Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday met British Ambassador Melanie Robinson and discussed his forthcoming trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to be hosted by Britain in Glasgow.
Britain invited President Mnangagwa to attend the global conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow next month but while this was necessary and expected as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it also provides an opportunity for continued progress in normalising Anglo-Zimbabwe relations.
Besides acting as a boost for the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement efforts, President Mnangagwa’s visit will also unlock trade opportunities with the Western world, which dovetails with Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
The President’s visit is also expected to boost Zimbabwe’s chances of making its case to the global community, including the British Foreign Office for the re-admission into the international community particularly the Commonwealth, from which it withdrew in 2003 at the height of a diplomatic tiff between Harare and London in December 2003.
In 2019, President Mnangagwa met Commonwealth secretary-general Mrs Patricia Scotland on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly where she expressed satisfaction with the reforms that Harare was instituting and implementing.
President Mnangagwa spoke with Ambassador Robinson for over an hour, with the two discussing several bilateral issues affecting the two countries.
Of late, Britain has been deporting Zimbabweans with criminal records in that country, a normal process and a sign of shift in policy by London, which has over the years given sanctuary to Zimbabweans. In an interview soon after their marathon meeting, Ambassador Robinson said their discussion was productive as it centred on the pending visit.
“I had a fruitful meeting with His Excellency, the President. We were talking about his upcoming visit in the UK for the Conference of Parties (COP26); there are climate change talks we are hosting in the UK in November. We talked about climate change, its importance in providing successful outcomes for Zimbabwe and other countries that are vulnerable to climate change.
“We talked about Zimbabwe’s important role in tackling climate change. We also talked about UK-Zimbabwe relations and how much it can influence the President’s visit,” said Mrs Robinson.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Fredrick Shava concurred saying much of the discussions were on the UK trip by President Mnangagwa.
The climate change talks will bring together Heads of State and Government, climate experts and campaigners to agree on a coordinated action to tackle climate change.
The COP26 summit will bring together parties to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Britain has been chosen to host the major event together with Italy.
Speaking after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said President Mnangagwa will lead a Zimbabwean delegation and present the efforts that Zimbabwe is undertaking in the face of climate change.
Some of the measures include the various afforestation and reforestation programmes, conservation agriculture (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) and emitting less on its growth trajectory towards Vision 2030.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the implementation of renewable energy projects in the country and use of more efficient low emission technologies in thermal power plants also reflected Government commitment towards reducing emissions.
“The nation is informed that Zimbabwe is a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose major objective is the stabilisation of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
“These gases contribute to climate change. This objective is being fulfilled through the Paris Agreement of 2015 on climate change, which mandates all countries to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through nationally determined contributions,” she said.
The targets will be reviewed every five years.