Zimbabwe says it is working hard to rebuild following the devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth that affected four countries in southern Africa leading to over 1,000 deaths and massive infrastructure losses, Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Mike Madiro said Thursday.
In opening remarks to a building back better workshop which is focusing on the need for climate resilient investment in reconstruction and development in cyclone affected regions of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, Mr. Madiro said his ministry was working with other ministries, government departments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector on rebuilding livelihoods and infrastructure in the affected eastern part of the country.
They are also working on different strategies to better prepare communities and to integrate climate information in their response so they can build resilience.
“We at Home Affairs, work with climate and weather monitoring organizations, disaster preparedness and risk reduction units to strengthen our national and regional strategies to generate and share reliable climate information,” he said.
The minister said bringing together policy makers, climate research centres, academic institutions, national meteorological services, and grassroots organisations, will bridge the gap between climate research and climate information needs.
Mr. Madiro said policymakers in Zimbabwe and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) need to be armed with strong, evidence-based information in order to make properly informed decisions for a climate-resilient economy.
“A disconnect between producers and users of climate information can lead to climate information that is often too technical, difficult to access and does not speak to users’ needs,” he said.
He continued: “We must have strong early warning systems to provide critical data to prepare us for droughts, floods and storms, and to save lives and minimise economic damage,” he said, adding evidence showed that robust weather and climate information offered ‘extremely good value for money in protecting and enhancing development.”
“I commend UNECA and its partners’ initiative to organize such an event to raise awareness and share tools to help building back better and building with resilience.”
James Murombedzi, Chief of the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) at the ECA, for his part noted the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report earlier in the year that climate change was accelerating and in turn increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate events was expected.
“This is amply demonstrated by the increasing number and severity of weather events affecting southern Africa, as we experienced this year with cyclones Desmond, Idai and Kenneth striking in quick succession. It is thus important that as we reconstruct after the devastation of the cyclones, we also urgently act to build the resilience of our region in order to ensure that we achieve our sustainable development goals in a changing climate,” he said.
“We are therefore gathered here to initiate programmes to support the integration of climate information services and climate change considerations into resilience building in climate sensitive sectors of the economies of SADC countries.”
At the end of the workshop we hope to have identified critical issues that need to be addressed in order to mainstream climate change into development planning in order to not only build back better after the devastation of the cyclones, but to also build climate resilience into our economies, ecosystems, infrastructure, and communities, Mr. Murombedzi said.
“The African Climate Policy Centre undertakes to work with governments and partners in the SADC region to support initiatives to develop best practices, build capacities, mobilise resources for climate resilient development in the region,” he said.
The workshop is reviewing the status of climate information services in the region, exploring tools and methods for enhancing the mainstreaming of climate change in development planning, and identifying concrete actions towards climate proofing economic activities, ecosystems, human settlements and physical infrastructure, especially in areas projected to be impacted by extreme weather and climate events.