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Climate Change and Energy programme

Loss of livelihoods and increasing poverty levels because of climate change is a major issue. Global warming and the changing weather patterns have resulted in increased cyclone induced floods and acute water shortages promoting increased food insecurity in most communities. Lack of disaster preparedness and ineffective disaster risk response strategies has exacerbated the vulnerability of communities to climate change shocks. Climate change is and will be characterised by extreme weather conditions on an occasional basis. Severe droughts or more intense tropical cyclones such as the recent Cyclone Idai that hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe causing loss of human life, property and infrastructure damage are to be expected most frequently. The possibility of in-country or inter-country migration and transboundary conflicts caused by scarcity of resources such as fresh water and the fight for conducive environment to live in can be explored mainly by research per country.

Limited implementation of laws and policies on climate change such as the National Climate Change Response Strategy and unavailability of climate change related legislation means that compliance with emission standards by industry is poor. In the energy sector, there is limited application, adoption and investment in clean technologies and practices. Many companies are using antiquated equipment with high pollution levels. Zimbabwe is also faced with an energy crisis of immense proportions due to the acute electricity shortages. This inadequacy of legislation to monitor energy sector compliance, regulate climate mitigation and adaptation strategies implementation poses a challenge in building climate change resilience within the country hence a need to address these gaps.

There is a dearth of knowledge on how the government of Zimbabwe intends to implement its various commitments in accordance with international agreements.  For instance, in the Paris Agreement Zimbabwe has committed to reduce its Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by as 33% per capita by 2030, yet Zimbabwe has taken a while to produce its renewable energy policy. Countries are due to revise their NDCs in 2020. This is an opportunity for the organisation to engage in the consultation, and the design process of the country’s revised Nationally Determined Contributions, National Adaptation Plans, and related national climate change processes to ground these commitments in feasible realities. Moreover, as we move to more climate friendly technologies, like the production of electric cars hinged on lithium, it may be easy to forget the devastating impacts caused by lithium extraction. It is only through research and participatory policy making that the environmental impacts of climate change and energy related initiatives can be addressed as Zimbabwe fulfills international obligations.

A veil of secrecy surrounds climate and energy contracts. There is limited public participation when mega investment deals are signed, let alone parliamentary oversight. deals and contracts, including loan agreements are constantly plagued by allegations of corruption, unfair loan repayment terms, secrecy, lack of public disclosure of contracts and information to citizens, use of funds for political and security purposes and human rights abuses. Connected military and state security companies are awarded energy contracts or infrastructure development loans guaranteed by government from international credit institutions such as Credit Suisse or China Exim bank. This perpetuates human rights violations, restricts democratic space,

The complexity of this public policy problem is further worsened by improper solid waste management which is one of the most pertinent issues confronting urban authorities throughout Zimbabwe.  High population densities and sprouting unplanned settlements as well as changing consumption patterns and public attitudes compound the challenge. This has created an environment where disease causing vectors can thrive; contributing to air, soil and water pollution; and emitting greenhouse gases that cause global warming notwithstanding the negative effect on property values.