Zimbabwe lacks the technical expertise and institutional capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change, a study has revealed. Environment and Natural Resources Management permanent secretary Ms Florence Nhekairo announced the findings at a function to commission the joint programme to intensify the fight against climate.
The programme is called "Strengthening national capacity for climate change programme in Zimbabwe".
Ms Nhekairo said a recent study carried by her ministry had shown that climate change remained the biggest challenge to the country as it was threatening food security and economic growth.
"The study reveals that the country has weak inter- and intra-sectoral co-ordination in climate change issues, limited capacity for climate change policy analysis and implementation and limited resources to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes," she said.
"It also came out clear that there is insufficient technical expertise in climate change information packaging and inadequate local specialised training facilities and programmes in climate change, among other weaknesses."
Zimbabwe is one of many Third World countries that have been severely affected by climate change as witnessed by droughts, floods and other weather vagaries that have rocked the country over the years.
Ms Nhekairo said the joint programme involved several Government line ministries, United Nations agencies, donors, the private sector and civil society.
"The thrust of this joint programme will be mainstreaming climate change in national development plans, programmes and leveraging resources from global financing mechanisms as well as bilateral and multilateral donors," she said.
The United Nations Development Programme funded the programme with seed money of US$600 000 over the next three years. So far a vehicle and some office furniture have been bought.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNDP deputy country director Mr Martin Faria Maya said climate change reverses development gains.
"About 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas and are dependent on climate change-sensitive livelihoods, such as rain-fed agriculture and livestock," he said.
Mr Maya said a more co-ordinated national response was required to deal with climate change.