ENVIRONMENT, Climate and Wildlife Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu yesterday said Zimbabwe is in a serious state of climate crisis with Government continuously exploring ways of reducing greenhouse emissions while building resilience among communities.
Zimbabwe has not been spared from the effects of climate change with the latest weather forecasts indicating a very strong likelihood of an El Niño event, which is expected to result in a severe drought.
Weather experts predicted that most parts of the country will receive normal to below-normal rainfall due to the El Nino effects.
According to the 2023/2024 rainfall season forecast report, the bulk of Matabeleland North, parts of Midlands covering Gokwe North and South districts, and parts of Matabeleland South province covering Bulilima District are expected to receive below-normal-to-normal rainfall.
Normal rainfall with a bias towards below-normal rainfall is highly likely for the remaining provinces for the sub-season October-November-December 2023.
Based on these forecasts, the country’s Early Action Protocol (EAP) for Drought has been activated. Government has encouraged farmers to harvest water and also practice climate proofing Pfumvudza/Intwasa farming method.
Speaking during a climate change diplomacy training workshop for Zimbabwean experts in Bulawayo yesterday, Minister Ndlovu said the country has not been spared the effects of climate change with the rainfall season no longer reliable resulting in socio-economic sectors including agricultural production, food security, and access to energy being affected.
“We have a climate crisis, and that is precisely the reason why parties convene annually to discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience in communities across nations. Zimbabwe, among other vulnerable countries, has been experiencing increased frequency and magnitude of droughts, prolonged mid-season dry spells, heat waves, floods, violent storms, and tropical cyclone activity over the recent years,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“Our rainfall season is no longer reliable and the upcoming 2023/2024 season is predicted to be dominated by the El Nino phenomenon largely with below-average rainfall.”
In recent years, tropical cyclone activity and the associated violent winds and heavy rainfall have resulted in the destruction of infrastructure including food security, settlements, communication and transport systems, and networks.
Minister Ndlovu said the cost of reconstruction after extreme climate events is now beyond the capacity of communities.
He said the global community is working on building climate resilience and already 198 countries are now part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) endorsed in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (also known as the Earth Summit or Flo Conference) held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
“In 2015, the Paris Agreement was embraced again to fulfil work on Convention, strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this 21st century below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1,5 degrees Celsius,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“In addition, the Paris Agreement calls on Parties to increase their ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production.”
Minister Ndlovu said the agreement provides for finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
“As we are in the implementation period for the Paris Agreement, climate change diplomacy and negotiations are critical towards ensuring that all the objectives of the Paris Agreement are fairly and equitably delivered,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said ahead of the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, which kicks off in the United Arab Emirates next month, support for the capacitation of climate diplomacy advocacy can never be over-emphasized.
He said Zimbabwe is firmly committed to a multilateral approach to the global challenge of climate change.
“Under the Paris Agreement, through our revised nationally determined contribution, we committed to a conditional 40 percent emission reduction target per capita to be achieved by 2030. The conditions to attain the target are financial provisions from developed countries, technology development and transfer as well as capacity building,” said Minister Ndlovu.
He said to help in attaining the country’s mitigation commitment, a long-term Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) for the period 2020 to 2050 was developed.
“The LEDS proposes mitigation strategies across all the four Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sectors namely Energy, Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU), Industrial Processes and Product Use (PPU) and Waste,” said Minister Ndlovu.