France ready to engage Zim on climate change issues

FRANCE says it is ready to resume full engagement with Zimbabwe, particularly on issues to do with climate change, an official has said.

Tonderayi Matonho

Speaking at a pre-Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last week, French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Luarent Delahousse said the embassy has already indicated its intention to engage Zimbabwe.

“We are ready to engage Zimbabwe full-scale and normalise co-operation and economic relationships and we really appreciate the government of Zimbabwe’s political statement to drive the climate change processes and negotiations,” he said.

Delahousse commended the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change for involving the private sector, donor partners and the civil society in the organising of the meeting saying climate change affected every sector of society.

“The French Presidency under Article 96, has advocated for transparency in negotiations at the COP 20 UNFCCC in Lima, Peru as this will create confidence among member states in adopting a low-carbon society,” he said.

Washington Zhakata, head of the climate change office in the Ministry of Environment said it was high time industrialised countries lived up to their promise to deliver the pledged billions of dollars to the developing countries.

“Negotiations at all the COP processes since the first in 1991 have not been transparent and developing countries have felt cheated throughout. It was after COP 9 that negotiations started to be more serious and levels of commitment were raised and as we head to Peru, we urge developed countries to live up to their promises,” he said.

Zhakata said there were calls to replace the Kyoto Protocol and move towards a new legal climate change framework that was more transparent, accountable and replacing “commitments” by developed states with “contributions”.

He said that Zimbabwe was now better-placed in its negotiations and position with the inception of the climate policy now almost complete.

At the last COP 19 developed countries pledged $100 billion to developing countries per annum by 2030 to mitigate the effects of climate change. But developing countries felt that the time-frame was remote and needed to be reduced to at least 2020.

Throughout the deliberations, the meeting was punctuated by the need to improve negotiating capacities in accessing climate change funding mechanisms, particularly the bi-lateral funds and how much Zimbabwe needed as a country in terms of mitigation and adaptation.

“What is coming out clearly from this meeting are transparent and accountable processes led by developed countries, how should we capacitate ourselves in negotiation skills in reaching out the climate change funds and as a country how much do we need in terms of mitigation and adaptation,” said Peter Gondo deputy director of the Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources and the meeting’s facilitator.

France has since pledged $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund to be accessed by the developing countries.

In his closing remarks, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, Prince Mupazviriho, said: “Zimbabwe supports the Africa position and continues to call for the ambitious commitments from developed countries to reduce further the Green-House Gas emissions. The French Embassy has clearly stated its commitment towards this”.

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