The international humanitarian community has increased its donor appeal for Zimbabwe by over 30 percent to better reflect the depth of need in the ongoing crisis.
"Clearly, significant changes in the country's political and socio-economic landscape have occurred since January 2009," the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Zimbabwe, Agostinho Zacarias, said at the launch on 1 June of the revised Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) 2009 in the capital, Harare.
The need to revise the CAP, the most important tool for raising resources for humanitarian action, had become apparent by early March, when the initial appeal for US$550 million had ballooned to around $719 million needed to support the key areas of agriculture, health, education, food aid and safe water.
A country-wide cholera outbreak and a spike in food insecurity during the lean season had "aggravated an already difficult socio-economic environment of hyperinflation and collapsed basic social services," the CAP said.
Six million people had limited or no access to safe water and sanitation; 1.5 million children required support to access education; 800,000 people were in need of food aid, and 44,000 children younger than five years needed treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, said the government recognized that "the social-economic situation in Zimbabwe would have deteriorated to levels that could easily have lead to social unrest" without the support of the international community.
|The revised CAP comes at a time where Zimbabwe has moved into a new context, not only politically, but also socially and economically|
"The revised CAP comes at a time where Zimbabwe has moved into a new context, not only politically, but also socially and economically."
The formation in February 2009 of the Inclusive Government - comprising President Mugabe's ZANU-PF, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change - led to the Short-Term Emergency and Recovery Programme (STERP), which had "paved the way for the country's rehabilitation," the CAP said.
While the CAP is a strictly "humanitarian" financing tool, and thus traditionally restricted to short-term emergency needs, the revised version tried to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development work in the new Zimbabwean context. "Essentially, the revision reflects a combination of new opportunities and deepening needs," the document noted.
Previous appeals had underlined the need for assistance in water and sanitation, health, education and protection, but "most sectors continued to suffer from lack of support - it is from there that the concept of 'humanitarian plus' activities emerges in this revision, including activities that are transitional in nature, but which ... are considered time-critical and life-saving."
Misihairabwi-Mushonga noted: "This revised CAP takes into cognizance the expressed need for Zimbabwe to move from the humanitarian-support stage to the recovery stage - 'Humanitarian plus' simply means Zimbabwe is no longer a country in crisis but a country in recovery."
The CAP document was less optimistic: "In spite of the positive impact of the humanitarian response and initiatives by the Inclusive Government, the international community remains relatively cautious."
It is uncertain whether the revised CAP will translate into more funding; at $246 million the initial appeal was still only 45 percent funded by the end of May, and more than half that amount was carried over from 2008, with an aditional 18 million coming from money available in the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. Actual funding to the CAP was therefore only 17 percent, compared to 25 percent at the same time a year ago.
The STERP, too, remains underfunded. Of the $18.4 billion required until the end of 2009, by April African governments had pledged only $400 million in credit lines.