Business Climate Development

Minister Ndlovu outlines Zimbabwe’s climate change development agenda

Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu

Taking into consideration the fact that climate change is real and continues to have adverse impacts on the African continent and Zimbabwe in particular, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has outlined a development agenda in response to the phenomenon.

He made the remarks virtually in his Keynote Address and Launch Statement for Zimbabwe’s Climate Change Strategy Documents on 26 February 2021. The documents launched include the National Climate Change Learning Strategy; Climate Change Mainstreaming Module for Development Planning; National Adaptation Planning Process Communication Strategy; and Green Climate Fund Country Programme.

Due to climate change, there has been an increase in extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and cyclones just to name a few. Extreme weather events such as Cyclone Idai, Cyclone Eloise and Cyclone Chalane have been catastrophic and have all taken place over a very short period of time.

These events have resulted in destruction of infrastructure, loss of lives and livelihoods and have greatly threatened our socio-economic development.

“Climate induced extreme events such as floods and droughts leave us with the task of enhancing our preparedness and ensuring that our socio-economic sectors are climate-proofed. Zimbabwe’s vulnerability to changes in the climate system is worsened by limited climate change knowledge and awareness among the citizenry.

“This is further exacerbated by the over-reliance on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, forestry and water resources. It is therefore critical to enhance climate change knowledge and awareness to enable citizens to participate from a well-informed perspective in the fight against this scourge,” Hon Ndlovu said.

Zimbabwe’s commitment to tackle climate change is unquestionable. The country has been part of the global efforts from as early as 1992 when countries assembled and endorsed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2015, the Paris Agreement was endorsed and it builds on the work undertaken under the UNFCCC, charting a new course of global action to combat climate change. Currently, Zimbabwe is playing its part in enhancing climate change knowledge and awareness, mitigation and adaptation actions.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his speech at the Climate Action Summit in December 2020, outlined the country’s commitment to address climate change. He said, ‘…there is need to have long-term strategies to guide the transition towards green and climate resilient economies. Through our own, Vision 2030, Zimbabwe has given itself an ambitious target of greening its economy by the year 2030. The First National Development Strategy running from 2021 to 2025 has mainstreamed climate change adaptation and resilience in all sectors’. Drawing from His Excellency Speech, Hon Ndlovu said the Strategy documents he launched form the building blocks towards a low carbon and climate resilient Zimbabwe.

In 2019, Zimbabwe received resources for the development of a National Climate Change Learning Strategy to address the existing gaps in climate change knowledge and awareness from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). This activity was jointly implemented with support from UNDP Zimbabwe Country Office.

The National Climate Change Learning Strategy systematically examines and identifies critical learning and skills development needs in key climate-related sectors, as highlighted in the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), National Adaptation Plans (NAP), and other climate-related policies and strategies.  The Strategy identified a number of specific climate change learning actions for the short, medium, and long term that are most appropriate to the national context.

The Learning Strategy makes it imperative that climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation, and public access to climate change information be prioritized in Zimbabwe bearing in mind that “an educated society is an empowered society.” This will reduce the impacts of climate change by enabling societies to be a part of the solution.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been instrumental in channeling resources aimed at building resilience to climate change related vagaries of our time. Zimbabwe is being supported by the Fund to strengthen its enabling environment for climate change mainstreaming. One of the ways has been through development of the National Adaptation Planning Communication Strategy that will propel climate change communication and advocacy in so far as it translates to behavioral change and adoption of climate smart interventions underpinning the resilience building agenda.

The unprecedented vagaries of climate change require that climate change be effectively mainstreamed in development planning and budgeting processes. As such, the Environment Ministry has developed a Climate Change Mainstreaming Research module to enhance the capacity of stakeholders critical in the planning process at national, sub-national and sectoral levels are able to integrate climate change considerations in planning and budgetary processes.  As devolution gains momentum, mainstreaming climate change in national and subnational plans will ensure that developmental gains are cushioned from climate shocks.

In an effort to enhance Zimbabwe’s capacity to mobilize multi-lateral climate finance, the country received support to strengthen GCF Focal Point referred to as the National Designated Authority (NDA) and develop a Green Climate Fund (GCF) Country Programme. Zimbabwe’s GCF Country Programme outlines national climate priorities and Zimbabwe’s strategy for engagement with the Green Climate Fund. The Country Programme also contains a strategy for building Zimbabwe’s Project Pipeline and Portfolio towards enhancing climate action in line with the national climate priorities that are aligned with the country’s economic blueprint, National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025). The identified national priorities for the Zimbabwe’s GCF Country Program over the next four years are: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Integrated Waste Management; Sustainable Forestry Management; Climate Smart Agriculture; and Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction.

The GCF Country Programme will allow Zimbabwe to tap into economies of scale, access more funds at a time, and partner with a wider range of stakeholders and development partners to increase impact, efficiency and transparency.

The five documents launched yesterday have been developed through a consultative process and have been aligned with national development policies and strategies such as Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030, and the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025). Climate change has been mainstreamed in NDS 1 which sets a thematic area on “Environment Protection, Climate Resilience and Natural Resources Management” and goes further to set a sector outcome of Improved Climate Action.

“I would like to encourage you all to embrace these documents and implement their provisions in your work as we step up efforts towards the attainment of Zimbabwe’s vision of becoming an upper-middle-income economy by 2030,” Hon Ndlovu added.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende