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DCA Reducing Co2 Emissions Along the Zambezi Valley

Climate change has severely increased the intensity and frequency of droughts in Zimbabwe, thereby affecting the resilience capacity of ecosystems, species diversity, and exacerbating human-wildlife conflict. Notwithstanding these constraints, DanChurchAid is investing in climate mitigation and adaptation by planting 250.000 trees over the next three years, to increase carbon sequestration and continue promoting and investing in climate adaptive programme.

Our interventions funded by UNDP’s Global Environmental Fund (GEF) and the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) will be implemented in the middle and lower Zambezi Valley as part of a multisectoral programme benefitting local smallholder farmers and communities.

This pioneer climate response initiative was launched at the climate summit COP27, in Egypt, last week. The global arm of the organization announced that DanChurchAid has calculated its carbon footprint for the last 100 years and is taking responsibility for historical and future emissions. Given resistance from countries with the highest carbon emissions, this announcement was lauded as a progressive move.

“We are not only facing a climate crisis, but we are also facing an unfair crisis. Those with historic responsibility for global warming, should turn their past into action,” said General Secretary, Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen.

“In DanChurchAid we are firsthand witnesses to how climate change displaces communities and causes food insecurity for millions of people worldwide. For us, the obvious thing is to set an example and to pioneer new standards of climate responsibility. It benefits people who are already facing severe droughts, floods, and extreme weather due to climate change,” continued Qvist-Sørensen.

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Since 2020, DanChurchAid in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe and other actors, have provided 6,584 individuals with climate change related disaster relief in response to these shocks, provided food security for over 18,000 people, mainly women and children, and accrued food security to 115,000 urban poor in Harare and Bulawayo.

“Our premise is that an effective response is one where affected communities participate fully in the process and are empowered through capacity strengthening, skills and knowledge transfer to engage with the wider social, economic and political cluster on climate mitigation, adaption and biodiversity initiatives,” said General Secretary, Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen.

Such engagement will reduce biodiversity losses, human wildlife conflict and ensure that communities have a seat at the table, and part of agreements in tourism and other sectors where they are entitled to an economic dividend.

The programme will also result in truly sustainable food systems that serve multiple purposes such as nutrition, livelihoods, and environmental protection. This requires a holistic, inclusive, and integrated approach incorporating all key players in the landscape.

To promote this, DCA incorporates indigenous knowledge systems as a key source of wisdom for back-stopping climate change and the related shocks, enhancing people’s knowledge beyond conventional science. The hybrid of indigenous and modern knowledge is expected to benefit farmers through agroecology and other transformative capacities such as climate adaptive agriculture. This hybrid knowledge will promote effective landscape and biodiversity management which have always been at the core of indigenous system.

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Climate adaptive agriculture at its simplest seeks to manage landscapes- cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries- in an integrated approach to address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.

In the past five years DanChurchAid has increased its global agroecology portfolio from 28% in 2019 to 67% in 2021. Zimbabwe is among the countries that have benefited from this dedicated agroecological programming work with projects in Matabeleland North, and South reaping most of the benefits.

Going forward, DCA will focus on the lower and middle Zambezi Valley and continue to build on its 100year history of promoting livelihoods and ensuring dignity for the most marginalised people. Sustainable and responsible biodiversity management will be key to supporting national efforts across Zimbabwe’s five distinct ecological regions, to ensure that the country continues to provide habitats for an abundant and diverse flora and fauna.

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