Zimbabwe: Trust Engages City On Wetlands Protection

23 January 2020

Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) has engaged the City of Harare on the protection of the city's wetlands which are under threat from residential development and cultivation.

HWT last week held a meeting with the city fathers where it was agreed that Harare should include the protection of wetlands on its Master Plan.

A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.

In an interview after the meeting, HWT programs manager Mr Selestino Chari said the Master Plan protects wetlands by mapping where the wetlands are located.

"We have made an agreement with the City of Harare that the issue of coming up with a Master Plan is a very important subject which must be looked into," he said.

"The most important thing in coming up with this Master Plan is that the residents should have an input in it. It should be resident-oriented and not coming from the City of Harare.

"This will help us in protecting our wetlands because the Master Plan will be guiding on where the wetlands are.

"There will be a map which will clearly show where the wetlands in Harare are located so that they cannot be invaded and developed on. The other important thing which came out of the meeting was about LEAP documents which we call Local Environmental Action Plans which are part and parcel of the devolution process. What we are saying is want the wetlands to be protected with the local residents residing in the areas with those wetlands."

HWT is an umbrella trust incorporating civic society organisations, community-based organisations and concerned individuals promoting the conservation of Harare's wetland ecosystems to ensure the sustainability of water for Harare.

Mr Chari said they encouraged council to give leases to communities to look after wetlands in their areas.

He said they also agreed to have a one stop shop which includes residents, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), Upper Manyame sub-catchment council, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and City of Harare to investigate on the issues to do with Environmental Impact Assessment certificates, development permits and land use.

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