Climate change remains one of the major threats to Africa’s political stability and food security today. While the majority of our people lack knowledge of this phenomenon, its effect is being felt across the continent.
diplomatic mission with By Reginald Chapfunga
Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that, “Climate change impacts have the potential to exacerbate national security issues and increase the number of international conflicts. Conflicts often occur over the use of already limited natural resources, fertile ground and water. Access to consistent and dependable sources of water is greatly valued in many African regions. However, changes in the timing and intensity of rainfall have threatened water availability and are causing conflicts over this limited resource.”
Climate change is also threatening food security as it negatively impact on agricultural systems affecting both plant and animal health. Increased temperatures, especially in the number of extreme hot days, as well as changes in precipitation, are the main climatic variables affecting agriculture on the African continent. These effects have greatly affected or depleted agricultural produce and the poor remains the most affected.
Efforts to cushion the poor communities in Zimbabwe against the effects of Climate change recently received a major, when Britain through its Department for International Development (DFID) availed a £21.5 million grant to the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF). The fund seeks to contribute to increased capacities of vulnerable rural communities to withstand shocks and stresses, ultimately leading to a reduced need for humanitarian responses and an improvement in their well-being.
ZRBF is a five-year multi-donor fund managed by the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] in close collaboration with the Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Settlement ministry, as well as other national players such as ministries of Environment, Water and Climate, Public Services and Labour and Social Welfare; Local Government, Public Works and National Housing as well as the Food and Nutrition Council.
In a signing ceremony of the grant held recently in Harare, head of DFID in Zimbabwe Annabel Gerry said: “Climate change is already evident here — this year we’ve been experiencing hotter days and higher frequency of dry spells during the rainy season. Without adapting — poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, and environmental degradation will continue to be serious challenges in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas, adding to the existing difficulties of the estimated one million Zimbabweans who are currently chronically food insecure.”
She said over 120 000 people have been supported to cope with the effect of climate change through various interventions and ZRBF provides unique opportunity to push forward the resilience building agenda in Zimbabwe.
Receiving the grant, UN resident coordinator Bishow Parajuli and the UNDP resident representative thanked Britain for the generous contribution, noting that it will enable ZRBF to reach communities living in extreme poverty and high levels of food insecurity caused by the negative effects of climate change and stressed on the great value for investments.
“Through the ZRBF, some 830 000 labour endowed vulnerable people in 18 rural districts are targeted with climate-smart agriculture; nutrition and livelihoods; productive asset creation; access to finance and value chain development; and community-based natural resources management interventions,” said Parajuli.
Resilience building of labour-endowed vulnerable people has emerged as a useful framework among humanitarian and development actors and the government as a longer-term cost-effective poverty reduction strategy. Officially launched in May 2016 with generous financial and technical support from European Union, DFID, Sweden and UNDP, the ZRBF prioritises 18 vulnerable districts targeting over 830 000 people with a total budget of $75 million over the life of the programme.
Additional information obtained from UN in Zimbabwe News.
l Reginald Chapfunga is the founder of Diplomacy Appreciation Trust and editor of the Diplomat Magazine. Email: email@example.com. Cell: 0772 393 069.