Sunday Mail Reporters
ZIMBABWE has set a target for the economy to go green by 2030, with the country’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), putting in place the necessary pillars for environmentally-friendly targets, President Mnangagwa has said.
He made the remarks in Harare last night during the Virtual Climate Ambition Summit held to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement that advocates ratcheting up efforts by individual countries to fight climate change.
Co-hosted by the United Nations (UN), France and the United Kingdom (UK), the global event saw dozens of Heads of State from around the world presenting their 2030 climate plans, post-2020 climate financing as well as climate change adaptation programmes.
The high-level summit featured announcements that demonstrate “genuine progress” compared to existing policies in the fight against climate change.
Among Heads of State who made pledges to improve climate commitments at the summit were China’s President Xi Jinping, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In his pre-recorded address to the summit, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would play its part to contribute to the global target of limiting temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“With climate change clearly emerging as the greatest developmental challenge of our time, the best available climate science points to a need for long-term strategies that guide the transition towards green and climate-resilient economies. In this regard, Zimbabwe has given itself an ambitious target of greening its economy by 2030. Our National Development Strategy, which will run from 2021 to 2025, has mainstreamed climate change adaptation in all sectors.
“Zimbabwe has also crafted its Long-term Low Emission Development Strategy which provides a range of costed climate change mitigation options that Zimbabwe can undertake to contribute to the global goal of limiting the temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
The President said Zimbabwe’s long term goal is to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent in 2050 through promoting environmentally friendly projects such as solar and hydropower.
“These initiatives include the US$2.6 billion Batoka Hydro-power project, a joint venture with Zambia, the US$13.2 million City of Harare Biogas Plant, and the US$250.8 million Off-grid Solar Electrification programme. When fully financed and implemented, our Long-term Low Emission Development Strategy will, by 2050, result in a 40 percent reduction in Zimbabwe’s current greenhouse gas emissions.”
President Mnangagwa commended the UN’s Green Climate Fund for assisting Zimbabwe to build its climate change resistance.
The GCF is a United Nations-backed fund which seeks to help developing nations in Africa and around the globe, cope with climate change by funding projects that reduce emissions, improve access to renewable energies and promote food security.
The President implored other partners to increase support to the Green Climate Fund to enable developing countries to increase their capacity to fight climate change.
“Zimbabwe’s access to the US$3 million grant from the Green Climate Fund has been instrumental in our efforts to develop our National Adaptation Plan, the key to addressing the impact of climate change. My Government has also mobilised its own resources for this process.
“The UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement call for developed countries to provide adequate means of implementation of climate change programmes in developing countries.
“I therefore urge our partners to contribute more to the Green Climate and Adaptation Funds, and to double their bilateral support towards enhancing climate action in developing countries in line with their international commitments.
“In conclusion, I wish to underscore that the success of the climate regime is based on transparent and fair contributions by all Parties, based on their respective capabilities. The livelihoods and lives of millions depend on this.”
Zimbabwe is strongly committed to adaptation to climate change through programmes such as the climate-proofing Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme that promotes climate resilience for agriculture production.
Other measures include dam construction and revitalisation of irrigation schemes.
The Batoka Hydropower venture, which is tipped to be the country’s biggest power project, is also a symbol of Government’s commitment to go green.
In Zimbabwe, the key climate change risks stem from increasing temperatures, variable rainfall, and the intensification of extreme weather events.
Over the past two years, the country has experienced successive droughts, primarily because of climate change.
In addition, extreme events such as floods and droughts due to climate change are now common.
Early last year, Zimbabwe was one of three Southern African countries hit by the powerful Cyclone Idai, which caused extensive destruction of road and rail infrastructure and killed hundreds of people and animals.
The Paris Agreement, which was adopted at COP 21 in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015, constitutes a major landmark agreement on climate change that seeks to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.
The agreement, which came into force on 4 November 2016, currently has 188 parties. All parties to the agreement are expected to undertake ambitious efforts to support the agreement’s goals and communicate their related intentions every five years in the form of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCS).
All NDCs must contain emission reduction (mitigation) measures. Developed countries are expected to set economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets, while developing countries are expected to continue to enhance their mitigation efforts and move over time towards economy-wide reduction or limitation targets.