Climate Community Development

Legislators to Lobby for Wetlands Protection

By Tendai Guvamombe

Legislators are a key tool to influence the formation of informed polices and realign laws in the quest to advance sustainable wetlands management for the greater good of Zimbabwe.

This was revealed by Chairperson of Environment and Tourism Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, Honourable Concilia Chinanzvavana at a Breakfast Meeting on Wetlands attended by Harare Wetlands Trust and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in Harare yesterday.

In her key note address Honourable Chinanzvavana asserted that wetlands preservation calls for active participation by parliamentarians to lobby for important issues that pertain to environmental management.

“As legislators we can influence the formulation of informed polices and where necessary amend legislation so that we advance sustainable wetlands management for the greater good of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, more time should be vested for us to identify gaps in the law and challenges created by the existing legislative framework,” she said.

Despite having 75 percent new legislators in the House of Assembly, the Portfolio has thrown weight behind preservation of wetlands a move which will see local citizens appreciating their socio economic values.

“The Committee on Environment and Tourism joins all of us to jealously protect our wetlands one of the most important resource we have for present and future generations.”

“More than75 percent parliamentarians are new because they have come in for the first time in into this session of parliament so it is very necessary that we keep them abreast with what is happening  in the legislation and how they can lobby this very important issue of wetlands in the environment.”

“The ecological environmental and economic value our national wetlands have is appreciated by our own citizens.”

The move follows petitions and recommendations lodged by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) sometime last year diligently calling for domestication of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and the UN Convention on Biodiversity.

Julia Pierine, the Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) Coordinator, expressed concern on the sustainable future of Harare’s Wetlands alleging that time is now ripe for the government to gazette laws on environmental protection.

“According to researches done recently local dams such as Chivero will be in complete siltation in the next 40 years. Therefore, we call on the government to gazette laws on preservation of wetlands which now occupies a small area in Harare.”

“Sustainable development can only be achieved in Zimbabwe if we join our hands together in the preservation of natural environment,” she said.    

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende