Early marriages rise as climate crisis deepens


In this story:

  • Climate Change Management Bill consultations launched
  • Legislation to strengthen governance & regulation
  • Climate crisis affects social life


By Conrad Mwanawashe

THE El Nino-induced drought is threatening human security as climate change, often called a threat multiplier, intensifies resource scarcity and worsens existing social, economic and environmental factors in Zimbabwe.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe requires about US$2bn to secure food and ensure that no one will succumb to or die from hunger.

According to the United Nations, human security means
safety from chronic threats such as hunger, disease,
and repression as well as protection from sudden
and harmful disruptions in the patterns of daily life
– whether in homes, jobs or communities.

Following these unpredictable rainfall and extreme weather patterns, which triggered droughts and floods and a decline in agricultural output leading to loss of income for a broad segment of the population; Zimbabwe is fast-tracking the development of the Climate Change Management Bill, a piece of legislation designed to strengthen institutional arrangements, governance and regulation for a comprehensive and holistic response to climate change.

The Bill also seeks to establish a Climate Financing Framework for Zimbabwe.

A countrywide programme to solicit for stakeholder input into the Climate Management Bill was launched, Monday, by Environment, Climate and Wildlife Minister, Dr Sthembiso Nyoni in Harare.

“Today, we are gathered here with a shared purpose and a common goal to address the pressing challenges borne out of the climate crisis and chart a path forward to a brighter future for all. As you know, the climate crisis is changing the world, with grave implications for the rights of both the current and the future generations. This stakeholder engagement, therefore, serves as a platform for collaboration, dialogue, and collective action as we tackle the complexities of climate change management,” Dr Nyoni.

In a presentation justifying the development of the Bill, Deputy Director – Climate Change Adaptation in the Climate Change Management Department of the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, Kudzai Ndidzano said whenever productivity is reduced, social impacts are felt and the Bill will strengthen climate response in Zimbabwe.

Click here to download Principles of the Climate Management Bill

“We have issues such as water shortages, things that affect livelihoods and income and whenever productivity is reduced, then you also have other social impacts, such as failure to pay school fees (for your children). You actually have school attendance dropping because there’s no food.

“It also feeds into other ills, such as, psychological issues, crime, child marriages and the disproportionate weighting of women and vulnerable groups. While able-bodied people can find other means to survive, this becomes a challenge for people with disabilities,” Ndidzano added.

The UN estimates that more than 20 million people globally
are forced to leave their homes and
move to other areas in their countries each year.

“We also have excessive rains resulting in flooding, destruction of infrastructure, then displacement and migration. In all of these, there are health impacts, where there is either too much or too little rainfall. We can end up with waterborne diseases and with below normal rainfall, people are forced to use unsafe water sources,” said Ndidzano.

The Bill also looks at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 1 – ending poverty, Goal 2 – ending hunger, Goal 6 – water sanitation, Goal 7 – affordable and clean energy, Goal 13 – climate action, among other goals.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate, Wildlife and Tourism, Joanah Mamombe, said climate change “is no longer a distant threat, but a reality we face every day, here in Zimbabwe and across the globe”.

“We are witnessing the devastating effects of rising temperatures, erratic weather patterns and environmental degradation. Therefore, this draft bill represents a decisive step forward in our determination and collective fight against the climate crisis. The stakeholder consultation and engagement process is vital because we all need a robust Climate Change Management Bill that reflects the unique needs and circumstances of our nation.

“Hence, to achieve this, we must ensure that there’s truly an inclusive consultation process that leaves no one and no place behind. We need to reach out to our women, our children, the elderly communities, people living with disability, the business community, the academia and those that are in the internet and stand firm as a voice of the voiceless,” said Mamombe.

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