Leading the efforts of 25 UN entities and multiple partners over the past four years, she has reflected on efforts to achieve national sustainable development priorities that harness Mozambique’s immense resources and potential.
“Mozambique and the Mozambican people are wonderful. The potential for sustainable development is enormous, given its population, the incredible wealth of natural and mineral resources and the country’s geographical location.
However, to be sustainable, development must be resilient to all types of shocks. Since mid-2019, my work and the effort of the United Nations country team has focused on supporting Mozambican institutions, civil society and the people to achieve sustainable development while responding to and overcoming shocks caused by to climate change, COVID-19and conflict.
The beginning of my mission coincided with the reform of the United Nations development system and the formulation of a new Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026 by the government of Mozambique and the UN. This resulted in cooperation focused on the collective engagement of the United Nations in Mozambique with national institutions, civil society and the private sector.
I saw my role as someone who listens and catalyzes capacities and resources to achieve priorities and overcome challenges. Four years later, thanks to institutional will and leadership, the commitment of civil society and the dynamic efforts of the United Nations and the international community, I can say that much has been achieved.
Early warning systems have saved lives
With the support of the UN, public investments in early warning systems have established a sophisticated capacity for forecasting and early action, strengthened evacuation protocols and effective relocation plans, and scaling up resilient building techniques and planning.
In early 2023, Cyclone Freddy, the world’s longest-lasting and most energy-producing tropical cyclone on record, hit the country twice, killing far fewer people than in 2019, when more than 600 people were killed by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
My first field trip, a few days after taking office, was with António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, to meet survivors of Cyclone Idai.
Every year since, an extreme weather event has devastated parts of the country. The strength and resilience of the Mozambican people made a deep impression on me.
Therefore, one of my top priorities was to leverage my convening and influencing role, building the capacity of the entire UN system on climate resilience and disaster risk reduction.
Now, climate resilience and disaster risk reduction are among the four strategic priorities of the Cooperation Framework, as well as the coordination platform of the international community, with exponentially growing success, despite daunting challenges.
Strategy to combat COVID-19
Through a similar partnership, Mozambique implemented one of the most successful COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa. Safety net programs targeted the most affected populations and small businesses, helping to absorb the shock of the crisis and mitigate negative coping mechanisms. Gender-based violence programs have improved their reach despite movement limitations.
As Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations, and with the guidance and support of the new United Nations Development Cooperation Office, I was able to contribute to the coherent engagement of United Nations entities to respond to the pandemic across the United Nations Multisectoral COVID-19 Response Plan. The plan has helped shape United Nations support for institutions, civil society and the achievements of the international community.
In northern Mozambique, thanks to our combined efforts within the framework of cooperation and humanitarian response plans, the UN and its partners provided immediate support to more than one million displaced people and host communities.
At the same time, we support Mozambique’s plan for the reconstruction and integrated development of the north and the reconstruction plan for Cabo Delgado to rebuild and expand basic services everywhere, with opportunities for all as a path to lasting peace.
Gender gains and challenges
Gender parity in the Council of Ministers was achieved in 2021, placing Mozambique among the top three countries in Africa to have 50% or more women in ministerial positions.
Women are true leaders and shapers in Mozambique, at all levels, from key state institutions to the community and household level. My greatest admiration and respect goes to them, for their courage, resilience and wisdom.
Yet gender-based violence is extremely widespread. As a national priority, a broader commitment to women’s equality is being leveraged to address gender-based violence, building on the strong results of the UN and European Union Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Supporting breakthrough progress
These are just a few of the many examples of the instrumental role that the United Nations’ consistent engagement is playing, through its reform efforts and the improved resident coordinator system, in supporting decisive progress in the sustainable and inclusive development of Mozambique. .
It is a true and concrete demonstration of the vision of the Member States on how to successfully realize the values of the Charter of the United Nations.”
United Nations Resident Coordinator
- The United Nations Resident Coordinator, sometimes referred to as the RC, is the highest representative of the United Nations development system at country level.
- In this occasional series, UN News invites resident coordinators to blog about issues important to the UN and the country where they serve.
- Learn more about the UN’s work in Mozambique here.
- Learn more about the United Nations Development Coordination Office here.