the primary school curriculum. This subject is in essence environmental education. In secondary schools this subject gives way to geography and agriculture, which again comprise environmental education. Students are also exposed to practical environmental education through school projects and inter-schools competition. There is, of course, a strong element of non-formal environmental education training as children grow up, particularly those who grow up in communal areas. Many studies, especially those documenting traditional practices, recognize the value of children and youth as repositories of environmental information.

Challenges

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

The Zimbabwe Natural Resources Management Programme (ZNRMP) is a capacity building project in environmental planning and policy coordination, integrated resources information system, information management, and law reforms. Within the programme there have been many opportunities for training the Ministry of Environment and Tourism staff and staff from other organizations in such areas as project appraisal, project management, economics, environmental impact assessment, information management and communication skills. Graduate education has been offered at the University of Zimbabwe and at various universities in Canada.

Two workshops for decision makers have been conducted on political economy of the environment. Both workshops were part of a capacity building programme in environmental economics and policy planning. The principal objective of these workshops was to enhance the analytical capacity of participants from the public and private sectors, including academic leaders, parliamentarians, consultants, and NGO managers, to incorporate environmental concerns in the application of micro and macro economics during policy formulation, planning, and investment decisions for sustainable development. Due to an overwhelming demand for similar courses, there are plans to hold future workshops targeting specific groups of decision makers especially parliamentarians.

Information

The Southern African Regional Institute for Policy Studies (SARIPS), an arm of the Southern African Political Economy Series (SAPES) Trust has launched a Masters programme in Policy Studies. The course is accredited to the Universities of Zimbabwe, Fort Hare and Dar Es Salaam. The goal of the course is to enhance the policy making capacities and leadership roles of senior personnel in government and non-governmental organizations. The course offers professionals an opportunity to acquire new analytical and practical skills and to widen their understanding of the policy process. The programme was launched in September 1995 and offers the following courses: policy analysis framework; economic theory and development planning; regional economic cooperation and integration; gender policy and planning; sectoral economic policy; politics and governance; international relations; social policy; and environmental policy. Lecturers are drawn from the region.

Research and Technologies

No information available.

Financing

No information available.

Cooperation

No information available.

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This information was provided by the Government of Zimbabwe to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

Most urban centres in the country have operational master plans guiding their development which ensure sustainable land management. In rural areas, the MPCNH is encouraging an integrated approach to rural settlements, which involves the participation of other Government departments, NGOs, the private sector and the community itself. Government initiatives recognize the needs of vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, the aged, among others, and its efforts are concentrated at levelling the terms of access rather than affirmative action.

Decision-MakingLegislation and Regulations

The guiding principles and basic sectoral settlement policies are identified in the Regional Town and Country Planning Act with related statutory instruments. The Housing Standards Act and related Model Building Bye-laws, as well as the Minimum Building and Planning Standards define the standards for shelter and structures. The Department of Physical Planning of the Ministry of Local Government Urban and Rural Development (MLGURD) is working towards a National Urban Development Strategy which will address the fast annual urban population growth rate. The MPCNH has produced a National Report on Human Settlements in Zimbabwe as a basis for a framework for future human settlements developments and Plan of Action for the period 1996 - 2010.

Decision-MakingStrategies, Policies and Plans

Zimbabwe in 1992 adopted a housing construction policy the main objective of which is to foster speedy and mass production of housing and upgrading of slums by construction units of the MPCNH. The Ministry applies its professional and technical know-how, financial and other strengths to utilize land for housing and complement local authority initiatives. All subsequent housing policies have been geared towards the provision of decent, durable and affordable accommodation for every family in all urban and rural sectors.

The current policy is to create an enabling environment for the growth of medium and small towns, through the designation and planning of provincial capitals in eight provinces, and the development of infrastructure at growth points to encourage industrial activity in rural districts.

Decision-MakingMajor Groups involvement

No information available.

Programmes and Projects

Zimbabwe subscribes to the concept of planned human settlements and has put into place programmes to develop human settlements, such as villagization, which involves the replanning of rural areas to facilitate the provision of services. Service centres have been designated through physical planning to ensure accessibility to the communities which they serve. The Government, through different departments, has programmes to provide various services. The local government structure, instituted in 1984, was meant to decentralize planning and to encourage investment in the rural areas.

Status

Human settlements in Zimbabwe are divided into 6 categories as follows: Individual households (urban and rural); Business centres; Rural Service Centres; Growth Points; Towns (Rural and Mining); and Municipalities and cities.

Infrastructure connections are good in large and medium towns but poor in rural areas. Up to 81% of urban households are supplied with water, compared to 35% in rural areas, and 67% urban households have sewerage, compared with 37% in rural areas. Rapid rural growth in Harare has implied decreased accessibility, congestion and a strain on infrastructure facilities. Waste management is also becoming a problem in large towns.

Houses in Zimbabwe are comparatively affordable, although there is inadequacy for 40% of urban dwellers, with 97% of the structures classified permanent and complying with the existing regulation. Structures in rural and informal settlements are of non durable materials. Housing provision is currently low as indicated by the low investment in the sector despite good policies.

The Government implements the concept of public/private partnership or joint venture for low income housing. The use and approval of locally available materials such as thatch, stabilized blocks, and farm bricks has implied savings on costs, time and transport. Nonetheless, 66,000 housing units have to be built a year, until the year 2000, in order to eliminate Zimbabwe's housing shortages.

Up to 55% of urban households are supplied with electricity, compared to 28% in rural areas. The bulk of the remaining households rely on fuel wood with its attendant impact on the environment. The Government, through the Department of Energy is exploring and promoting alternative sources of energy, such as solar energy and biogas as well as energy saving devices. The rural electrification programme which started in 1982 has not progressed as anticipated.

Challenges

As in many other developing countries, Zimbabwe continues to suffer from rural to urban migration leading to the unsustainable growth of cities, which has resulted in unsustainable human settlements as the government fails to cope with urban housing demands.

Issues of concern emerging in large towns include urban sprawl, traffic congestion, water pollution and agricultural land use conflicts, all with potentially negative impacts on the environment. Shanties and informal settlements are a source of housing for the urban poor.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

In 1996 the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development set up a capacity building programme for Rural District Councils. The programme trains local authorities in terms of manpower, institutional building, resources and human resource development. The Department of Rural and Urban Planning of University of Zimbabwe carries out research and training in this area.

Information

No information available.

Research and Technologies

No information available.

Financing

In terms of finance, the Government has offered subsidies to encourage private financial institutions to issue low income mortgages, to make housing more affordable for households in the lower income bracket. A large proportion of the budget in the fiscal year 1995 was channelled to low income development. The 1992 revision of the Minimum Building and Planning Standards, a policy of the Housing Act which was previously a strain on the poor and on affordability, reduced the plot size for low income detached house from 300 square metres to 150 square metres, and the minimum plot area from 50 to 36 square metres. As a result of the 1992 reforms, 70% of the population can now afford to buy a house, a rise from 23% before 1992. The lowest income groups address their housing needs through self-reliance and collective support and 60% of housing finance comes from people's own savings.

Financing is provided by building societies, the Government, local authorities, insurance and pension funds, individuals, and co-operatives. As noted above, the Government has offered subsidies to encourage private financial institutions to issue low income mortgages, to make housing more affordable for households in the lower income bracket. A large proportion of the budget in the fiscal year 1995 was channelled to low income development.

Cooperation

The Government of Zimbabwe encourages increased partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, other members of the civil society, and the international community. Zimbabwe participated in Habitat II, Istanbul 1996, as well as in the SADCC and other regional initiatives in local and regional development planning

The World Bank and the Zimbabwe Urban Development Project provided a loan in 1995 to promote Zimbabwe's financial and institutional capacity to supply affordable housing through reform of the housing delivery system and the housing mortgage market. The 1995 USAID and the Private Sector Housing Programme address the institutional bottlenecks with respect to registration of surveys and deeds as well as shelter provision in terms of housing guarantee loan.

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This information was provided by the Government of Zimbabwe to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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