Reflections as UNDP observes 50th Anniversary

Feb 16, 2016

A women’s radio listening group in Zanzibar, Tanzania, listens to a programme covering the October 2010 general elections. UNDP, in collaboration with UN Women, trained 125 community radio broadcasters and gave 1,500 radio sets to various women radio listening groups. Photo Credit: UNDP

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Founded in 1966, UNDP now works in some 170 countries and territories to help eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion.

In Tanzania, the UNDP support began in May 1978. Since then, UNDP has continued to serve as a critical member of the UN team in the country, which has collectively supported the Government in achieving its development agenda through aligning its support specifically to the national development priorities. In addition, UNDP has helped strengthen the government’s capacity to manage and coordinate international development assistance through the development of strategies, action plans and an improved aid management system to facilitate national leadership.

Through its strong relationship with the Government, UNDP has also supported the country in achieving its national development objectives. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially drove progress in several important areas: income poverty; access to improved sources of water; primary school enrollment and child mortality. As the country transitions to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goals Number 1 on poverty, Number 10 on inequality and Number 16 on governance are particularly central to UNDP’s current work and long-term plans in Tanzania. Having an integrated approach to supporting progress across the multiple goals is crucial to achieving the SDGs, and UNDP is uniquely placed to support that process.

Building on its global network of expertise, UNDP has assisted the government in developing mitigation strategies through training and technical support to national institutions, including those in the private sector, as well as by the promotion of renewable energy sources, improved energy standards, efficient technologies and “clean practices” (to help preserve the environment). The UNDP in particular has supported the development of a national framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as of local capacity to manage forest carbon projects.

UNDP has supported capacity development for improved enforcement of laws on the environment and regulations protecting ecosystems, sustainable management of natural resources through awareness raising related to the Environmental Management Act, facilitating formulation of environmental plans and strategies at the local government level, strengthening technical, financial and governance capacities for sustainable land and forest management.

In terms of democratic governance, Tanzania’s Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) successfully carried out the 2015 elections with the support of the UNDP and development partners. The US$22.5 million multi-donor Democratic Empowerment Project DEP) supported a wide range of activities in preparation for the polls, including technical assistance to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC). Beyond support to the EMBs and political parties in relation to their respective roles of contributing to democratic elections, DEP also supported the police to foster increased election security and with civil society, media and Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) to promote a democratic environment in the country. Additionally, UNDP’s ongoing technical and financial support to the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan, has also contributed to a more effective national anti-corruption bureau, which in 2009 prosecuted 17 major corruption cases.

UNDP continues to support the Government to integrate environment and energy issues into national policy, as well as build local and regional capacity. Through a UNDP and Global Environment Facility (GEF) initiative some 8,400 households in the northern region of Mwanza were given solar energy systems. Following this success, the Government now requires all local authorities in Tanzania to include solar planning in their budgets, and has removed all taxes and duties on solar energy appliances. With over $5 million from the GEF and UNDP, we helped build government capacity to manage the extensive Eastern Arc Mountains, which serve as a water source for the largest city in the country, Dar es Salaam, and other urban areas. With a range of stakeholders including government ministries and non-governmental organizations, we developed a coordinated forest management strategy which is now being implemented.

In the health sector, UNDP has over the last two decades strengthened the institutional capacity of the national AIDSs commission (TACAIDS) and the Zanzibar AIDS Commission (ZAC) to respond to HIV/AIDS and its impact as well as social-economic factors that lead to the epidemic. UNDP’s interventions have enabled both Tanzania and Zanzibar governments to mainstream HIV/AIDS in all ministries, department and agencies in their development agenda.

UNDP has contributed to promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country, with leadership demonstrated under various programmes. Under the DEP, UNDP supported the training of over 1,000 women, youth and persons living with disabilities, who were aspirants for last year’s general elections to improve their public speaking and campaigning skills. Although women represented just nine percent of the competition in last year’s polls, this was the largest proportion of female participation Tanzania had ever experienced.

All year we’ll be highlighting the impact of UNDP’s development work and the 38 years of its partnership with the United Republic of Tanzania. We invite you to reflect on our shared history, and take part in the great work ahead—crafting strategic interventions where development assistance can be most effective.

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