ZIMBABWE is keen to work with other countries to mitigate the impact of natural disasters such as cyclones and droughts, which displace people.
This was said yesterday by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza in Geneva, Switzerland on the occasion of the General Debate at the 70th Session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee’s (UNHCR) programme.
The session runs from October 7 to 11, 2019.
Minister Nzenza said; “. . . my delegation welcomes the idea of mainstreaming climate change in forced displacement discourses.
“We are ready to work with others given that Zimbabwe has of late experienced the devastating effects of climate change induced cyclones and droughts.”
Minister Nzenza saluted the UNHCR for the assistance rendered not only to refugees at Tongogara Refugee camp, but also to Zimbabweans affected by Cyclone Idai in March this year.
Cyclone Idai killed over 400 people and destroyed infrastructure in Manicaland and parts of Masvingo.
“The Government, with assistance from development partners, repaired the damaged housing units as well as the water and sanitation facilities in the camp.
“In addition, over 200 new dwelling units were constructed in the camp. The Government of Zimbabwe will continue to assist the refugees affected by the Cyclone within the context of the Post Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project spelt out in the 2019 Zimbabwe Tropical Cyclone Idai International Humanitarian Assistance Appeal,” said Minister Nzenza.
She explained that due to the devastating nature of Cyclone Idai, which also affected Mozambique and Malawi, it was important to minimise gas emissions to lessen the impact of climate change.
Minister Nzenza said climate change-induced natural disasters, rising sea levels and desertification were causing “massive displacements in Africa and elsewhere”.
“The eco-systems are collapsing, and science has it that this is likely to have a devastating impact on our world in future if we do not take active measures to compact climate change and global warming.
“Climate change is real. It affects all of us, the greenhouse emitters and the non-emitters. It affects both the developed and the developing worlds.
“As a generation, we need to act now to preserve the mother earth and prevent massive forced displacements that happen on account of climate change,” she said.
The minister said Zimbabwe was also joining others in committing to “end statelessness by 2024”.
“To this end, a number of activities under specific commitments to the Office of the High Commissioner are to take place during the second half of the campaigning including consideration of ratifying the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.”
The 70th Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR High Commissioner’s Programme takes place when Zimbabwe is the coordinator of the humanitarian affairs within the African Group in Geneva.
This saw Zimbabwe, through the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Taonga Mushayavanhu, delivering a statement on behalf of the African Group.