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CNRG Advocates for Stronger Environmental Protections on World Environment Day

Local governance advocacy group, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) says there is need for action to address the country’s escalating environmental crises.

This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,” as theme that resonates deeply with CNRG’s mission and the urgent environmental challenges Zimbabwe faces.

In a statement to mark the day, CNRG highlights the increasing frequency of climate-related disasters and their disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable communities and warns that environmental neglect will lead to severe consequences for all.

“Zimbabwean communities are witnessing environmental degradation on an unprecedented scale. A significant portion of Zimbabwe’s arable land is now unusable due to mining activities. Wetlands are drying up, primarily due to extensive drilling and mining. Open-cast mining is particularly destructive, with severe environmental repercussions,” read the statement

CNRG says the country faces widespread environmental issues, such as pollution, deforestation, and land degradation across the country.

“Currently, these resources are under increasing threat from unsustainable mining practices, weak governance, and the devastating impacts of climate change. The country continues to face a range of environmental problems ranging from pollution, mining waste dumps, resource depletion, deforestation, and land degradation, which have become widespread. This is evident in coal seam fires in Hwange, Matabeleland province, the destruction of mountains in Mvuma, Midlands province, and abandoned mine pits in Penhalonga, Manicaland province.

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“Extractive industries seem to enjoy impunity, with minimal efforts to rehabilitate land post-mining. Integrating development with robust environmental management is a major concern. The mining industry’s unchecked growth poses serious threats to host communities and future generations,” CNRG noted

Over the years, CNRG has documented numerous cases of illegal mining, deforestation, and other environmentally destructive activities, which are degrading Zimbabwe’s ecosystems and depriving local communities of their rightful benefits.

The organization has also pushed for policy reforms to strengthen natural resource governance and empower citizens to protect their environment actively.

The advocacy group calls on the government and extractive industries among other issues to enhance transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources through creation of localized multi-stakeholder platforms to address environmental degradation.

“CNRG calls on the government and extractive industries to allow the Environmental Management Agency to do its work without fear or favor. Review the fines imposed by EMA upwards to make them deterrent. Empower local communities to participate in decision-making and benefit-sharing related to natural resource development.  

“Invest in ecosystem restoration initiatives, such as reforestation, wetland conservation, and sustainable agriculture.  Strengthen environmental laws and their enforcement to curb illegal activities that degrade Zimbabwe’s natural resources. Promote environmental education and awareness to foster a culture of environmental stewardship among all Zimbabweans,” said CNRG

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