By Dr Masimba Mavaza, in Glasgow, Scotland | Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa who will arrive in Glasgow Sunday evening is expected to use the forthcoming Climate Change (COP26) summit to lobby for multilateral support to fight against the effects of climate change and to remove the sanctions against his country so that Zimbabwe can be empowered to fight against the effects of climate change. The president who has been on a lightning speed to re engage will also take the opportunity to extend the hand of re-engagement to fellow global leaders as he undertakes his first visit to the United Kingdom since his ascending to power, and a first visit to the UK in the past twenty five years.
The call for the sanctions to be removed comes after the boost report from the UN made a finding that the sanctions were illegal in the first place.
Zimbabwe like any other country needs to manage the increasing impacts of climate change on its citizens’ lives and it needs the funding to do it. The scale and speed of the changes needed to be made will require all forms of finance: public finance for the development of infrastructure needed to transition to a greener and more climate-resilient economy; private finance to fund technology and innovation, and to help turn the billions of public money into trillions of total climate investment. With sanctions lingering above Zimbabwe the efforts to fight the effects of climate change will be all futile.
Developing countries in particular need support and Zimbabwe is disadvantaged by sanctions.
Developed countries made a promise to raise at least $100 billion every year in climate finance to support developing countries. This support will elude Zimbabwe as long as sanctions are in place. The OECD estimates that $78.9bn of climate finance was mobilised in 2018. This must include building new markets for adaptation and mitigation and improving the quantity, quality and access to finance to support communities around the world to take action on the changing climate. This will be a far reaching promise for Zimbabwe as it is held at ransom by illegal sanctions.
In a message posted on the President’s Facebook page, he said he was eagerly looking forward to attending the 26th Conference of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).
The President reiterated that Zimbabwe had committed to reducing emissions by 40 percent, urging other nations to put words into action.
“While we will offer to hasten our economic transformation, we do need to remain alive to the shocks of drought and the impact of climate change through necessary social safety nets.
“I will be appealing for multilateral support to supplement our efforts. Zimbabwe has come a long way over the past three years. I hope our presence at COP26 and our commitment to the global fight against climate change will be recognized as part of our ongoing re-engagement campaign,” he said.
For Zimbabwe COP26 is coming at an extraordinary time where the world is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic while having to undertake immense changes to its economies to meet climate goals and fighting the cruel sanctions illegally imposed on the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought devastation to millions around the world, disrupting many parts of the global economy. The world will be drilling a big hole in the boat they are travelling in if they do not compel the Europe and America Governments, to lift the sanctions against Zimbabwe. If Zimbabwe is not allowed to do it’s part in making the world a better place then the world is not doing anything in fighting the effects of the climate change. climate change will continue and it will ultimately threaten life on earth and on those imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe.
As countries begin to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, the must take the historic opportunity to tackle climate change at the same time – to build back better, and greener world where every nation can participate without impediments caused by sanctions. For Zimbabwe to compete with the world in delivering green recoveries across the globe that will bring in good jobs, trillions in investment and ground-breaking new technology it needs to be removed from sanctions.
The journey is already underway. The world is moving towards a low- carbon future and this needs money so it becomes imperative to remove the sanctions and allow Zimbabwe to make a difference. Clean energy, like wind and solar, is now the cheapest source
of electricity in most countries; many of the world’s car makers are shifting to make only electric and hybrid models; countries around the world are starting important work to protect and restore nature; cities, states and regions across the world are also committing to reduce emissions to zero, Zimbabwe can do more if it is given a free space to manoeuvre.
The president said “For Zimbabwe, we feel the impact of climate change more than others. Our temperatures have risen by approximately 2 degrees Celsius over the past century – which has seen a significant increase in extreme weather.
“In the past two decades alone, we have had to deal with 10 droughts. If the world doesn’t step up, we will see jobs lost, livelihoods destroyed, and people will lose their lives.
“That is something we must avoid and why Zimbabwe is coming to the table with ambitious plans to tackle climate change,” he said.
The Zimbabwean leader in September also warned that thousands of Zimbabweans would lose their jobs, and even their lives, if climate change was allowed to continue at the current pace.
He said then that COP26 should be about action and the fulfillment of decisions of the past, while concrete financial support was essential to combat climate change beyond mere rhetoric. If the world is transparent about the risks and opportunities that climate change, and the shift to a net zero economy pose to their business they must compel the removal of sanctions to have maximum support of every member state without problems. In order to make sure that Zimbabwe’s financial systems can withstand the impacts of climate change and support the transition to net zero it must be removed from the sanctions. It also means banks, insurers, investors and other financial firms committing to ensuring their investments and lending is aligned with net zero and not being intimidated by sanctions.