ZIMBABWE has received a US$100 000 grant from the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation to finance the National Climate Change Learning Strategy which seeks to promote climate change awareness in the country.
The grant awarded through the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has been issued under the United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership Programme for Southern Africa to which Zimbabwe has become a signatory along with Malawi and Zambia.
Addressing delegates during a Project Inception and National Planning Workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, Climate Change Management Director Mr Washington Zhakata said the climate change learning strategy would help mitigate negative impacts of climate change primarily caused by limited climate knowledge.
He said the learning programme will help the country to climate-proof all the socio-economic sectors and create knowledgeable and safe members of the public.
Mr Zhakata said mainstreaming of climate change in education, awareness and skills development will also promote effective climate change management.
Recently, a climate induced disaster, Cyclone Idai, affected more than 850 000 people in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique and hundreds lost their lives.
Mr Zhakata attributed the disaster to information gap on changes in the climate system that has promoted less preparedness from the public.
“Zimbabwe was admitted into the United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership Programme for Southern Africa and received US$100 000 for the development of a National Climate Change Learning Strategy. The US$100 000 is a grant from the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation through the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The grant supports the strengthening of individual and institutional capacities to address climate change,” he said.
“The impacts of climate change are becoming more evident with increased incidences of droughts, cyclones, floods, hailstorms and heat waves. Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the global economy with developing countries like Zimbabwe being more vulnerable due to their low adaptive capacities, limited climate knowledge and over-reliance on climate sensitive sectors like Agriculture, water and forestry.”
Mr Zhakata said the learning project comes at a time when the country has started working on the National Adaptation Plan that will promote inclusion of climate change programmes in development planning.
He said the need to combat climate change is in line with the country’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that mandates the country to implement education, training and awareness programmes at both national and sub-national levels.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development came up with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and one of the goals, Goal 13, calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts with ambitious targets, inter alia, to improve education, awareness- raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning. Zimbabwe is implementing the 20230 Agenda and is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” said Mr Zhakata.
He said the management will work with universities in implementing the learning programme to help strengthen learning and skills development on climate change.
Mr Zhakata commended the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation through UNITAR for availing a grant that will help the country achieve “Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Zimbabwe” through the National Climate Change Learning Strategy.