The COP26 international conference was held at a momentous time in the history of the world. Many countries are still struggling to cope with the epidemic, which has serious public and economic consequences. At the same time, the rapid pace of the climate crisis is forcing economic change. The two-week talks have been crucial for us to agree on a way forward and I am proud to represent Zimbabwe at this crucial time.
In my country, we feel more climate change than most. Our temperature has risen to about 2 degrees Celsius over the past century, which has seen a dramatic increase in bad weather. In just the last 20 years, we have experienced 10 droughts. If world leaders do not promote climate change, developing countries that are at the forefront of the fight against climate change will lose their jobs, their livelihoods, and their lives will be ruined. This is something we must avoid and that is why Zimbabwe is coming to the table with a mindset to deal with climate change and save the world.
My government is now committed to reducing 40 percent emissions by 2030. This makes the recent commitment to 33 percent reduction in gas emissions set in 2017. The new goal is to see that carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced to 44.7 million tons of carbon dioxide (Mt CO2e) by now. By 2030, a reduction of about 30 million tons. One of our ways to achieve this is through a massive increase in renewable energy with a target of 26.5 percent of total energy from renewable energy by 2030. This includes investments in hydro energy, solar energy and biomass.
We have reaffirmed our commitment to protect the diverse wildlife we have been blessed with. We have 11 national parks, each with its own wildlife sanctuary, including the African buffalo, the African wild elephant, the endangered black rhino, the southern giraffe, the African tiger, the lion, and the zebra in the valley, with several species of antelope.
Last year, mines were banned in all parks. Also, my government entered into a non-profit agreement with African Parks, signing a 20-year contract in November 2020 to guide Matusadona National Park.
However, with all that desire, we still have to deal with the dangers of drought and the effects of climate change through the necessary safety nets. That is why I have been asking for international help to intensify our efforts. Developed countries need to increase access to climate change in the near future. Sadly, a long-term commitment to $ 100 billion a year to help developing countries cope with climate change has failed. The wealthiest nations should set an example and speed up the process. What it wants is a political will.
One of the things that financial leaders need to do to help us, and others, is to eliminate the use of political and illegal sanctions. In late October, UN special correspondent Alena Douhan called for Zimbabwe’s sanctions to be lifted by the EU and US after completing a thorough investigation.
He further added that “the sanctions and sanctions imposed by the United States” have undermined Zimbabwe’s economy and enjoyed human rights, including health, food, alcohol and water. “
If the sanctions are lifted, we will have the opportunity to fight to achieve our goal of becoming a middle-income country by the end of the decade, helping thousands of people out of poverty, promoting innovation and allowing Zimbabwe to lead Africa.
I believe we have demonstrated our ambition and desire for responsibility in the international community. We have made great strides in the last three years and have discussed many of the changes we have been asked to make, including compensating landowners who were deprived of property during the 21st century, as well as tackling corruption. We call for re-entry into the Commonwealth of Nations and I believe that my presence at COP26 is another sign of the need to rebuild Zimbabwe.
I was impressed by the double talks with US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Charles Michel and others in the first week of the conference.
But the word time is over – we need to take action now. My hope is that developing countries will be liberated so that all can take part in the global war on climate change and be prepared to face its devastating consequences.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al Jazeera.