Zimbabwe CSOs applaud progress on National Climate Change Response Strategy

by Shepard Zvigadza and Wellington Madumira, CCWG Zimbabwe
 Despite the current political and economic circumstances, Zimbabwe has made great strides towards coming up with a Climate Change national strategy with promising effects on future national planning.

The Zimbabwe Climate Change Working Group (ZCCWG) is closely monitoring the progress of the formulation of a National Climate Change Response Strategy to facilitate informed and structured climate change responses in the country. The Institute of Environmental Studies (IES) was contracted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management to Develop a National Climate Change Response Strategy in 2012. This strategy is quite critical as far as resource mobilisation for climate change programming by government and other stakeholders in the country is concerned.

The working group recently held learning and sharing workshop where CSOs shared their existing and future initiatives focusing on children, youths and agriculture as well as use of seasonal climate information. Attended by Civil Society, the Climate Change Office Coordinator and other representatives from government, the meeting served as a platform to learn about the outcomes of COP 18 as well as the current Climate Change Policy processes. After listening to IES representative narrating the process to date, ZCCWG and other CSOs during the meeting concluded that, Zimbabwe has made great strides towards coming up with the National Response Strategy document given the current political and economic circumstances.

Zimbabwe is a country under economic sanctions and many donors have been shying away to directly support financially some of the government led initiatives. However with the little funding that has been sourced, it has moved a great stride and this has demonstrated political will and the need to move on, despite these political and economic challenges.

Lack of government funding

Stakeholders held a number of consultative workshops with the opportunity to shape the national strategy. The last in-depth meeting was held in Bulawayo in December 2012. A zero draft highlighting the progress and gaps was finalised last November and should have ushered the final draft for implementation in December. However, Government funding is very thin and the process has stalled. Deadlines have been missed.

As soon as funds are available, there are plans to convene several consultative meetings in different parts of the country. The aim is to come up with action plans for different sub-sectors of the economy with clear-cut budgets on proposed projects.

But this progress has been hampered by lack of Government funding and is seeking funding from various institutions. CSOs in Zimbabwe appreciate UNDP Zimbabwe Country Office for supporting Government from the beginning of the Climate Change Strategy formulation process in early 2012 until now. UNDP has set the stage by availing resources and other operational structures within the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management for setting the ball rolling. It is now easy for other Donors to complement this effort by UNDP. Already the strategy is at final draft stage. COMESA and UNICEF additional funding has been secured for consultation of special groups and development of an implementation plan in order to operationalize the strategy.

Future budget for climate change

Once the Climate Change Response Strategy is ready there will be a budget for climate change at community, sectoral and national levels. This will lead the country towards a national policy, pave way for mainstreaming climate change into national development targets and limit the challenges being faced in addressing mitigation and adaptation.

The policy will help curb business and individual losses from climate-related disasters as well as firmly set the economy on the green growth path. While the policy will not prevent catastrophes from occurring, it will assist decision-makers to integrate disaster risk management into national economic and development planning, enhance capacity building and adaptation resilience among communities. The Strategy will help with ideas to enhance access to the Adaptation Fund.

About the writers:

Shepard Zvigadza is a CLACC Fellow of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), an SV Consortium member. Shepard currently chairs the Climate Change Working Group and is a member of the Government led Climate Change National Steering committee. Wellington Madumira is a Climate Change and Energy Project Officer and assistants on the Southern Voices project in Zimbabwe.