Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council has embarked on a drive to produce the legally required Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAP), a critical document which the city has failed to produce over the past 18 years.
The formulation of the document comes after Harare provincial development coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Muguti criticised the city for lacking seriousness on wetlands preservation, as the city is operating without a legally required LEAP.
Addressing stakeholders during the formulation of the LEAP document in Mutare, acting city town clerk Mr Bozman Matengaru said the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has since 2003 been embarking on training activities aimed at capacitating local authorities on the production of LEAPs.
“Since 2003 the City of Harare has not managed to develop its own LEAP, and has had to approach the EMA to assist with both training and capacity to develop its LEAP,” he said.
Mr Matengarufu said a LEAP is a local plan that councils develop for the management of the environment in areas under their jurisdiction.
He said local authorities are mandated as stated in Section 95 of the Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27) to develop these plans.
Speaking on the sidelines of the five-day workshop, Harare Wetlands Trust programmes manager Mr Selestino Chari said the Environmental and Socio-Economic setting of the City of Harare should be at the top of the programme to set the tone of the meeting following straight after the LEAP guiding legal framework.
“A comprehensive description of the environment will need to be incorporated into the presentation including wetlands/woodlands/biodiversity of both wetlands/woodlands.
“Map of wetlands/rivers and woodlands to be printed and made available for stakeholders to appreciate the full picture of the situation regarding the environment on the ground,” he said.
Mr Chari said the presentation of the National Development Strategy 1 and the City of Harare Strategic Plan to follow on from environmental challenges identification.