UN Resident Coordinator's Remarks at the Launch of National Policy on Persons with Disability and National Policy on Labour Migration


· Your Excellency Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

· The Honourable, Retired General Dr. Constantino Guveya Chiwenga, Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

· Honourable Professor Paul Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

· Honourable Ministers and Senior Government Officials Present

· Honourable Members of Parliament

· National and International Development Partners Present

· All protocols observed.

It gives me great pleasure to join you this morning on the launch of two major national policies namely, (1) the National Disability Policy and (2) the National Labour Migration Policy.

The launch of these two policies are the culmination of efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe and partners to advance inclusion, reduce inequality, and take steps leave no-one behind as we work together to achieve the SDGs.

The UN recognizes the inclusive nature of the consultations that shaped the development of the two policies. And I am pleased to note that the UN system has been part of these processes providing technical and financial support.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today’s event to launch the National Disability Policy is an important milestone towards the implementation of the UN Convention. It also positions Zimbabwe as a global frontrunner on disability inclusion and 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.

Often the process of developing a policy can be as important as the final product itself. In this case, the policy making process included extensive engagement between Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and legal drafters. The engagement of persons with disabilities was done, in part, with support from the joint UN-EU Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls.

Through the Spotlight Initiative, the UN supported the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to conduct consultation on both the Persons with Disability Bill and the National Disability Policy.

The UN supported training of 73 persons with disabilities from the two umbrella bodies, the Federation of Organizations of Disabled Persons in Zimbabwe and National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped. I have every belief that the extensive and inclusive process of consultation has strengthened the final product.

It is our hope that the Policy will safeguard rights of persons with disabilities, including sexual and reproductive health rights of children and women with disabilities and their protection against violence and harmful practices.

We continue to encourage the scaling up disability inclusive budgeting by the Government. Policy is as good as its implementation and allocation of adequate resource would facilitate advancing the inclusion and rights of persons with disabilities.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The other equally important policy that is being launched this morning is the Labour Migration Policy to improve Zimbabwe’s governance of labour migration and implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The policy is forward-looking and rights-based and aims to foster the empowerment of migrant workers, while ensuring that migration contributes to Zimbabwe’s socioeconomic development.

Governed migration has become a policy priority for the migration governance and development strategies of many governments worldwide.

Enhancing the contributions of migrants is an indispensable policy imperative and a development enabler for origin and destination government countries alike.

Labour migration must be considered as a key contributor to the 2030 Agenda and the attainment of the SDGs in Zimbabwe as elsewhere.

It is my sincere hope that the policy and its implementation will allow labour migrants who choose Zimbabwe as their destination to contribute to its economy, social and cultural heritage.

Full implementation of the policy will fortify Zimbabwe’s ambitions to deepen free trade among African countries and globally. It will also help to accelerate Zimbabwe’s human development dividends of labour migration.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The launch of these two policies come at a time when the world is grappling with COVID-19. The pandemic highlighted that persons with disabilities and migrants are among the most affected groups in times of crisis.

One example is, migrant workers including Zimbabweans who were working in neighboring countries and further afield were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to their status as frontline workers.

In other cases, they were among the first to be retrenched due to their economic status as migrants.

To that effect, over 180,000 Zimbabweans engaged in migrant labour have returned home with the assistance of IOM since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen:

To address vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19, the UN believes that the implementation of these policies will increase inclusiveness, stronger coordination, and accountability to persons with disability and migrants.

Persons with disabilities and migrant workers are critical partners and actors in advancing sustainable development.

The policies have the potential to not only to enhance the quality of life of persons with disabilities and the dignity of migrants, but also ensure their productive participation in national development priorities.

The partnership and joint work among UN Agencies, Government and civil society organizations that has already been established under the UN Migration Network will be further strengthened because of the labour migration policy.

The policy on disabilities, will bolster the ongoing UN, Government, persons with disabilities, Civil Society and media organizations.

The UN stands ready to work with Government and other stakeholders to support the robust implementation of the two Policies, including strengthened coordination of key sectors to advance the rights of all persons with disabilities and migrants.

Together, we can make meaningful progress towards a more prosperous and inclusive Zimbabwe and the attainment of the SDGs.

Thank you.