The Government has implored public and private sector players to formulate concrete and consistent solutions towards climate change adaptation and mitigation funding opportunities.
Zimbabwe has not been spared from negative effects of climate change given its reliance on climate sensitive sectors such as energy, agriculture, forestry and water resources.
This was revealed at the Financing Climate Change Adaptation conference hosted by Business Weekly in partnership with the Financial Markets Indaba in Harare yesterday.
Dubbed “Mitigation, Implementation and Adaption” the conference deliberated on issues around minimising the effects of climate change which has broadly afflicted regional countries with food and nutrition insecurity, health scares due to a variety of water borne diseases and uncertainty in hydro-electric power generation.
Conversations also centred on policy development and societal response to climate change, Environmental Social Governance (ESG), energy and climate change remedies on agriculture.
This conference comes after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCFCCC) COP27 that was held in the Republic of Egypt in November of 2022.
As it stands the Southern African countries are reeling under the devastating Tropical Cyclone Freddy whose death toll has surpassed 300 as the body count continues to rise, with authorities in Mozambique and Malawi still assessing the extent of the damage and loss of life.
Africa, however, finds itself in a catch 22, as a significant number of the population still uses firewood for energy, resulting in massive deforestation which is one of the major causes of climate change.
There are, however, sticking points particularly with regards to the use of thermal energy as coal also remains a crucial source of power in the Africa’s energy mix, making it hard for African countries to meet sustainability requirements in that regard.
As it stands, the Zimbabwean Government policy in terms of energy renewables, is to have about 2000 megawatts of additional energy generation from renewable sources by 2030, a position the country also presented at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26).
On the other hand, the high cost of capital equipment to have decent hydro and solar power generation plants, has remained a major stumbling block in the establishment and provision of renewable energy in the country.
Stakeholders at the event implored the government to consider enhancing financing of climate change mitigation measures so as to reduce vulnerability of communities particularly those that rely on rain fed agriculture.
In a speech read on behalf of Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu by Climate Change Scientist in the Ministry, Munashe Mukonoweshuro, the Government called for private sector-led approach in the implementation of issues around climate mitigation and adaption, while it ensures promoting a policy environment.
“Climate change remains a top most global concern and will remain in years to come. It is in this respect that the Government of Zimbabwe pays particular attention to planning forward. In all budgetary planning and allocation, climate change is the epicentre.
“The whole of Government approach, means ensuring an approach that is green, sustainable and climate resilient. Given the scale of climate change and its cross cutting impacts, adaptation efforts must take place on a greater scale. These climate facts impede, our country’s social and economic development aspirations.
“As a country largely dependent on nature resources, we face a climate crisis and we must act. This conference, must give concrete direction on climate action and available funding opportunities,” said Ndlovu.
He said Zimbabwe is largely dependent on natural resources, thus face a climate crisis which calls for action.
Ndlovu said the Government has lately been crafting mechanisms to mobilise climate investment particularly in the energy related sector.
“The energy sector remains an important sector of investment and greater resilience to climate change impacts will be essential to the technical viability of the energy sector and its ability to cost-effectively meet the rising energy demands driven by economic and population growth.”
However, the high cost of capital equipment to have decent hydro and solar power generation plants, has remained a major stumbling block in the establishment and provision of renewable energy in the country.
Head of agronomy services for Seed Co Zimbabwe, Wendy Madzura, indicated that her company had for some time been working on crop varieties that adapt to the rapidly shifting climatic conditions.
“At Seed Co we believe in channelling out climate smart varieties and crops that align to mitigation of climate change through matching with agro ecological regions.
“We have come up with varieties that produce more but at a shorter period and in that regard we still urge farmers to know their ecological regions so that they get better yield,” she said.
According to one expert in the field of sustainability, the ESG concept is in a big way linked to the United Nations (UN) set Sustainable Development Goals pillars which seek to improve the approach to environmental, social and governance matters in institutions across the world. Sustainability issues are now informing market conditions and as well becoming a significant trade barrier for producing entities that do not adhere to set guidelines.
A number of procurers now even qualify product pricing after weighing environmental, governance, and social input, prompting businesses to employ sustainability matters as part and parcel of their operations.