By Byron Mutingwende
The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are among the strategies aimed at addressing the challenges associated with climate change.
Climate change has the potential to impact negatively on almost all sectors of the economy. Zimbabwe like other African countries has been experiencing impacts of climate change which includes severe floods, frequent and prolonged droughts, declining crop yields, loss of livestock, decreased water availability as well as increase in vector and water-borne diseases.
Elisha Moyo, the Principal Climate Change Researcher in the Climate Change Management Department of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate said that after recognising the devastating impacts of climate change, the Government has put in place a number of initiatives in order to address the challenges of climate change.
“Some of these initiatives include crafting of the Climate Policy, National Climate Change Response Strategy, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), draft National Adaptation Plan among others. There are also various sectoral initiatives that aim at addressing the impacts of climate change and strengthen resilience of communities. Despite these initiatives, the level of awareness and understanding of climate change issues among stakeholders is still very low at all levels. One of the major reasons for this is the absence of national climate change communication mechanism to enable effective communication of climate change knowledge. In response, to this challenge, the ministry has since set up a Sub-Committee on NDCs communication, awareness and capacity building with the major aim to raise awareness of NDCs among stakeholders,” Moyo said.
Following the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s invitation to all Parties to communicate their INDCs ahead of COP 21, 147 parties responded by 1 Oct 2015. This represented 75% of all Parties to the UNFCCC, representing approximately 86% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010.
The NDCs outlined national efforts towards low emissions and climate resilient development in pursuit of the Convention’s objective and represented one of the main deliverables of COP21. The UNFCCC secretariat prepared a synthesis report on the aggregate effect of INDCS in response to a mandate by the COP to the UNFCCC in October 2015.
The results showed that INDCs represent a major step forward in efforts to address climate change and are expected to deliver sizeable emission reductions and slow down emissions growth in the coming decade. They will, however, not be sufficient to reverse by 2025 and 2030 the upward trend of global emissions.
“In light of current and projected climate change impacts, Parties, especially developing countries need to scale up their adaptation efforts with sufficient finance, technical capacities and adaptation technology. Finance needs of individual Parties for implementing the adaptation actions in their INDCs range from USD 100 million to over 200 billion. Despite the INDCs emission reduction efforts, the globe will continue to warm well into the century hence the need to invest in adaptation and further mitigation actions,” Moyo said.
According to Archieford Chemhere, the Youth Programmes Coordinator of Action24, his organisation as an active member of the sub-committee of the NDCs and through the Climate Change Policy and Advocacy Program (ClimPAL) being supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, facilitates policy dialogue meetings for stakeholders aimed at contributing to development of the National Climate Change Communication Strategy.
“The strategy is intended to enhance climate change awareness in the society. The strategy will focus on six thematic areas namely, general knowledge on climate change, adaptation, mitigation, climate change research, gender and financing. The Strategy provides a framework for generating and delivering key climate change messages to targeted audiences within the context of the national communication channels and procedure,” Chemhere said.
Chemhere said that at a recent workshop in Harare that was organised as a consultative process that builds to the formulation of Zimbabwe’s Climate Change Communication Strategy under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
“The country is already strengthening its activities to meet its target obligations under the Paris Agreement. Therefore, it is appropriate to engage with various stakeholders in business and civil society particularly in policy formulation that enables attainment of these targeted obligations. Action 24 through the ClimPAL program and the Government of Zimbabwe with support from KAF, is working towards that goal,” Chemhere said.
Shepherd Zvigadza, the Director of the ZERO Regional Environment Organisation said CSOs contribute immensely to NDCs. He alluded to the Ruti Irrigation Scheme in Gutu sponsored by Oxfam that seeks to contribute to sustainable livelihoods and resilience to climatic change among poor and vulnerable households through the establishment of a 60-hectare surface irrigation scheme in which 240 farmers were directly supported to cultivate individual plots of land. Close to 20,000 people in the Ruti Community are benefiting, by having organized 300 irrigation farming households, two clinics, one school, 10 local entrepreneurs, five solar technicians and one agribusiness centre.
SNV also embarked on a programme to build the capacity of existing rural entrepreneurs and youths for rural marketing, sales, aftersales services maintenance and last mile distribution of solar PV products in rural Zimbabwe.
Environment Africa took part in implementing a four and a half year bioenergy project entitled, “Biofuels Policies and Practices for the Sustainable Socio-economic Development of Zimbabwe.” It also has renewable energy projects in Mudzi, Zimbabwe and in Chikwava and Insanje in Malawi. Other partners in the project were the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Research and Specialist Services, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development as well as the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate.
The workshop participants focused on strengthening the formulation process of Zimbabwe’s Climate Change Communication Strategy under the NDCs. The intention is to improve stakeholders’ understanding of NDCs and their implications to economic development and to improve the Draft National Climate Change Communication Strategy framework.
The meeting formulated the initial stages of the consultative process. There was a strong call to the government to facilitate more engagement with a wider audience in the crafting of the communication strategy. More emphasis was highlighted on the need to engage grass-root communities in such policy formulation exercises particularly the farmers and marginalised groupings such as women and youth.