Zim targets women, youth, disabled in climate action with new project

Jeffrey Gogo

The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife has launched a crucial project aimed at empowering women, youth, and people with disabilities (PWDs) to play a more significant role in tackling climate change.

Titled, “Amplifying the Role of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities in Implementing Zimbabwe’s Revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP),” the initiative was unveiled at an inception workshop held in Harare last week.

In his keynote address, Mr Kudzai Ndidzano, acting director, Climate Change Management Department, highlighted the urgency of addressing climate change, particularly in a country like Zimbabwe, which relies heavily on rain-fed agriculture.

He emphasised the importance of aligning climate action with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and integrating principles of inclusivity and social equity.

“To effectively confront this global climate crisis, we must embrace new perspectives, employ innovative approaches, and cultivate collaborative partnerships,” Mr Ndidzano said. “By doing so, we can forge a path towards a resilient and sustainable future.”

The project is funded by the NDC Partnership Fund and will be managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in collaboration with SNV Zimbabwe, Netherlands Development Organisation.

It aims to empower women, youth, and PWDs by facilitating their active participation in climate action. This will be achieved through awareness campaigns, capacity-building programmes, knowledge-sharing platforms, and documentation of successful initiatives.

Mr Ndidzano said the project complements existing national policies and strategies, including the Revised NDC, National Adaptation Plan (NAP), Youth Policy, Gender Action Plan, and National Climate Change Learning Strategy. 

These frameworks align with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and the Zimbabwean Constitution, prioritising environmental conservation, social equity, and inclusive development.

He also reiterated Zimbabwe’s commitment to addressing climate change, highlighting the country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement and its revised NDC, which pledges a 40% per capita emission reduction by 2030, contingent on international support.

The project underscores the importance of collaboration amongst various stakeholders like government ministries, civil society organisations (CSOs), youth groups, women’s organisations, and disability advocacy groups, who attended the workshop.

Mr Ndidzano stated, “By engaging all these stakeholders, we can garner diverse perspectives, expertise, and resources necessary to address the complex challenges of climate change and work towards a sustainable future.”

“Let us unite on the path of inclusive and sustainable development, guided by the principles of the SDGs, the foundations of NDS1, and the commitment to ensure that no one is left behind,” he added.

Climate change is causing severe disruptions in Zimbabwe. Droughts and floods are becoming more frequent and intense, jeopardising agriculture and food security, according to Tatenda Mutasa, a climate scientist with the Environment and Climate Ministry.

Water resources are strained, impacting both people and industries. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns threaten human health, infrastructure, and settlements, potentially leading to displacement, he said in a presentation at the workshop. The impacts also pose challenges for disaster response and recovery efforts.

The project launch marks a significant step towards empowering marginalised groups and ensuring that their voices are heard in the fight against climate change. By harnessing the collective knowledge and skills of all its citizens, Zimbabwe strives to build a future that is both sustainable and prosperous for all.

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