Kudzanai Sharara in Dubai, UAE
President Mnangagwa is expected to jet in this morning for the 28th edition of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP28), where he will join other world leaders to deliberate on the next steps in fighting climate change.
Emirati officials said on Tuesday they expect over 70 000 attendees at the talks, including heads of state and government but by end of day Wednesday over 97 000 attendees had registered.
This year’s COP 28 will mark the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake, the main mechanism for tracking progress under the Paris Agreement. It is also an opportunity to deliver groundbreaking climate action and climate justice for the global south with the establishment of the loss and damage fund set to dominate deliberations.
COP28, however, comes at a time little is being done to fulfil promises and commitments made over the years with regards funding climate change or reducing emissions.
This is in spite of the developing world increasingly suffering from floods, droughts and many others that result in loss and damage.
During his visit here on December 1-3, President Mnangagwa will address the COP28 conference, meet with world leaders, and host a meeting on Climate Smart Agriculture.
His “severely packed” schedule will see him join other leaders for a family photo just before the opening ceremony on December 1.
This will be at the conference venue, Dubai’s Expo City, a high-tech green district designed as a model for urban living.
President Mnangagwa will later address the Conference with a National Statement that is likely to focus on loss and damage, with emphasis on impacts of extreme events on Zimbabwe in the recent years.
The issue of just (energy) transition could also feature as Zimbabwe can showcase the mitigation potential as evidenced by emergency of off grid renewable energy production, climate smart agriculture, among others.
According to the schedule, President Mnangagwa will be the 15th Head of State in the world and 4th in Africa to address the Conference.
Following his address, the President will tour the Zimbabwe pavilion before attending a bilateral meeting at the Global Centre for Adaptation.
From there, President Mnangagwa could also attend a meeting themed “From Awareness to Action” at the invitation of the Presidents of Spain and Senegal.
The first day will conclude with a gala reception for Heads of State to be hosted by the UAE.
Day Two will see President Mnangagwa support his Botswana counterpart President Masisi who is hosting a meeting as chair of landlocked countries.
All SADC Heads of State are invited to attend a meeting on Combating Desertfication to be hosted by the Namibian President Hage G. Geingob.
President Mnangagwa is expected to speak at this meeting.
He will later host invited African leaders for a meeting themed “Climate Smart Agriculture” where he is expected to share Zimbabwe’s successes in climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agriculture sector.
Speaking ahead of President Mnangagwa’s arrival, Environment, Climate and Wildlife Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, who is already here, said among many successes that could have been picked for the President’s session “climate smart agriculture really stood out”.
“The President is impacting rural communities in ways not seen in Africa. We are reaching out to 1,8 million households and beneficiaries in the region of 3 million where we have not only assured food security for our people but they are also now economic participants.
“We felt that we had a good story to share so that its not only a success for Zimbabwe, but other countries can tap into,” he said.
Ndlovu said with proper financing, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme “can be a game changer in Africa”.
His counterpart Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme had resulted in a three-fold increase in the yields.
“Zimbabwe is a good example of success of our adaptation to climate change.”
Masuka said Zimbabwe will use COP28 to highlight the negative impact of climate change but also what has been done in terms of adaptation.