President expected in Dubai for COP28 President Mnangagwa bids farewell to Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport last night as he left for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, where he will attend the COP28 – Picture: Ministry of Information.

Leonard Ncube in DUBAI

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa left Harare for Dubai last night and is expected to join other Heads of State and Government today at the official opening of the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) at the Dubai Expo Centre in the United Arab Emirates.

The high-level global event began yesterday and will end on December 12, with Zimbabwe being represented by a high-powered delegation comprising various ministers and technocrats both from Government and the private sector.

The multilateral platform is a grand platform for the country to advance its engagement and re-engagement interests amid high expectations for the unlocking of climate financing.

Zimbabwe will also showcase to the world various adaptation strategies that the Second Republic has introduced to build the economy while enhancing resilience, especially through climate-proofed agriculture, which President Mnangagwa is expected to talk about at the summit.

Speaking to journalists here yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere said Zimbabwe has come up with several strategies including climate-proofed agriculture, water harvesting and legislation to accelerate climate change mitigation.

“This is a multilateral platform, which provides an opportunity in terms of engagement and re-engagement, which is also aligned to our policy as a country as we seek to engage with all institutions,” he said.

“This conference is going to discuss climate financing and the discussions will also centre around interventions, livelihoods and environment, and also focus on ensuring that we accelerate climate management, and at the same time the interventions that the Government of Zimbabwe has made under the leadership of President Mnangagwa.”

The minister said Zimbabwe was determined to ensure adequate capacity building in managing the environment, infrastructure development in terms of dam construction, and irrigation schemes to counter the challenges brought about by climate change.

He said the Climate Change Management Bill, which sailed through Cabinet this week, and the Statutory Instrument that brought about the management of carbon credits and the centralisation of the framework, were a testament to the commitment the Government has to addressing climate change impacts.

“So, this multi-lateral platform allows Zimbabwe to engage with other Heads of State and other international organisations on how best we can collaborate and how we can also secure funding in terms of climate change and align with Sustainable Development Goals as we journey towards an upper middle-income society by the year 2030 but taking care of the environment as well. So, we are expecting the President tomorrow,” said Dr Muswere.

Environment, Climate, and Wildlife Management Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, who is the host minister for Zimbabwe, said while the climate crisis intensifies by each day, no concrete decisions have been made so far or implemented at a global level.

“From COP27 the major outcome was on developing countries managing to get an agreement on loss and damage, which is compensation for the losses that they are suffering as a result of climate change and extreme weather events,” he said.

“What then happened over the last year has been a lot of back and forth, especially on loss and damage. There are some developing countries that the developed world feels should also contribute to the loss and damage fund but I would like to say from our African group of negotiators, a lot of progress has been made and we have been very firm in emphasising that the developed countries really need to make progress,” said Minister Ndlovu.

He said for more than a decade “promises have been made” without any fulfilment on the ground.

“It’s high time we come up with concrete action. We hope at the end of this COP28 we will be able to come up with an implementation matrix with timelines on when the fund will be in place and how it can be accessed,” said the minister.

“We are emphasising again that this can only be in the form of grants, we don’t expect it again to be another debt burden to developing countries.”

Minister Ndlovu said Zimbabwe’s participation at the COP28 is crucial as the country has a big role to play in conscientising other nations on climate change-related issues, resilience building, adaptation and mitigation as the country has good stories to share in terms of advances made in climate-proofing agriculture, renewable energy, water harvesting and providing alternatives, especially from lithium mining.

“We believe that Zimbabwe has good lessons for the world to learn from and we are happy that the President will be leading the delegation to share what leadership has done and what other colleagues can do to mainstream adaptation and build resilience within communities,” he said.

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