Maria Ribeiro UN Resident Coordinator Meeting with President

The new UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Maria Ribeiro today presented her letter of designation from the UN Secretary-General to His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

  • Building on the longstanding engagement in Zimbabwe based on a relationship of trust and mutual respect with all stakeholders, together with the UN Country Team in Zimbabwe – I look forward to supporting the Government and the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe to build a peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development and inclusive economic growth.
  • Having just arrived, it is immediately clear to me that there is a need to help change the narrative of Zimbabwe, recognizing the need for reforms but also the progress made that we can continue to build upon.
  • As a result of unprecedented climate and economic shocks, the humanitarian needs have unfortunately increased in Zimbabwe. The UN is working closely with the Government and the humanitarian partners to meet the priority life-saving multi-sectoral needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the humanitarian situation.  The development partners have demonstrated great solidarity, and the Revised Humanitarian Appeal is 51% funded with USD 240 million mobilized to date. Equally important is to continue building the necessary linkages between humanitarian and development support in which the United Nations has been delivering over USD 400 million annually (representing over 60% of Official Development Assistance to the country) under 2016 -2021 Zimbabwe UN Development Assistance Framework in a form of various development projects in social services, HIV, food and nutrition security, gender equality, good governance, and poverty reduction.
  • I recognize the ambitious and difficult economic reform measures undertaken by the Government under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and the IMF Staff-Monitored Program. I also recognize the critical importance of social safety net for the vulnerable groups to cushion the impact of the economic austerity measures.  The UN is jointly working with the Government to strengthen the social safety net – including the provision of basic services in health and education – and scale up social protection programmes as well as efforts to build the resilience of at-risk communities.
  • I commend the Government for inviting several Special Rapporteurs to assess different human rights issues in Zimbabwe. I look forward to supporting the Government to take forward the recommendations resulting from these Special Rapporteurs’ visits, as well as continued support to the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations.
  • I recognize that the national development planning process provides an important opportunity for convergence of national visioning through dialogue and inclusive citizen participation. Together with partners, the UN stands ready to support the preparation of the next five-year National Development Plan (2021-2025) that is also fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Brief Bio of Ms. Maria Ribeiro

The Secretary General has appointed Ms Maria do Valle Ribeiro (Ireland) as United Nations Resident Coordinator for the Republic of Zimbabwe, with the host country’s agreement.

Ms Ribeiro brings to the position over 30 years of humanitarian and development leadership experience in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean with the United Nations and International NGOs.  She served as UN Deputy Special Representative UNSMIL, January 2017 until September 2019.

Prior to joining UNSMIL, Ms. Ribeiro served as the Deputy Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau and was the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Angola and Mauritania.

Ms. Ribeiro held various senior positions with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), including Regional Chief of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Regional Office for West and Central Africa from 2006 to 2008; Representative for Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago from 2004 to 2006, Deputy Representative in Algeria from 2002 to 2004 and Chief of Planning in Angola from 2000 to 2002.


Prior to entry in the UN, Ms Ribeiro worked extensively with INGO’s, namely Save the Children UK in Liberia, Burkina Faso, Angola and the Caribbean and with Concern in Bangladesh and Mozambique.

Born in Portugal, Ms. Ribeiro holds a Master of Economic Science degree in Development Policy and Planning from the University of Wales (United Kingdom).

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