Zim announces plan to protect wetlands

File pic: Wetland

Government says it is targeting to restore the ecology of 350 000 hectares of degraded wetlands across the country, as part of a broad strategy that has been underway to save the delicate ecosystem.

Zimbabwe is endowed with diverse flora and fauna species and good soil for agriculture.

But wetland management has recently become a huge cause for concern due to several reasons.

New settlements that have been established in the past decade have been on wetlands, while some economic developments, such as mining activities, have also encroached onto wetlands.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu disclosed the plan during a United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, last week.

It is an international meeting bringing together governments from around the world focusing on protecting nature and halting biodiversity loss around the world.

“Improved financing, continuous engagement of stakeholders including local communities; gender mainstreaming; enhanced law enforcement and establishment of Transfrontier Conservation Areas with neighbouring countries have all contributed significantly to biodiversity conservation,” Ndhlovu said.

“Zimbabwe has also embarked on a five-year nationwide wetland restoration initiative targeting ecological restoration of 350 000 hectares of degraded wetlands in a bid to restore the ecological integrity of the wetland ecosystems and their dependent flora and fauna species,” Ndhlovu said.

The minister added that the loss of biodiversity was worrisome.

He said nations had to take practical measures to stem an imminent catastrophe.

“The loss of biodiversity is extremely worrying and calls for nations to take practical measures to stem this imminent catastrophe.

“This rapid decline of biodiversity has serious implications for humanity ranging from the collapse of food production, economic decline, and compromising of health systems, among others. We strongly believe that (economies) will provide parties with the necessary guidance and catalyse support for biodiversity conservation,” he added.

According to Ndhlovu, Zimbabwe recently completed its first-ever Biodiversity Economy Report which is the first step towards the economic valuation of its biological assets.

He said the ministry was taking steps to develop a natural capital accounting framework that will include measuring the flow of ecosystem services.

Ndhlovu added that financial resources; technology transfer; capacity building and knowledge management systems were vital in the achievement of targets.

The convention on biodiversity, which was adopted in Rio de Janeiro, is one of the most ratified treaties in the world. Zimbabwe ratified it in 1995.

It complements the efforts  made by governments and development partners to scale up to mitigate climate change.

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