Zimbabwe: National Wetlands Master Plan Complete

Cabinet has received the completed the national wetlands master plan with full mapping and will provide the basis and information needed to develop policy.

The inventory of Zimbabwe's wetlands together with the accompanying maps is now available in hard copy and electronic format and the master plan is comprehensive.

It is made up of the Zimbabwe national wetlands map, 10 provincial wetlands maps and 63 district wetlands maps, plus the field wetlands maps, the national wetlands geo-database and the national wetlands interactive GIS (Geographic Information Systems) web map.

The wetlands interactive GIS web map provides an interactive platform for wetlands visualisation for the general public, and the mobile application can be accessed online.

Julia Pierini, Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) applauded the completion of the mapping of all wetlands and said they have worked extensively with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in mapping Harare's wetlands.

Pierini said the Cabinet taskforce gave the job of mapping all of Zimbabwe's wetlands to Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.

"As HWT, we have engaged ZINGSA and have met the officials who were working on the mapping and were told that they would share the Harare map shape files with us once it had gone through the Cabinet," she said.

"So basically what has happened is that the Government has identified the wetlands. We still have to see to what extent they have included them all. And then the most critical part will be that all the wetlands be declared ecologically sensitive areas where no development or agriculture can take place.

"Then all wetlands can be restored to their natural state in order to provide their critically important ecosystem functions and services. The identification of the wetlands is the first very important first step.

"The national wetland guidelines, the national wetland policy and the gazetting of wetlands as ecologically sensitive areas to be preserved will be the defining factors as to whether the wetlands will be saved."

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