MUTARE- Civil society players in Manicaland say climate change mitigation strategies and policies should place communities at the centre of all adaptation measures.
Speaking at a Climate Change Symposium organized by Green Governance Trust and Partnerships for Development Initiatives (PDI) stakeholders called for holistic policies, which promote sustainable solutions to mitigate climate change impact.
PDI, Simon Mukwaya said solutions for climate change-induced disasters, like the Cyclone Idai, should enhance community participation and be rooted in grassroots structures to be sustainable.
Mukwaya said the duty of preserving natural resources for future generations was a shared responsibility, cross-cutting in all sectors and should enhance social security for vulnerable groups including women, youths and the elderly.
He said in the face of the devastating impact of climate change-induced disasters like internal displacements, disturbance of livelihoods, there was a need for policy improvements to adopt a climate-smart approach to development.
“We cannot continue to do business as usual as if nothing is happening, we need to reflect in a proactive manner the impact of climate change on communities.
“Climate change is unkind to the vulnerable like older persons, youths and farmers who face the disproportionate impact of climate-induced disasters, we need to begin to think proactively around climate change and its impact on our communities,” he said.
“We need to actively involve them in our adaptation strategies, discussions of this nature should not exclude communities or classify them as passive victims. We need to hear the experiences of the communities and amplify their voices.”
Green Governance Trust, executive director Frank Mpahlo, said climate change impacts have seen an increase in frequency and severity of events like floods, earthquakes, tsunami among others across the globe, leaving trails of destruction.
He said to counter the negative impact of the extreme weather events on communities there was a need for a collaborative approach among civil society actors to complement government policy efforts.
“It’s good that we are seeing this partnership, that has led to these platforms to ensure that we cooperate in our diverse advocacy efforts rather than working in silos
“We are pushing as civil society for key activities which are transformative. As Manicaland we want to be a coordinated and organized region working through collaboration and partnerships,” said Mpahlo.
Climate change scientist, Tinashe Mutasa said climate change was negatively impacting on water resource, agriculture land, forestry and infrastructure.
Mutasa works in the Department of Climate Change under the Ministry of Environment said Zimbabwe’s over-reliance on climate-sensitive sectors was a major driver compounding vulnerabilities to the increase in extreme weather events.
“Government is promoting climate-smart agriculture to increase our productivity and it also has mitigation components. We developed a manual for farmers to practice do climate-smart agriculture it’s available for the public,” he said.