Zimbabwe pledges to protect its resources

The Chronicle

Lincoln Towindo recently in Maputo, Mozambique
ZIMBABWE is committed to protecting its vast forest resources, with the government implementing interventions to restore degraded forest areas and safeguard forest integrity and biodiversity, President Mnangagwa said.

Addressing a high-level regional meeting on the protection of native forests at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Center in Maputo, Mozambique, the president said there is a need to step up coordinated conservation and sustainable management of forests for posterity.

He said initiatives such as the establishment of extensive fire protection systems and the taxation of those responsible for commercial logging were being rolled out to engender and safeguard the integrity of the areas. forests.

President Mnangagwa was attending the two-day high-level session of the Regional Conference on Sustainable and Integrated Management of Miombo Forests, hosted by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi.

President Filipe Nyusi

The conference culminated in the adoption of the Maputo Declaration on the Sustainable Management and Conservation of Indigenous Forests, a transnational declaration by nine African countries aimed at protecting and conserving miombo forests along the Zambezi Basin.

Miombo forests are tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrub biomes located primarily in Central Africa.

They are classified as natural buffers of the effects of climate change and critical absorbers of greenhouse gases.

Addressing the conference, President Mnangagwa said he was pleased that the forestry sector had risen to prominence on the global biodiversity agenda over the past five years.

The development, he said, will raise awareness and contribute to forest management and help halt deforestation and forest degradation.

“It is important to note that most of Zimbabwe’s inland river systems have their origins and catchments in the miombo woodland areas,” he said.

“In this regard, we have recognized the importance of managing these biomes to improve the rainwater harvesting capacity of forests.”

He added: “In the meantime, my government is fully aware that a significant number of Miombo forests are inhabited by farming communities while some are under protection, either as classified forests or as wildlife parks or reserves. “.

President Mnangagwa said the Miombo forests were threatened by an ever-growing population and increasing demand for land clearance for agriculture, mining and infrastructure development.

Miombo forests, he said, made up about 37 percent of Zimbabwe’s 23 million hectares of forest cover.

“As part of my government’s national development strategy, measures have been put in place to facilitate better land use management,” he said.

“These include intensive agricultural production systems, participatory agroforestry management practices and ecosystem restoration models to restore degraded and deforested areas.

“Zimbabwe is proposing an ambitious but achievable target to restore degraded forest areas under the African Forest Landscape Restoration (AFR) 100 initiative, by 2030.”

Protecting forest areas, the president said, was in the best interests of the country, which has recently suffered the effects of rising global temperatures due to the phenomenon of climate change.

“Furthermore, the government has put in place common management practices to improve the integrity and functionality of the Miombo forests,” the president said.

“These include fire protection, application of indigenous knowledge systems approaches, and the perception of those responsible for commercial forest degradation, such as tobacco-cured growers. hot air.”

He said the Paris Agreement framework on climate change recognizes the importance of sustainable forest management as an essential intervention to prevent climate change.

“At the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021, we reaffirmed our respective commitments to sustainable land use,” he added.

“Similarly, the need to intensify the conservation, protection, sustainable management and restoration of forests and other terrestrial ecosystems has been highlighted.

“Our meeting today builds on these important discussions, with a focus on resource biodiversity conservation in our own region.”

Addressing the conference, President Nyusi said, “Miombo forests protect river basins, help prevent flooding and absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“These forests also reduce human-wildlife conflict and provide food for wildlife that no longer turn to human fields for food.”

He added: “Climate change does not respect borders; therefore, we must work together and put the national interest behind us.

“We must act together and face together one of the greatest threats to humanity.”

The event brought together ministers responsible for the environment from African countries located along the Zambezi basin, climate change and conservation experts and representatives of civil society.

The conference was held under the theme: “For sustainable and integrated management of Miombo in building resilience to climate change and protecting the Greater Zambezi”.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa returned home last night.

He was received at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Zanu-PF Vice President and Second Secretary Kembo Mohadi, government ministers and senior officials.

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