Comprehensive assessment of UN Zimbabwe’s level of disability inclusion

In 2019, the UN Secretary General launched the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) in 2019 in a quest to bring disability inclusion to the forefront of all areas of the UN's work around the world, both internally and externally. The strategy builds on the many years of efforts to ensure that all people have the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and desires. This momentum building around "leaving no one behind" has also seen many efforts and initiatives to ensure to ensure disability inclusion.

In keeping with the UN Secretary General's vision of embracing disability inclusion in all the organisation's activities, The United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Project team in partnership with the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office commissioned an UNDIS Assessment of the UN Agencies in Zimbabwe (guided by the UNDIS framework and Indicators. This exercise conducted by the Zimbabwe Albino Association in conjunction with CBM as its technical partner, was intended to establish the level of disability inclusion of pilot UN Agencies. The assessment that was conducted within the framework of the UNPRPD Round 3 project Extension Phase on "Strengthening disability inclusion in the COVID-19 Response" in 2021 was finalized and United Nations Disability Inclusion Framework (UNDIS) Comprehensive Assessment report for UN Zimbabwe was published.

The comprehensive assessment was conducted using the strategy's accountability scorecard which has 14 performance indicators against which all UN entities report annually. The indicators are categorized into the following four pillars: leadership, strategic planning and management; inclusiveness; programming; and organizational culture. Nine UN Agencies took part in the UNDIS assessment through virtual key-informant interviews and focus group discussions. The UN Resident Coordinator also participated as a key informant and the United Nations Resident Coordinator's (UNRCO) staff.

The assessment explored the capacity of UN Staff and It established that the majority of UN Agencies are yet familiarize with the UNDIS Scorecard), and put in place cy-specific policies or strategies to adopt and implement the framework. In line with this, measures have been put in place to increase awareness about the UNDIS through several capacity-building initiatives.

The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) Comprehensive Pilot Assessment report for UN Zimbabwe makes the following general recommendations:

  • Increase efforts by the leadership to champion disability rights and inclusion on official engagements within the UN as well as externally.
  • Effective mainstreaming of disability rights of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2022-2026 cycle in all the four pillars (People, Prosperity, Planet, and Peace) in line with the SDG principle of Leaving No One Behind.
  • Development and implementation of disability inclusion guidelines and tools on areas such as employment, procurement, accessibility of premises, monitoring and evaluation, and capacity development for UN Staff.
  • Strengthening the institutional mechanisms for implementation of UNDIS through adequate staffing within RCO and at Agency levels.
  • Ensuring more regular training on disability inclusion for all UN Staff as mandated within the UNDIS.
  • Establishment of an UN-supported National Disability Basket Fund to strengthen and expand UN Joint Programmes on disability rights and inclusion. This will also accommodate more UN Agencies to participate as RUNO's and will provide adequate resources towards the implementation of the UNCRPD and UNDIS Zimbabwe stands out as one of the few countries in the region where the UN is implementing a joint UN initiative on advancing disability rights, the UNPRPD.

Through the UNPRPD project, Zimbabwe stands out as one of the few countries in the region where the UN is implementing a joint UN initiative on advancing disability rights.