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Zimbabweans youth attend 11th climate conference in Nairobi, Kenya

Story by Justin Mahlahla

Zimbabwe took part at the 11th Conference on Climate Change held in Nairobi, Kenya, where issues of climate change adptation, funding and food security were topical.

The conference is an annual event of the Climate for Development in Africa (Climate Dev-Africa), an initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the African Development Bank (AFDB), serving as a precursor to the Africa Climate Summit.

Held under the theme; “African Solidarity for Global Climate Action”, the conference ran from the 4th to the 6th –of September 2023 and brought together African high level policy makers, senior officials, climate change experts, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to deliberate on the sub themes of the Summit.

The Zimbabwean delegation was led by the Honourable Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development l, Dr Anxious Masuka.

Youth in agriculture from various organisations in Zimbabwe and beyond, such as Southern Africa Confederation of Agriculture Unions, were coordinated by Zimbabwe Farmer’s Union Youth League Secretary General, Mr. Joshua Zinzombe.

In his remarks, Mr Zinzombe thanked President Emmerson Mnangagwa for his agricultural policies which have addressed climate change, food insecurity and unemployment challenges as enshrined in the National Development Strategy One.

“As ZFU youth leadership, we feel greatly honoured by the support rendered to us by the Honourable Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr A. J Masuka and his hardworking Permanent Secretary, Dr J. Basera. ZFU Youth Division is forever grateful to our ZFU management, in particular Cde Paul Zakaria, for standing with Zimbabwean farmers including upcoming youths in the sector.

“Africa has taken a position that it contributes the least to global warming, but is the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and therefore has special needs and special circumstances warranting financial support to mitigate against and adapt to climate change,” noted Mr Zinzombe.

The continent is seeking to accelerate the implementation of its climate change strategies and actions to avert the catastrophic impacts of global warming and build the resilience of the continent’s economies.

Chief Programmes Coordinator, Agricultural Youth Desk in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Mr Nickros Kajengo, who is also a development expert said, “Climate change is a threat to Africa’s development. According to the 2022 Climate The Vulnerability Index, nine of the 10 most vulnerable countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2022 Climate Change Report confirms that West Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa are among global hotspots of human vulnerability to climate change.

“Furthermore, Africa needs around $500 billion in climate finance by 2030, according to the AFDB’s Africa Economic Outlook 2022, which also estimated that the continent will need to invest more than $3 trillion in mitigation and adaptation in the same period to implement its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.”

The climate conference held in Kenya came up with detailed analytical, data-driven and evidence-based recommendations on the various sub themes of the Summit and reports from the conference will contribute to the outcome statements for African Heads of State, towards and beyond the UNFCCC COP28.

This is happening at the time youth in agriculture have started preparations for the UNFCC COP 28 to be held in Dubai later this year.

The Nairobi Declaration On Climate Change took into cognisance the vital role played by small holder farmers, mainly the youth, in championing food security and climate change mitigation. Article 31 identifies “Supporting Small holder farmers, indeginous people and local communities in green economic transition given their key role in economic stewardship” as key in this regard.

Organized ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Conference of Parties 28, the 11th Conference on Climate Change convenes different African stakeholder groups on climate change, to discuss key climate change and development opportunities and challenges for the purpose of implementing sustainable solutions for Africa to deal with climate change.

The conference also elicits evidence-based and analytically grounded contributions to the African common position ahead of the COP, which this year is being hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries under the UN global family to come up with a new initiative called Climate Proofed Agriculture, commonly referred to as Pfumvudza/ Intwasa, and other important programmes spelt in the Agriculture Rural Development 8.0.

Last year, Zimbabwe took part at the COP 27 held at Shema El Sheik in Egypt, where youths in agriculture groups led by the Agricultural Youth Desk proved beyond doubt that Zimbabwe is a land of innovators and actors in the fight for food self-sufficiency and against climate change.

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