‘Zim committed to protection of heritage sites’

ZIMBABWE is committed to enhancing its capacity to protect its World Heritage Sites from climate change and ensure their integrity is secure from the harmful effects of the global phenomenon, a senior official has said.

There are five World Heritage Sites in Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls, Mana Pools, Great Zimbabwe Monument, Khami Ruins and Matobo National Park.

Speaking during the ongoing 42nd UNESCO General Council meeting here, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director of scientific services Professor Edson Gandiwa said: “There is mounting evidence that climate change is affecting world heritage sites and in Zimbabwe, both natural and cultural sites are affected.

“Extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods, human-wildlife conflicts, invasive species, erosion and siltation have the potential to affect the integrity of heritage sites.”

Zimbabwe, he said, “was committed to enhance the management capacity of our World Heritage Sites and effectively design appropriate adaptation measures to manage climate change impacts”.

To mitigate the effects of climate change, Prof Gandiwa said the country has updated and reviewed its national framework and management plans.

He said the country has also enhanced its research capacity to explore and understand the “interlinkages between climate adaptation, vulnerability assessment of the Outstanding Universal Value of our world heritage sites”.

He said without significant intervention, part of the country’s important heritage may be lost to the effects of climate change. In recent years, wildlife in some national parks have starved to death owing to water and forage shortages.

Droughts have also led to increased human-wildlife conflicts, as wild animals move into human communities in search of water and food.

Last year, more than 60 people were killed by wild animals, while hundreds were injured countrywide.

Sunday Mail

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