‘Release funds for climate change fight’ Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu

Africa Moyo recently in GLASGOW, Scotland

World leaders that gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference must urgently transform rhetoric into action if the world is to avoid plunging into a serious catastrophe due to climate change at a time water tables have gone further down, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu has said.

He said this on Wednesday during a side event at the ongoing COP26 in Glasgow. In a presentation titled, “Enhancing capacity of landlocked developing countries to address climate change and water-related challenges during Covid-19 era: Experiences and solutions”, Minister Ndlovu said it was important for world leaders, especially from developed countries, to honour their pledges to mitigate the impact of climate change mainly in developing countries.

“It is very clear that the effects of climate change are disproportionately borne by those who least contributed to it, the developing countries particularly the African countries,” he said. “The situation is far worse for land locked countries like Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe has in the last three to four decades experienced increases in temperatures, extreme weather events and changes in the weather patterns. The frequency and magnitude of droughts, floods, heatwaves and erratic rainfall patterns has noticeably increased.”

Minister Ndlovu said Cyclone Idai remained fresh in citizens’ minds after it affected about 270 000 people with over 340 lives lost.

He said humanity was increasingly confronting such weather vagaries and “this will intensify if the rhetoric that we have been hearing from world leaders at this COP26 and in many other platforms is not translated to urgent action”.

The agriculture sector in Zimbabwe, said Minister Ndlovu, provides a major source of livelihood for over 70 percent of the population, but the sector was largely rainfall dependent.

He said the high temperatures and precipitation irregularities caused by climate change were causing arid environments and increased water scarcity that makes it difficult for predictable agriculture.

Livestock production has equally been affected, from declining pasture yields to increased pests and disease incidences, all influenced by climate change.

“Climate change impacts heavily on food security of smallholder farmers whose operations are not covered by irrigation schemes,” said Minister Ndlovu.  “Where communities used to easily access water through shallow wells, they now need to dig deeper to tap up the water. Increased water scarcity is seen in depreciating ground water levels as the water tables are becoming deeper. This is clear evidence that the groundwater is getting depleted owing to a drier climate.

“Increasing water scarcity is also affecting the productive sectors of the economy such as mining, energy, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.”

Water also helps Zimbabwe generate electricity at Kariba South Power Station and other small hydro stations, hence erratic rains will impact power generation going forward.

Minister Ndlovu said despite not being a major polluter, Zimbabwe has made efforts to adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change.

Among the measures, Zimbabwe has developed supportive policies and strategies that include the National Climate Policy in 2017, the National Climate Change Response Strategy in 2014, National Renewable Energy Policy of 2019, National Agriculture Policy Framework of 2018 and National Biofuels Policy.

“In addition, the country has communicated its revised ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCCC together with the Low Emissions Development Strategy,” he said.

“The revised NDC commits to a 40 percent economy wide per-capita greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030 and includes an adaptation component. As I speak, the country has made significant progress in its National Adaptation Planning (NAP) process.”

Among the priorities in the NAP process and the revised NDC’s adaptation component, are early warnings and disaster risk reduction, climate smart agriculture, climate resilient infrastructure development, and resilient and sustainable water resources development.

Further, Zimbabwe is finalising the development of its Water Resources Masterplan to guide water resources development and management.

The process incorporated future climate scenario projections to guide water resources development and management.

The masterplan acknowledges the projected increased rainfall variability against an increasing demand for water and proposes measures such as sustainable catchment management, afforestation and reforestation, rainwater harvesting, wetlands conservation, efficient water resources utilisation and waste water re-use and recycling.

Minister Ndlovu said in November 2020, Zimbabwe launched the National Development Strategy 1 which charts policies, institutional reforms and national priorities needed, from 2021-2025.

He said climate action was at the heart of the plan, which is addressed in most of the sectors.

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