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Cablegate: Un Humanitarian Assistance Coordination

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000134

SIPDIS

USAID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA FOR HAJJAR, KHANDAGLE AND MARX
DCHA/FFP FOR LANDIS, BRAUSE, SKORIC AND PETERSEN
AFR/SA FOR POE, FORT AND COPSON
AFR/SD FOR ISALROW AND WHELAN
GENEVA PLEASE PASS TO UNOCHA, IFRC
STATE FOR AF/S DELISI AND RAYNOR
NAIROBI FOR DCHA/OFDA/ARO RILEY, MYER AND SMITH
REDSO/ESA/FFP FOR SENYKOFF
NSC FOR DWORKIN
PRETORIA FOR USAID/DCHA/FFP FOR DISKIN
DCHA/OFDA FOR BRYAN AND FAS FOR HELM
ROME PLEASE PASS TO FODAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL US ZI
SUBJECT: UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination
Meeting with the GOZ Officials and Donors


1. Summary. On Monday, January 13, the UN held its
first coordination meeting of 2003 on Zimbabwe's
humanitarian crisis among UN agencies, donors and
Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) officials. The large
number of attendees included July Moyo, the Minister of
Social Welfare, Labor and Public Works, David
Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
and Sithembiso Nyoni, the Minister of Small and Medium
Enterprise Development. This meeting reflected a more
frank discussion than had occurred in past meetings on
the humanitarian issues confronting Zimbabwe and,
hopefully, laid down a number of critical agenda items
that can be discussed in greater depth in this forum
over the coming months. End Summary.

2. The three GOZ Ministers explained their views on
Zimbabwe's main humanitarian challenges for 2003.
Minister Parirenyatwa listed the challenges as food
security, water availability, increased malnutrition and
disease, inadequate essential drugs and vaccines and
insufficient equipment and staff at hospitals and
clinics. Minister Nyoni listed the challenges as
poverty alleviation, creating jobs, supporting people to
create their own wealth and engaging young people.
Comment: Neither of these two Ministers mentioned the
policy environment created by the GOZ that has
contributed substantially to the humanitarian crisis and
that continues to impede efforts to address the crisis
in an effective manner. End Comment.

3. Minister Moyo acknowledged that the GOZ has not yet
met to discuss challenges for 2003. He stated that more
analysis needs to be conducted on the precise impacts of
the current drought and work needs to continue to refine
projections regarding agricultural production for the
season. He also stressed that logistical constraints
continued to be a problem impeding the import of
sufficient amounts of food.

4. Minister Moyo then opened the door to a more frank
discussion of the humanitarian issues confronting
Zimbabwe in 2003. He insisted that the GOZ should not
shy away from the difficult issues. First, he said
there was a need to confront allegations that the
selection of beneficiaries and/or the distribution of
food was done on a partisan basis. He also asserted
that if Zimbabwe is to improve food security, then the
GOZ and donors need to look at recovery activities in
the resettlement areas, but he recognized that donors
have been reluctant to work in these areas. He also
acknowledged the need to discuss policy issues, such as
the GOZ's monopoly in grain trading, but said that the
parties could agree to disagree.

5. Ambassador Sullivan and UK High Commissioner Brian
Donnelly both encouraged the Ministers present to
address the policy issues that impede progress on food
security. Also discussing the policy constraints,
European Commission Ambassador Francesca Mosca asked
innocently why the GOZ's Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
could not simply put food in the supermarkets. Minister
Moyo responded that in urban areas food was sold through
private millers and then to supermarkets, but stated
that in an environment of scarcity, some of this food
was sold "through the back door." Regarding rural
areas, Moyo asserted that commercial markets would not
deliver food to remote regions populated by poor people
and, therefore, the GOZ needed to institute a system of
central control to ensure that rural areas were not
denied food. Moyo also stated that this policy of
central control for food distribution to rural areas was
based on the experience of other countries from which
Zimbabwe had learned, but he did not indicate which
countries this might be.

6. Ambassador Sullivan and High Commissioner Donnelly
also encouraged the Ministers to take steps to address
the international perception of partisanship and
misallocations in the GOZ's food program based on widely
reported incidents. Ambassador Sullivan specifically
indicated that the UN's recently established Information
and Verification Unit, which was verifying the proper
distribution of international donor food, was available
to respond to similar concerns for the GOZ's food
program. The Ministers did not respond directly to this
suggestion, but Ambassador Sullivan's intervention laid
the groundwork for further discussion of this critical
issue.

7. In a follow up meeting the next evening among UN
Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator Victor Angelo,
Ambassador Sullivan and USAID Director, Paul Weisenfeld,
Angelo confirmed that he had fruitful discussions that
morning with the Ministry of Social Welfare. The
Ministry indicated a willingness to allow the UN's
Information and Verification Unit to verify GMB food
distribution, as long as the work was done jointly with
Ministry officials. Also, the Ministry had begun to
compile a list of anticipated GMB food imports for the
next several weeks. Access to this information would
improve coordination of GOZ and donor food distribution,
particularly with respect to logistical considerations.
Equally important, this information could serve as a
basis for the work of the UN's Information and
Verification Unit.

8. Ambassador Sullivan also emphasized to Angelo that
any future donor work in resettlement areas needed to be
thought through carefully and approved by major donors
in advance. Ambassador Sullivan explained that
humanitarian relief, such as food distribution, could be
defended in resettlement areas if distributed to the
most vulnerable populations with need as the operative
criterion, as long as need was established on the basis
of objective and verifiable indicators. Ambassador
Sullivan stressed, however, that most donors would not
fund agricultural recovery work in resettlement areas in
the current political and economic environment.

9. Comment. While the GOZ's opening to the possibility
of UN verification of GMB food deliveries is far from
bankable, it likely reflects the GOZ's recognition of
its inability to meet food demands or to control
leakages from the GMB system due to corruption and
diversion. Sullivan

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