By Miranda Dzumbunu
United Nations in conjunction with the Government of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Youth Council held a two day workshop from 26th to 27th October 2022 in Harare, with the aim of training the youth leaders on issues of climate action.
The training was running under the theme, ‘ Environment protection, Climate resilience and natural resources management.’
Youths from various sectors like the Early Day, AYICC, Zim Sunshine Group, CAN International , Youth for Our Planet, EcoEthics Zimbabwe as well as Leans Waste Management among others turned out in great numbers supported with stakeholders and representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality; ministry of public service, labour and social welfare; ministry of Youth, sport, arts and culture; ministry of Energy and power development, ministry of lands, agriculture, fisheries, water, climate and rural development as well as the World Health Organisation.
Speaking at the workshop, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian coordinator, Mrs Esther Muia highlighted the prevalence of floods and droughts as some of the climate change disasters in the Southern African region with human activities like deforestation being the major causes.
In suggesting possible ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change, Mrs Muia cited an example of every child being required to plant a tree ,inorder cover the damage caused by getting rid of nature.
“In planning development, it is important for the government to put the youth at the center and not leave them behind; it should not just involve them but engage them as well,” said Mrs Muia pinpointing the importance of youths in combating climate change and it’s effects.
” Climate change has been and is becoming a great threat to Zimbabwe as it affects sectors like water resources, agriculture and forestry, food security, infrastructure and human health.”
This was highlighted by Principal Climate Change Specialist,from the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality, Mr Tatenda Mutasa who emphasized on the vulnerability of Zimbabwe due to its reliance on climate sensitive sectors like agriculture.
In dealing with climate change effects ,Mr Mutasa pointed out both the international and national responses to climate change which include the Paris Agreement of 2015, the Conference of Parties (COP), the revised NDC as well as the Climate Smart Agriculture Manual for agriculture colleges.
“Our first target is to facilitate youth participation in development and decision making process,” said Mr Murinda representing the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation in the policy discussion and conversation on climate change actors and mitigation.
Engagement with the youth in policy and decision making in climate change is making progress as 5,2% of youths are now in leadership exceeding the 5% which was targeted by the end of 2022.