Learnmore Nyamudzanga May 2021
Devastating effects of climate change in form of changes in weather patterns, recent dry spells and 3-year drought, high-intensity storms and floods, heatwaves, rising minimum and maximum temperatures Tropical Cyclones such as Cyclone Idai have awakened nations such as Zimbabwe on the need to come up with bottom-up Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that are at the heart of the Paris Agreement. It is such issues that the youth in Zimbabwe led by the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) Zimbabwe with the support of the Zimbabwe Climate Change Management Department and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through the Climate Promise initiate saw the importance of a whole society approach in the NDCs Enhancement Process in Harare. Youths constitute an estimated 67% of the population of Zimbabwe which makes it crucial to engage young people, capacitate them and instil a sense of ownership in the entire revision of NDCs process up to implementation. More than two hundred youths have been consulted on the NDCs and are ready to put in the work to build a Greener Economy.
The focus of the dialogue meetings anchored on the 1992 – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 1998 – Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC and the 2015-Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as NDCs. NDCs enhance the implementation of the Convention in strengthening global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development especially SDG13- Climate Action and efforts to eradicate poverty-SD1 (well explained in Article 2 of the agreement). Current initiatives and submitted NDCs indicate an estimated increase of 3 degrees Celsius(°C), yet the desired outcome of the Paris Agreement is to limit temperature increase to around 2°C whilst pursuing 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels so as to be able to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
To complete its mission to gather youth contributions from all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry through Climate Change Management Department and UNDP held youth dialogue meetings in Bulawayo, Mutare Bindura and Harare. These meetings were attended by selected young representatives from key Government Ministries, Youth organizations, Private Sector, Civil Society Organisations, Universities, and the Media. The dialogues managed to capture youth interventions and contributions whilst strengthening their capacity to develop evidence-based community and substantive NDCs recommendations. In addition, the meetings minimized the information gap that existed whilst instilling a sense of ownership by the youth, women and People With Disabilities (PWDs) to the entire NDCs process. Countries, including Zimbabwe, are now revising their NDCs in order to meet the desired and targeted results of the agreement, and this time using bottom-up inclusive approach. This approach encourages cooperation amongst youth, youth-led organizations, local government institutions and the Climate Change Management Department to deal with threats of climate change especially towards the subsequent implementation of the NDCs.
The current NDCs aim at reducing GHGs emissions in Zimbabwe at 33% below the projected Business As Usual (BAU) energy emissions per capita by 2030. Some of the initiatives currently being implemented to reach this target include solar water heating, energy efficiency, increasing hydropower in electricity supply mix (like Kariba extension), the use of biogas digesters in schools and hospitals. Whilst this was a great start by Zimbabwe to tackling climate change, it is envisaged that the revised NDCs will be more ambitious by making them more economy wide focusing on the Energy; Waste; Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU) and Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sectors. The youth representatives managed to identify gaps and developed actions to be taken, reference points, timeframes and tools that can be included in the revised NDCs. It was upon this understanding that youth groups came up with a position paper, proposing interventions and actions that could be undertaken to reduce the nations carbon footprint that include:
*The need to prioritise adaptation actions by Zimbabwe in the revised NDCs;
*Developing a circular economy framework that can reduce waste generation;
* Sugar cane farming by the youth and contribute to the ethanol production value chain;
*Tree planting (reforestation and afforestation) to increase carbon sinks;
*Learning and acquiring knowledge on REDD+ initiatives in Zimbabwe;
*Stiffer penalties for implementing heavy projects that affect ecological functions of wetlands;
*Youths to lead the drive of educating 67% of the youth population by 2025 on proper waste management and recycling initiatives;
*Supporting the implementation of various existing policies and strategies in key documents such as the National Climate Change Response Strategy;
*National Climate Policy; Renewable Energy Policy; Bio-fuels policy and broadly the National Development Strategy (NDS1); and
*Youths to take advantage of incentives such as net metering, duty waiver of renewable energy appliances/gadgets/accessories and reduced licensing fees & requirements for developers of renewable energy projects.