Charity Chikara, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has expressed its commitment to continue working on conscientising communities on the effects of climate change and building resilience in different sectors that are affected by the global catastrophe.
Speaking at the policy briefing on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) at a Bulawayo hotel last week, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said it was important that information on climate change be taken to the grassroots.
“The Government has taken a step forward in its attempt to make sure that relevant and comprehensible information on climate change and its effects makes it to the people at grassroots level,” he said.
He said the destruction of the ozone layer which has brought with it changes in climate was associated with an increased prevalence of skin cancer and cataracts, reduced agricultural productivity, and disruption of marine ecosystems.
He said it was with that in mind that the Government was working to ensure information was taken to the communities that were prone to such effects so that adaptation measures were put in place.
Minister Ndlovu said it was important that there was inclusivity in the approach to climate change which had manifested itself in increased temperatures, flooding, droughts and cyclones.
He called on the media to play ball by making sure that information was packaged in simple languages that could be understood by the ordinary people.
The workshop saw presentations being made on national climate policies and strategies, climate mitigation in Zimbabwe, climate initiatives, projects and programs including the National Adaptation Planning (NAP).
Other presenters noted that many African countries, Zimbabwe included were faced with a predicament of striving to find equilibrium between self-development and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
They said most African countries still rely on fossil fuels and switching to renewables sources of energy was not supposed to be an event but a gradual process although fossil fuel extraction and usage have multiple social and climate change impacts which lead to the loss of biodiversity and livelihoods.
It was also noted that many sub-Saharan countries were failing to include climate information in long-term development planning.
“Ensuring climate-resilient development requires a step change in how medium- to long-term climate information is produced, communicated and utilised in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Adapting to climate change is a challenge that spans timescales. Although communities are feeling the effects of climate change now, the most severe impacts will be felt in the decades to come,” said one of the presenters.
The presentations came from the climate change management department, climate mitigation experts, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF).
The relationship between climate change and health was also deliberated on as studies showed that the two are inter-dependent. There are various diseases that are related to climate change such as malaria.