By Edward Mukaro
GOVERNMENT in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are implementing a climate change adaptation, seven-year Green Climate funded project titled “Building climate change resilience to agriculture livelihoods in Southern Zimbabwe”, that will benefit an estimated two million people directly and indirectly, as the nation moves towards attaining Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13.
SDG 13 urges nations, party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to take action and combat climate change and its impacts.
Zimbabwe like most nations on the globe has felt the negative effects of climate change that has mainly manifested in prolonged droughts and cyclones, resulting in millions becoming food insecure, as harvests have dwindled to unprecedented levels.
Addressing delegates who attended the inception workshop for the Green Climate Fund project, Harare, in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement chief director Mr Clemence Bwenje, permanent secretary Dr John Basera said “The project will benefit an estimated 2 million people directly and indirectly across the three provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland South.
“The costs of adaptation for agriculture in Zimbabwe will require huge capital investment. This project has therefore come at an opportune time where addressing climate change impacts requires financial and technical support from a wide range of partners including multilateral and vertical funds like the Green Climate Fund,” he said.
Dr Bhasera also added that the project comes at the right opportune time were addressing climate change impacts requires significant financial and technical support, with most vulnerable and poor communities having limited capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change with 80% of Zimbabweans being dependent on affected natural resources such as rain-fed agriculture.
The project will among other things aim to improve water security for smallholder farmers through revitalization and climate-proofing of existing irrigation schemes, improving water use efficiency and enhancing soil moisture management on rain-fed lands, while also the adoption and application of climate-resilient agronomic practices and cropping systems through training, capacitation of smallholder farmers and designing of climate-resilient innovations will also be top among priorities.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNDP deputy resident representative Madelena Monoja said the US$26 Million project will significantly contribute towards the country’s climate change priorities while also strengthening the resilience of livelihoods in vulnerable communities
“The US$26m support from the Green Climate Fund is aimed to support the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) to strengthen the resilience of agricultural livelihoods of vulnerable communities, particularly women, in southern Zimbabwe to the increasing climate risks and impacts.
“…This project contributes immensely towards the GoZ’s climate change priorities outlined in the National Development Strategy, Nationally Determined Contributions, National Climate Change Policy and strategies including strengthening the management of water resources and irrigation in the face of climate change, strengthening capacities to generate new forms of empirical knowledge, provision of technologies and agricultural support systems that are climate-smart,” said Monoja.
By Edward Mukaro