01.02.2018 - UNESCO Office in Harare

Regional workshop on climate services for improved water resources management opens in Zimbabwe

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri (in long green, blue and yellow dress) posing for a photo with other high level delegates © UNESCO/Chimbidzikai Mapfumo

The Southern Africa regional workshop on climate services for improved water resources management opened in Harare, Zimbabwe on 30th January 2018.

Officially opening the workshop, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Honourable Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the workshop came at the opportune time to proffer solutions and strategies for southern African countries which are once again faced with an imminent drought.   

“Southern Africa has become particularly vulnerable to the effects of both La Nina and El Nino phenomena that pose significant and real threats to SADC’s goals for regional economic development and growth,” she said.

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri emphasised that there is need to pay particular attention to how climate change is impacting on water resources.

“With the variability of our rainfall seasons now, it has become evident that much of the SADC region’s access to water is becoming even more challenging and problematic,” she said adding that at the moment, Cape Town (South Africa) is living dangerously with only three months of water supply left.

“This underscores the importance and urgent need to implement initiatives on climate services for improved water resources management,” said the Minister.

Speaking at the same event, the UN Resident Coordinator to Zimbabwe, Mr, Bishow Parajuli said the UN in Zimbabwe recognises the dire effects of climate change which are causing extreme weather events with severe droughts and floods, resulting in unprecedented hardship, deaths and destruction of livelihoods and assets, and increasing threats to water and food security in the region.

“The UN team through its joint programme aims to ensure that targeted communities adapt to the reality of climate change through promotion of adoption of climate-smart agriculture production technologies, diversification of livelihoods and asset base and post-harvest management and linking farmers to markets,” said Mr. Parajuli.

He said these activities will improve communities’ capacities to anticipate, cushion, adapt, recover and move on from the effects of shocks and hazards in a manner that protects livelihoods and recovery gains and supports sustainable transformation.

He further said the UN in partnership with development partners commissioned the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund to prepare communities to withstand recurrent and emerging shock and natural disasters.

In his remarks, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) Director and Representative, Prof. Hubert Gijzen said water is central in the discussion on climate change estimating that over 95 percent of all climate change impacts are either directly or indirectly related to water.

He called for the adoption of strong medium to long term development responses aimed at building resilience and reducing the impact of future extreme weather events saying these are more sustainable than ad hoc humanitarian responses.

The workshop is being attended by high level experts from SADC countries with support from UNESCO ROSA, the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) and the Government of Flanders.

For more information, please contact:  p.oti-boateng(at)unesco.org; t.murenga(at)unesco.org or m.munamati(at)unesco.org

To access UNESCO ROSA Director's full remarks, please click here.

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