Zimbabwe Launches Climate Change Bill Consultation Process

John Cassim

Dried Tshatshane river in Matobo District in Matabeleland South in Zimbabwe, the image was captured early May 2024, by @John Cassim during an assessment of the effects of the El Niño induced drought.

Harare, Zimbabwe – Following the cabinet approval of the principles of the Climate Change Management Bill in 2023, a Climate Change Bill Consultation process has been launched in the capital Harare. The initiative marks a significant step towards a robust legal framework to address climate change in Zimbabwe.

The consultation process promises to be inclusive, with participation from a wide range of stakeholders. Academics, conservationists, parliamentarians, and the media all played a vital role in drafting the interim bill that will guide the consultations. This collaborative approach ensures that the final Bill reflects the diverse needs and perspectives of Zimbabwe’s people and sectors.

Speaking at the launch, Hon. Joanah Mamombe, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism, stressed the importance of public participation. “This 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,” she remarked.

Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, Sithembiso Nyoni, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the power of collective action. “Today, we are gathered here with a shared purpose and a common goal to address the pressing challenges borne out of the climate crisis,” she said.

The Bill aims to tackle critical areas like greenhouse gas emission reduction and building community resilience to climate change impacts. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide valuable input on these issues, ensuring the Bill offers practical and effective solutions.

Gender equality is another key consideration. As Minister Nyoni emphasised, “It is critical that this Bill clearly provides for gender considerations in climate action.” This ensures that both women and men have a voice in shaping climate solutions and benefit from them equally.

Transparency, accountability, and securing resources for implementation are also crucial aspects that will be addressed through consultations. By incorporating these elements, the Bill can ensure its long-term success in combating climate change.

Zimbabwe’s Parliament is taking a proactive approach, reviewing similar legislation from other African countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria. This comparative analysis will help them craft the best possible Climate Change Law specific to the country’s context.

The launch of the consultation process signifies Zimbabwe’s commitment to tackling climate change. With collaboration from all stakeholders, the country is poised to develop a Climate Change Management Bill that is comprehensive, practical, and paves the way for a more sustainable future.

The Bill comes at a time when the country has already established and put in place the National Climate Policy, the Climate Change Response Strategy, the Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy, the Nationally Determined Contribution and the draft National Adaptation Plan which however has taken rather too long to get the necessary endorsement from Cabinet.

Background 

Zimbabwe has a long history of commitment to international climate change efforts. The country was one of the first to sign and ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. This convention established a framework for international cooperation to combat climate change.

Building on this commitment, Zimbabwe submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in 2015. This INDC became the country’s first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2017, following the ratification of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Observed climate change trends in Zimbabwe. Source: Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife

Through its participation in the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, Zimbabwe seeks to achieve the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This goal is crucial to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system and its devastating consequences.

In April 2016, the late President Robert Mugabe further solidified Zimbabwe’s commitment by signing the Paris Agreement. This paved the way for the development of domestic legislation to address climate change at a national level.

Projected climate change trends in Zimbabwe. Source: Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife

Paris Agreement Highlights

  • Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change; 
  • Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; 
  • Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. 

Why the Climate Change Bill

  • Strengthening institutional arrangements, governance and regulation for a comprehensive and holistic response to climate change 
  • Establish Climate Financing Framework for the country
  • Facilitate Data Collection, Sharing and Access for reporting purposes – BTRs
  • Compel high emitting sectors to reduce emissions
  • Compliance with the UNFCCC, Paris Agreement, Montreal Protocol and its Kigali Amendment
  • Strengthen governance and regulation for Carbon Trading 
  • Facilitate enhanced climate action both mitigation and adaptation

Existing Climate Change Frameworks:

  • National Climate Change Response Strategy
  • National Adaptation Plan (NAP)
  • Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) 
  • Revised Nationally Determined Contribution
  • National Climate Change Learning Strategy
  • Green Climate Fund (GCF) Country Programme
  • Zimbabwe Climate Change & Gender Action Plan
  • Carbon Credit Framework S.I. 150 of 2023

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