Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter

URBAN local authorities have been urged to incorporate Climate Change programmes in their plans to minimise negative impacts brought about by climate change.

This was said the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu in a speech read on his behalf by the permanent secretary in the ministry Mr Munesu Munodawafa while opening a three-day climate change mitigation and adaptation mainstreaming workshop in Bulawayo on Monday.

The Climate change workshop is focusing on three issues: waste management, ozone layer depleting substances and mainstreaming climate change into urban planning.

The workshop comes at a time when President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced last week during the Virtual Climate Ambition Summit held to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement that the country has set a target for the economy to go green by 2030, with the country’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy, putting in place the necessary pillars for environmentally friendly targets.

“Urban local authorities are therefore expected to adapt to the changing climate and minimize the associated negatives impacts. The first step towards this is by mainstreaming climate issues into our development planning, budgeting and activity implementation. Mainstreaming climate change will require additional resources today, but will result in savings in the medium to long term,” he said.

The minister said local authorities contribute a lot to global warming and are impacted heavily by climate change.

“Besides being emitters of greenhouse gases through the nature of waste management practices and contributing to the global warming. Our urban areas are being seriously impacted by climate change. Droughts have led to water shortages and intense rains have led to flooding and destruction of infrastructure. Furthermore, the agricultural droughts have become increasing recurrent and are subject to induce rural -urban migration and burdening urban authorities in terms of service provision,” said cde Ndlovu

Minister Ndlovu said there was a need to rethink urban planning if the country is to fulfil sustainable development goal number 11 which focuses on sustainable towns and cities.

He said Zimbabwe is in the process of fine tuning its report to the United Nations Framework and Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC.

“The engagement we are having today will touch upon Zimbabwe`s national commitments to address climate change nationally and in line with the global discourse. As a member of the family of nations, Zimbabwe is required to compile and timely report to the UNFCCC quality information on its greenhouse gas emissions in a report referred to as the National Communication, in line with the provisions of the Climate Change Convention,” he said

Cde Ndlovu said government is expected to compile a national greenhouse gas inventory regularly.

“Zimbabwe is in the process of preparing its Fourth National Communication and the first Biennial Update Report. The Biennial Report will be submitted before the end of this year and the fourth National Communication in mid-2021.The information and data required from the local Authorities is vital for compilation of the National Communication and the Biennial Update Reports in order to meet the requirements of the Enhanced Transparency Framework under the Paris Agreement of Climate Change,” he said.

“The reports form the basis for the verification of emission reduction obligations of the country under the Paris Agreement. Zimbabwe committed to reduce its emissions by 33 percent per capita by the year 2030 in the energy sector through the National Determined Contributions (NDCs). Information compiled and submitted should therefore show the world the extent to which we are living up to our commitments, hence the emphasis on transparency and accountability”.

Speaking at the same occasion Secretary for health officer’s forum in the urban council’s Dr Daniel Chirundu urged local authorities to play their part in mitigating climate change.

“Our solid waste management, our liquid waste management are major source generators of greenhouse gases which will ultimately contribute to climate change. We need to up our game and make sure that as local authorities we are doing our part in preventing as well as mitigating climate change,” he said. – @themkhust