Zim develops policy on adoption, use of electric cars to mitigate climate change

Freeman Razemba in Geneva, Switzerland

Zimbabwe is in the process of developing a National Electric Mobility Policy, a framework towards the adoption, use and disposal of electric vehicles in the country as part of its efforts to mitigate climate change, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona has said.

The minister said this while addressing delegates here who are attending the 86th Session of the United Nations (UN) Inland Transport Committee (ITC) under the subject, “Accelerating Climate Change Mitigation in Inland Transport: Reaping Synergies with Urban Development, Environment and Energy Policies.”

Minister Mhona said they have put across various projects that include the adoption and incorporation of energy-efficient projects in the transport sector policies, capacitation of research and development towards new infrastructure technologies, and adoption of energy-efficient vehicular technologies.

He said the government, through its state-owned enterprise, the Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED), has accelerated a programme for the purchase and deployment of electrical vehicles.

“It is an honour to contribute to this panel discussion on the topic: “Accelerating climate change mitigation in Inland Transport: Reaping synergies with urban development, environment and energy policies.” As I contribute Zimbabwe’s perspective to this discussion, let me acknowledge the exceptional leadership of the ITC in steering its work.

“I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe is committed to enhancing cooperation under the United Nations System, and to the adoption of international good practices and standards on all matters under the purview of the ITC. Cooperation at both the bilateral and multilateral levels in the context of engagement and re-engagement lies at the heart of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy as espoused by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa,” he said.

Minister Mhona said Zimbabwe joins the United Nations family in shaping the global agenda underpinned by the critical question that is among the top policy priorities for governments around the world – chiefly, “Accelerating climate change mitigation in Inland Transport .”

“Zimbabwe continues to be guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a critical instrument in measuring our progress as we collectively push forward issues of sustainability and the imperative for all to urgently address the multidimensional challenges of climate change. We share the collective aspirations under the United Nations which is a common platform for Member States to develop and implement strategies, programmes and actions in relation to climate change such as the Paris Agreement, developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“The thrust should be to move away from the business-as-usual approach towards the development of resilient infrastructure and systems that will support an inclusive but differentiated transition to clean technologies by all countries “taking into account global efforts in a nationally determined manner, the Paris Agreement and the different national circumstances on seeking pathways and approaches in a just, orderly and equitable manner”.

Over the years, and in the context of the common agenda articulated at various meetings and conferences such as the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and the Conference of Parties under UNFCCC, with the most recent being the CoP28 in the United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe has committed to various resolutions on the synergies between the transport sector and climate change mitigation, and the need to develop resilient and sustainable infrastructure,” he said.

Minister Mhona said in essence, these resolutions have catalysed the implementation of strategic initiatives and regulatory frameworks actively implemented towards adaptation and mitigation in the transport sector.

He said in terms of synergies between the urban development environment and energy policies, Zimbabwe takes cognisance of the reality that globally, transport is a major emitter of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and that the transport sector is responsible for 23 percent of the total such GHG emissions.

He said most cities in the global south are faced with unplanned urbanisation and growth of vehicle population, thus piling unprecedented pressure on socio-economic development, such as traffic congestion, air, water, land and noise pollution, GHG emissions, road accidents and fatalities, health hazards, safety and security issues, insufficient infrastructure and financial resources, among others.

“The risk is further compounded as the magnitude and frequency of natural disasters and extreme weather events have increased exponentially in recent decades. On its part, and within its Whole Economy and Society approach, Zimbabwe has developed the Climate Change Policy, the Renewable Energy Policy and the National Climate Change Response Strategy. These policy frameworks are meant to develop implementation modalities towards adaptation and mitigation. Currently, the Government of Zimbabwe is developing the requisite legal framework with the view to harnessing multi-stakeholder commitment to address effects arising from the intersectionality of climate change and transport.

“To align with global trends, Zimbabwe is in the process of developing the National Electric Mobility Policy, a framework towards the adoption, use and disposal of electric vehicles in the country. The consultative processes have involved government institutions, the private sector, civil society and various other groups across the country. We have put across various projects that include the adoption and incorporation of energy-efficient projects in the transport sector policies, capacitation of research and development towards new infrastructure technologies, and adoption of energy-efficient vehicular technologies.

“To support these efforts, the government, through its state-owned enterprise, the Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED), has accelerated a programme for the purchase and deployment of electrical vehicles. We can accelerate climate mitigation if we put our heads together and pull our resources towards achieving what we agreed on,” he said.

Minister Mhona added, “Our focus for the transport sector should include targets to strengthen resilience and adaptation capacities for the transport sector, integrate climate change strategies into national transport policies, raise awareness about climate change and how it affects transport and road safety and provide funding to landlocked developing countries, to the least developed and small island developing states in building strategies and systems for the transport sector.

We should also unlock the value which lies in digital solutions for safe and clean transport models. We need to collectively consider our level of sustainability and how to reach our targets.”

He said as the effects of climate change continue to affect everyone, this should be the basis for greater urgency, stronger action and effective accountability.

“These efforts however remain constrained, primarily because of limited capacities. In particular, we need progress on finance and capacity building. In line with the mantra to leave no one behind, we need to commit ourselves towards these matters and sensitise our people on climate change. A collective approach remains a clear and holistic pathway towards the reduction of GHG emissions.

“As I conclude, let me underscore that climate change cuts across all countries, regardless of economic stability or level of development. We stand ready as Zimbabwe to work with all progressive forces to mitigate the effects of climate change, including through the transport sector. The aspiration of net zero GHG emissions from inland transport by 2050 should continue to steer our direction and endeavour,” he said.

Minister Mhona said Zimbabwe embraces smart, win-win partnerships and sustainable cooperation with all through its “enemy to none and friends to all” foreign policy thrust as enunciated by President Mnangagwa.

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