Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Laurent Delahousse has hailed President Mugabe as a knowledgeable leader who deeply understands the consequences of climate change to Zimbabwe and Africa.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development to discuss climate change in the aftermath of the Conference of Parties held in France last year, Ambassador Delahousse also applauded Government efforts to clear foreign debts.
“I met President Mugabe last year while accompanying a French envoy discussing issues to do with electricity in Africa and it was very late afternoon. The President was tired he had met many people during the day and we were his last visitors.
“We found a man deeply knowledgeable about climate change, deeply understanding the consequences of climate change in Zimbabwe.
“Totally with us in some very technical discussions we had about financing especially the $100 billion climate funds,” he said.
He described the meeting as very interesting and important moment .
Mr Delahousse said he was impressed by Zimbabwe’s commitment to clear its foreign debts.
“The Government through the Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa presented a very courageous and very aggressive strategy of clearing these arrears. This will necessitate from Zimbabwe a lot of efforts, economic reforms and tough decisions like reducing the wage bill of Government.
“These efforts will lead to the re-opening of international financing for Zimbabwe,” he said.
He said COP21 and involvement of Zimbabwe in negotiation was a very good platform to normalisation of political relations with the country’s international partners and international community.
In a speech read on her behalf by Climate Change Department deputy director Ms Veronica Gundu, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri said Government concurred with stakeholders calling for the release of more resources to developing countries to fight climate change.
“This is also being demonstrated by the impending food insecurity/drought/El Nino situation likely to befall the country this year. This call by the church has been supported by scientific consensus about the occurrence, causes and consequences of climate change and the need for action is inevitable,” she said.
Chief Fortune Charumbira said developed nations have accepted causing climate change and should pay through financing mitigation and adaptation initiatives.
“For now let us work on what we have agreed. The African group and China were very forceful, very keen to get results on loss and damages.
“The developed countries caused losses and damages arising from extreme weather conditions such as drought and destruction of infrastructure,” he said.