Climate justice, policy of leaving no nation behind
Hon Dr Jenfan Muswere-Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services
Expo City Dubai
During one of his plenty engagements at the Conference of Parties (COP) 28 and specifically his presentation at the high-level meeting of developing landlocked countries, President Mnangagwa, courtesy of his diplomatic charm was able to summon the world’s conscience to task.
Riding on the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the President profoundly articulated Zimbabwe’s input to climate change mitigation. Throughout his well-thought advocacy, he emphasised that ‘no country must be left behind in the fight for climate justice’.
The exportation of his domestic policy proposition of ‘Leaving No One and No Place Behind’ does not only substantiate his consistency to principles, but it further expresses a genuine zeal to impart Zimbabwe’s inherent egalitarian values to the world.
This is an exemplary step in humanising global politics which has been characterised by the protracted Global-North and Global South antagonism. In all modesty, the President simply called for both the perpetrators and victims of climate violence to unite towards the protection of the climate.
In a world so dominated by profit proliferation over sustainable environmental principles and human livelihood, the President still underscored that the ‘nationally determined contribution’ of Zimbabwe to climate change amelioration will not and must not prejudice the livelihoods of the working class.
His presentation was a clarion call to the human-centric predisposition to the issue of transition and embracement of adaptative mechanisms to climate change.
Under the leadership of President Mnangagwa very decisive steps have been taken to mitigate climate change.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme as a Government climate-proof innovation has guaranteed food security beyond the pre-land reform era productivity milestones.
Our success in wheat production was another sterling marvel for the delegates at the COP 28 summit to the total agitation of those who thought the land reform policy was going to fail.
In the aftermath of our recent election, a ministry specifically responsible for the environment and climate change was created.
Investment in dam construction has been increased with a view to promote aqua-culture, increase hydro-electricity generation and mainstream national irrigation processes for guaranteed food security.
Binding provisions to carbon credit management and policing of environmental degradation remain at the core of Government focus.
Research on environment and climate change continues to get treasury support. The National Waste Management Model adopted by the Cabinet expresses the State’s interest in promoting environmental protection.
True to this position, on 6 October the President commissioned Zimbabwe and arguably SADC’s largest waste processing project spearheaded by Geo-Pomona Waste Management Private Limited.
In the third year of implementation, the Geo-Pomona project will be expected to commence its waste conversion to energy in line with climate change adaptative demands.
These interventions and templates from the Zimbabwean experience pointedly highlight our nation’s compliance to progressive climate action as espoused by the Paris Convention.
Meanwhile, the accelerated growth of our agriculture sector under the Second-Republic is also indicative of our carbon credit base increase.
Agriculture is the backbone national green economy.
The agro-ecological tailoring of our farming sector is also supporting industrial growth and resultant employment creation.
This was followed by the issue of Statutory Instrument (SI) 150 of 2023 dedicated to regulating Zimbabwe’s carbon credit market.
This legislation provides for the legal framework necessary for ensuring sustainable environmental management and mainstreaming Zimbabwe’s contribution towards global efforts to reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has also been capacitated to be an enforcing authority for all environmental statutes.
The same applies with the Forestry Commission.
All these indicators point out to the multifaceted climate change management framework that Zimbabwe has adopted.
In exerting his sincere consensus to other world leaders, President Mnangagwa condemned the unfinanced radical energy transition.
Citing the unsustainability of this approach, he underscored that transitional frameworks must not marginalise the working class and prejudice their livelihoods. His pro-people tilting was unequivocal in expressing how policy-making must be underpinned on humanism.
Like other nations in the asymmetric divide of global power, our encounter with climate change is a result of the massive industrial fossil fuel use, oil and gas.
These crimes to universal planet preservation laws are a result of the profiteering narcissism of the traditionally industrialised nations.
Beyond the prescriptive tenets for energy transition which are not considerate of Africa’s climate-change vulnerability, President Mnangagwa said there is need to go back to the communal basics epitomised by the Zimbabwean ‘village’ economies.
The village basics espoused by the President are instructive of our ancient climate mitigation models designed.
These time immemorial innovations express the organic moral good-will of Africa’s preceding generations protecting the health of the earth.
The presentations by President Mnangagwa at the COP 28 Summit perhaps point out to the need for the world to turn to Africa’s ancient wisdom(s) of environmental preservation.
Nonetheless, with the increase in carbon emissions, Africa has borne the brunt of the climate pandemic.
To this end, Zimbabwe is Party to this concerted global quest for climate change. This is despite our innocence from climate crimes.
Against a precedent of Africa’s marginalisation in global political-economy policy-making, Zimbabwe’s participation at COP 28 among 200 other nations gestures the magnitude of global the need for collective agency in dealing with our climate crisis. COP 28 exposes the superficiality of the Global-North and Global-South divide.
To this end, Zimbabwe has provided leadership to the world through the moral tenets of the ‘engagement and re-engagement policy’.
Now, that engagement and re-engagement at a broader scale must mobilise the conscience of all residents of the earth to unite towards a common endeavour of climate justice now than never before.
Pursuant to the growing convergence of nations on the climate question, there is equal need for the same energy to be channelled towards the unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some colonial regimes of the West.
The moral mandate for Zimbabwe to contribute to progressive climate action while subjected to the albatross of illegal sanctions represents an injustice.
Therefore, the same measure for the collaborative fight against climate change must be applied in calling for Zimbabwe’s freedom from these sanctions.
As noted by progressives the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are primitive relic of imperialism and its perpetuation in the world’s full glare.
Dr Muswere is the Minister of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services.