Zimbabwe Think Regional And Act Local, As It Ratifies The SADC Protocol On Environmental Management for Sustainable Development.

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean government has committed to strengthening its efforts on implementing environmental conventions and treaties with a transboundary focus by ratifying the SADC Protocol on Environmental Management for Sustainable Development.

The Protocol establishes principles derived from the Rio Declaration on Sustainable Development, including cooperation among member states, respect for national sovereignty over resource use and participation in environmental governance.

It also talks of peaceful resolution of disputes, prioritizing human needs in development, taking a precautionary approach, holding polluters accountable, and promoting extended producer responsibility.

The Protocol applies to all activities related to environmental management undertaken by member states. By ratifying it, Zimbabwe demonstrates its commitment to working collaboratively with other SADC countries to ensure a sustainable future for the region.

Key Obligations of the Protocol:

a) to institute measures to manage and control trans-boundary effects of air pollution;

b)to manage and control trans-boundary effects of waste and chemicals;

c) to combat desertification and land degradation and implement sustainable land management practices; and

d) to mitigate adverse environmental impacts on marine and coastal environments as well as inland water resources.

The Protocol is in line with the National Development Strategy 1 pillar on environmental protection, climate resilience and sustainable natural resources management, and ratification of the Protocol will enhance cooperation with other SADC member states.

This aligns with Zimbabwe’s existing efforts in environmental management, such as controlling hazardous waste movement at ports of entry. The Protocol also promotes integration of environmental considerations into development across various economic sectors, including the blue economy, green economy, and the secular economy.

Furthermore, ratification strengthens existing policies like NDS1 and reinforces Zimbabwe’s commitment to international conventions like the Basel Convention (transboundary movement of hazardous waste), Rotterdam Convention (transboundary movement of hazardous chemicals), and Stockholm Convention (persistent organic pollutants).

By joining the SADC Protocol, Zimbabwe strengthens its environmental management practices, broadens its perspective beyond national borders, and fosters regional cooperation for a sustainable future. 

This “think regional, act local” approach reflects a shift towards interconnectedness in environmental issues, where actions in one country have consequences for its neighbours.

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