GOVERNMENT departments have been urged to mainstream climate change issues in their programmes as the country moves towards climate change adaptation and mitigation to reduce its effects.
In an interview after a Matabeleland South Provincial climate change mainstreaming sensitisation programme in Gwanda on Wednesday, the deputy director in the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Mr Kudzai Ndidzano said Government departments had to become drivers of response to climate change in order to reduce vulnerability of communities.
He said provinces and districts were expected to come up with climate change adaptation plans to be implemented in their areas. Mr Ndidzano said the Government was working on linking the climate change agenda with the devolution concept in order to ensure that it was effective.
“As the climate change management department we have a responsibility to coordinate and plan for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The purpose of this meeting is to introduce to provincial stakeholders the programme which was launched by Government on the national adaptation plan. This is a three- year project which will run from 2019 to 2021 and during the period we are required to mainstream climate change at national and sub national planning.
“We want provinces and districts to factor in climate change in their development plans for example by holding climate change awareness meetings and coming up with programmes that enhance climate change adaptation such as disaster risk management. This involves constructing improved infrastructure such as schools, clinics, dams among others. Other interventions could be in the agricultural sector by upgrading irrigation schemes or producing supplementary feed for livestock,” he said.
Mr Ndidzano said when coming up with their yearly budgets districts should reserve allocation for climate change programmes. He said the district and provincial climate change plans will be incorporated in the national adaption plan.
Mr Ndidzano said the problem of climate change was long term and could not be solved immediately therefore provinces and districts had to come up with measures to adapt to the prevailing situation.
In a speech read on his behalf by Mr Ndidzano, Director in the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Mr Washington Zhakata said in response to the extreme climate change impacts being experienced throughout the country, Government had seen it critical to start strengthening policies, review plans at district, provincial and national level to reduce effects or impact of weather related extremes. He said the Government with assistance from a grant from the Green Climate Fund had started the process of establishing and strengthening an enabling environment for climate change adaptation.
Climate change scientist in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Mr Tirivanhu Muhwati said the climate change agenda had been previously lobbied mostly by Non Government Organisations but Government departments were now supposed to take the leading role.
Government is in the process on developing a Climate Change Bill which seeks to guide and enforce compliance to climate change issues.
Under the bill is a proposal for the establishment of the National Climate Change which will see provinces and districts being allocated funds to implement their climate change adaptation plans.