By Blantina Berejena
Women, youth and people with Disabilities (PWD) agreed that their inclusion into Climate Change policies and decision making would make the policies inclusive, comprehensive and foster the gains attained in their emancipation.
This was said at the recent consultations and discussions ahead of the international environment meeting to be held in Stockholm, Sweden this year.
Citing Cyclone Idai as an example, Masimba Kucherafrom the Centre for Disability and Development said one impact of climate change is it causes disability to people who were not initially disabled, and loss of livelihoods and lives as people with disabilities are unable to escape to safety.
“We recommend that PWD be on the table because if we are not on the table we become the menu. We want to decide what the menu is. We want nationally determined development that is as inclusive as possible. These consultations are key and important because they begin to shape how inclusive the next 30 years will be.
“Ensure PWD have access to information in accessible formats on climate change. Train climate change champions to share information with their communities,” he stated.
UNICEF Chief of HIV/AIDS and Adolescent, Jacquline Kabambe said that the UN agency had prioritised climate change issues in the next four years as ignoring them would risk reducing the achievements made so far in attaining sustainable development goals.
“The climate induced low rainfall patterns, floods, cyclones which children are least responsible for, leave children to bear the greatest burden. Climate crisis thus is a child right as it affects how children survive, grow, thrive and reach full potential.”
According to Article 12 on the Convention of the rights of Children; children have the right to participate in climate change strategies. The Climate Change Strategy of 2016 coupled with other policy adopted by Zimbabwe is good policies which need implementation to develop and implement child centered climate adaptation plans.”
Women and girls rights advocate and director Tag a Life Intenational (TaLI), Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said.
Climate change increased the already heavy burden on women.
“Women and girls feel the pain twice as much as before. They spend an average of three – five hours fetching firewood as a result of energy poverty. If they have access to clean and safe energy they will be able participate in other economic activities and preserve the environment.”
Youths from St Domic High School in Mutare as well as other organisations echoed the same sentiment that the world we live in deserves the care.
Some of the objectives of the consultations are to deepen engagement on complementary issues such as the National Development goals (NDGs), National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, Green Recovery and linked national sectorial development priorities on issues of urbanisation, food and nutrition security, youth empowerment, poverty eradication, gender equality, employment and inclusive growth. They also seek to deliver forward –looking action oriented recommendations and commitments to secure long lasting impact well beyond Stockholm+50 international meeting.
The consultations in Mutare were graced by Swedish Ambassador in Zimbabwe Honourable Asa Pehrson,UNDP Resident Represetantative , Mia Seppo, Honourable Nokuthula Matsikenyeri, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Manicaland Province, her permanent secretary Mr Seenza, Director in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Professor Mutondi among other honorary guests. At least 400 people have lost lives to flooding in South Africa recently.