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A more participatory approach necessary

It is of great importance that everyone be initiated in every single environment management policy that the governments of the day implement.

Despite the fact that ecological issues have become a major concern for nations the world over and is the subject of much debate in many agendas, most Zimbabweans remain pretty much in darkness as far as issues to do with the environment are concerned.

Looking at Zimbabwe, any ordinary person would be more than forgiven for thinking that there is nothing worth noting that is happening as far as strides towards better environmental management are concerned.

This, I can assure you, is quite far from the truth.

Zimbabwe has for a very long time now been quite involved in environmental world forums that have continually been seeking to reach consensus on better and improved ways to achieve sustainable development.

For instance, Zimbabwe has so far ratified treaties such as the Conventions on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1973), The Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Importation into Africa of Hazardous Waste (1991), Conventions on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought in countries experiencing desertification and drought, particularly in Africa (1994), among many others.

While ratifying most of these conventions was a definite step in a positive direction for a country like Zimbabwe that is embroiled in a myriad of environmental problems, the country has failed to realise any noteworthy results.

I believe this is primarily because the government of Zimbabwe has for a long time now chosen to tackle the environment issues without any clearly outlined guidelines of how citizens can give their input before the ratifications.

The responsible individuals in government have always taken it upon themselves to represent the people at the conventions where it is supposed that their stance is that which is representative of the whole country, something that we should indeed start to question and dispute as a nation.

The very truth of the matter is that there is absolute lack of information flow to the different Zimbabwean publics on the exact state of the environment in the country, something that makes it rather difficult to make contributions.

As a direct result, most ordinary folk seem to have s resigned to the misconception that issues to do with the environment are the government`s preserve.

According to a local textbook entitled The State of Zimbabwe`s Environment 1998: “To improve decision making on matters affecting ecosystems and people, there is a need to compile-and make accessible-factual, accurate and timely information.

“State of the Environment Reporting (SOER) becomes a useful instrument in advancing knowledge on the condition of ecosystems and people.“

Since it is virtually impossible to separate the environment from all major facets of a human`s life, issues to do with a country`s ecosystem are of tantamount importance and need everyone`s involvement.

It is definitely about time that the government involved people in the formulation of the environmental policies that greatly impact them.
For a start, people need to be supplied with credible information to empower them as they give their input.

The SOE reports should be made a priority and after compilation, should be made accessible to even the most ordinary of people.

This is the only way to increase people`s awareness and understanding of the country`s environmental issues after which it is hoped people would facilitate in the progress towards real sustainable development.

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