The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)


Partnerships for recovery and resilience in Africa

Together with partners, UNOPS is helping Zimbabwe recover from Cyclone Idai as well as tackle the health and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Eastern Africa.

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During AidEx Nairobi – the humanitarian aid and disaster relief event – UNOPS hosted two high-level panel discussions to explore the opportunities, challenges and lessons learned from providing crisis recovery responses in fragile African settings. Discussions included the role of multilateralism and the creation of the development and humanitarian nexus.

When a crisis arises it has a negative impact on the economic, livelihood and basic services access of the most vulnerable people. To tackle all the fronts and the consequences in the long term while ensuring that no one is left behind, partnership for recovery and resilience is key.

Worknesh Mekonnen - Director of UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Ethiopia

Building on the strong coordination within the UN family and with local and international partners, UNOPS is managing a multipolar approach to support the recovery and resilience of the most vulnerable people in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe.

With funding from the African Development Bank and the World Bank, UNOPS has coordinated a UN collaborative model for crisis recovery that effectively addresses multiple sectors, leveraging the competitive advantages of the various partners. These multi-faceted projects are being implemented by several UN organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Organization for Migration, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

For the World Bank, this has been one of the flagship programmes from which many lessons can be drawn as it has achieved great results through the collaboration of the different UN partners.

Fadzai Mukonoweshuro - World Bank deputy task team leader for the project

The large-scale European Union-Intergovernmental Authority on Development (EU-IGAD) COVID-19 Response Programme, managed by UNOPS, aims to tackle the health and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Eastern Africa. The programme supports vulnerable groups, including frontline workers, migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, border officials and cross-border communities through a variety of short and long-term interventions.

“This response addressed pockets of vulnerability, leaving no one behind in the region across 55 cross-border sites in 7 countries. Even when the initiative was an emergency response, we ensured the longer-term sustainability of each activity,” said Worknesh Mekonnen.

During discussions at the AidEx event, Girum Hailu, the Regional Coordinator for EU-IGAD, noted that this integrated and coordinated initiative has helped to mitigate the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic and that it can also serve as a solution for non-emergency contexts.

“We must build upon what we have achieved to scale up more resilient health systems,” he said.

These coordinated approaches have helped to deliver tangible results in multidimensional and complex settings.

“UNOPS will continue to support our partners to help countries across Africa build resilience and make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, including through multi-faceted approaches and strong coordination on recovery initiatives,” said Sheila Omom, UNOPS Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist in Zimbabwe.

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