Climate adaptation initiatives launched in Binga

Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter

AS extreme weather conditions persist based on Meteorological Services Department projections, the shift in rainfall patterns requires enhanced resilience building to mitigate the adverse impacts on communities, experts have said.

The adoption of nature-based solutions for adaptation against climate change is seen as one of the steps to enhancing sustainability and food security.

Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change because of over-reliance on natural rainfall for agriculture and Matabeleland North province is among the driest regions in the country.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Zimbabwe has come up with a Climate Adaptation and Protected Areas (CAPA) initiative where it is working with Binga and Hwange Rural District Councils, Government departments, traditional leaders and local communities to promote natural solutions to strengthening climate resilience and protecting biodiversity.

There is strong focus on population demographics and gender on the realisation that climate change impacts heavily on women and children, vulnerable groups like the disabled, widows and others, men included.

WWF is holding a workshop with various stakeholders from these groups in Victoria Falls where representatives are being taken through an awareness on the importance of forests, wetlands and the whole ecosystem in general.

The programme would take three years, and is focusing on the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area and Binga and Hwange are the beneficiaries in Zimbabwe with some communities benefiting from Zambia.

The project seeks to engage local communities, traditionally underrepresented groups, women, and national and local authorities to design and implement nature-based solutions (NBS) for adaptation in and around protected areas (PAs) and critical landscapes in the Global South.

WWF Project manager for nature-based solutions, Ms Tendai Chinho, said the focus was to promote natural solutions to strengthen climate resilience and protect biodiversity.

The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada while the implementing partners are; the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Wildlife Conservation Society and WWF.

It is being implemented in four landscapes, which are KAZA TFCA, Greater Virunga in Uganda, Fiji and Belize in Central America.

“The ultimate outcome is to have increased resilience of women, men and diverse groups of people to current and future climate change, with gender equality and inclusion,” said Ms Chinho.

“The CAPA project is mainly focused at strengthening the use of natural solutions through nature-based solutions, which are approaches that address societal challenges through restoration, sustainable management and protection of natural or modified ecosystems in the process benefiting people and nature.”

The project is riding on past projects that WWF has done on climate adaptation, agro-ecology, biodiversity in Binga and Hwange.

“This is why we are working with traditional leaders and communities so we co-develop with our partners on the ground and make sure people not only rely on agriculture but other activities.”

Chief Sinamagonde of Lusulu in Binga said some wetlands had disappeared because of human activities.

“This programme is helping us realise the importance of the environment and the dangers we are facing,” he said.

“We are worried that wetlands we knew have dried up and rains are no longer falling as we used to know. We wish as traditional leaders we could be given powers to manage these protected areas.”

Chief Mvuthu of Victoria Falls concurred that some wetlands along Zambezi River had also dried up.

“We have places that we know if restored they can sustain people especially along the Zambezi River where we used to know there were swampy areas,” he said.

“We have learnt that we are the custodians of our environment and it is up to us to protect the environment the wetlands for future generations.”

Environment Management Agency Matabeleland North provincial manager Mrs Chipo Mpofu-Zuze said nature-based solutions are critical in restoring imbalances.

“The programme makes us realise that climate change is real and that there are initiatives that are being developed to respond to climate change. We are going to be using nature based solutions to restore imbalances and in doping that we have to take note of different groupings in our communities,” she said.

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