By Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry
It is my pleasure to deliver this keynote address at this important event of taking the climate change development agenda forward.
Allow me to start by expressing my appreciation to all of you for sparing time, to join us virtually at this launch of various climate change strategy documents.
It would have been more ideal to have a physical event but the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is not permitting.
The pandemic is affecting all of us either directly or indirectly and I would like to urge you all to continuously adhere to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 guidelines.
Coming back to the business of the day,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Climate change is real and continues to have adverse impacts on the African continent and Zimbabwe in particular.
Due to climate change we have seen 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.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Zimbabwe’s commitment to tackle climate change is unquestionable having 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, chatting 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.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa in his Speech at the Climate Action Summit in December 2020, outlined the country’s commitment to address climate change. In his own words, I quote, ‘…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, these Strategy documents we are launching today form the building blocks towards a low carbon and climate resilient Zimbabwe.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
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.
Distinguished Guests, ladies and Gentlemen,
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 my 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 our 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 the 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.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
These five documents we are launching today have been developed through a consultative process and have been aligned with national development policies and strategies such as our own Vision 2030, and the National Development Strategy 1 2021-25. 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 attainment of Zimbabwe’s vision of becoming an upper middle income economy by 2030.
As I conclude allow me to express sincere gratitude to:
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation through the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) for availing the financial support to develop this National Climate Change Learning Strategy for Zimbabwe;
Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the provision of readiness funding that resulted in the development of Zimbabwe’s GCF country program as well as work under the National Adaptation Planning Readiness project; and
All experts, consulting firms and stakeholders who contributed to the development of these above mentioned documents in support of the Ministry.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is now my singular honor and privilege to declare the Zimbabwe’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy; National Adaptation Plan Communication Strategy; the Climate Change Mainstreaming Module for Development Planning; and Zimbabwe’s Green Climate Fund Country Programme officially launched, it is now time to focus on implementation, towards a Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Zimbabwe,
I thank you all.