Youths are key in fighting climate change: UN

Esther Muia

YOUTHS need to be capacitated with skills to strengthen their participation in mitigating the effects of climate change, a United Nations official has said.

Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector has borne the brunt of climate change, evidenced by recurrent droughts and floods.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association recently revealed that the country has suffered seven droughts, 22 epidemic episodes, 12 floods between 1990 and 2017 due to climate change.

At a Climate Action Training of Trainers workshop in Harare early this year, United Nations resident and humanitarian co-ordinator and UNFPA country representative Esther Muia urged youths to continue to work on strategies to mitigate the devastating impact of climate change.

“Climate change has impacted on all aspects of our lives, therefore, youths are key for development as most of them are vibrant,” she said.

In his presentation at the workshop, principal climate change specialist in the Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry Tatenda Mutasa said Zimbabwe needed to reduce emissions and build the resilience of local communities.

He added that the country should adopt environmentally-friendly ways of energy generation and also embrace the use of electric vehicles, solar energy and biogas.

“Due to the increasing incidences and severity of climate-related disasters which have eroded economic growth and slowed down progress in the achievement of sustainable development goals, we saw it fit to draft the Climate Change Bill which will enforce our efforts in as far  as emission reduction is concerned,” Mutasa said. “This climate action requires resource mobilisation because there is need for more resources to improve education, awareness and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation.”

The two-day training programme, which ended yesterday, covered  a number of topics which include climate change causes, the human contributory factor, and mitigatory factors to control climate change in communities and the environment.

Zimbabwe is committed to reducing emissions by 40% per capita (per person) by the year 2030.

This is hoped to be achieved by shifting to renewable energy technologies in the transport, energy and agricultural sectors.

Climate change has resulted in Zimbabwe having low yields due to crop failure because of global warming.

Government has implemented various farming preservation methods, which include the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Government has warned that the country’s weather will become increasingly dry in the coming years as climate change continues to take its toll on southern Africa.

According to a 2019 World Bank report on Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, the country loses US$126 million per annum due to production risks largely associated with drought and other weather-related phenomina.

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