Lift sanctions on Zimbabwe so that we can tackle climate change and attain middle-income status by 2030- Mnangagwa says


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The COP26 meeting of nations came at an extraordinary time in world history. Many countries are still battling the pandemic, its impact on public health and public finances. At the same time, the urgency of the climate crisis is forcing transformational changes to economies. The discussions over these two weeks have been critical to agree on a collective way forward and I am proud to represent Zimbabwe at this important moment.

In my country, we feel the impact of climate change more than most. Our temperatures have risen by approximately 2 degrees Celsius over the past century, which has seen a significant increase in extreme weather. In the past two decades alone, we have had to deal with 10 droughts. If world leaders do not step up climate action, developing nations at the forefront of the fight against climate change will see jobs lost, livelihoods destroyed, and lives devastated. That is something we must avoid and that is why Zimbabwe is coming to the table with ambitious plans to tackle climate change and save our planet.

My government has now committed to reducing emissions by 40 percent before 2030. This builds on a previous commitment for a 33-percent emissions reduction set in 2017. The new target will see greenhouse gas emissions curbed to 44.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) by 2030, a reduction of about 30 million tonnes. One of our routes to achieve that is through significant expansion of renewable energy with the aim of having 26.5 percent of all energy from renewable sources by 2030. This includes investment in hydro energy, solar energy and biomass.

We have also reaffirmed our commitment to conserve the diverse wildlife we have been blessed with. We have 11 protected national parks, each one provides a safe environment for our wildlife, including African buffalo, African bush elephant, the critically endangered black rhinoceros, southern giraffe, African leopard, lion, plains zebra, and several antelope species.

Last year, mining was banned in all those national parks. Moreover, my government entered a partnership with conservation non-profit African Parks, signing a 20-year agreement in November 2020 for the management of Matusadona National Park.

However, with all that ambition, we still need to cope with the shocks of drought and the impact of climate change through necessary social safety nets. That is why I have been appealing for multilateral support to supplement our efforts. Developed nations need to widen access to climate finance as soon as possible. Sadly, the longstanding pledge to contribute $100bn annually to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change has been elusive. The wealthiest countries must set an example and speed up this financing. All it demands is political will.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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