On 28th July 2021 we hosted a virtual parliamentary roundtable with legislators from Zimbabwe to discuss climate impacts in that country. The meeting was convened in collaboration with the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships, and was co-sponsored by the Pan-African Parliament. We were joined by Dr Andre Kamga Foamouhoue, Director of the African Center for Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD). This session took place in the format of a Q&A, led by the Executive Director of the Climate Parliament, Sergio Missana, followed by an open conversation with the parliamentarians.
Dr Missana introduced the discussion by displaying a graphic that shows the 1% of the globe that is currently uninhabitable due to extreme heat, a percentage which is expected to increase to 19% by 2070, with devastating impacts for much of Africa. He asked Dr Kamga what he expected the trajectory to be for this region in terms of climate change impacts. Dr Kamga responded by referring to the droughts in 2015/2016, saying that his research shows that droughts of this magnitude are expected to happen much more frequently. Sergio responded by pointing out the role of hydro power in the energy mix of Zimbabwe and the fact that droughts can affect hydro potential. Dr Kamga alluded to the severe risk of flooding in the region and proposed the establishment of early warning systems that could help mitigate the impact of extreme weather events. This requires cooperation across regions because, as in the case of Zimbabwe, rivers cross many countries. There is a need for information and data sharing to strengthen these warning systems.
Sergio asked what kind of legislation Dr Kamga would propose for a country such as Zimbabwe to help manage climate change impacts. At the national level, disaster management agencies are essential. The strength of these feeds into the effectiveness of these disaster management networks at the global level. Sergio asked Dr Kamga for some words on adaptation. Dr Kamga emphasised the three main areas of policy and legislation to prepare Zimbabwe for climate change impact:
Investment in disaster management and emphasis on implementation and connecting warning centres
To combine multiple sources of renewable energy for climate resilience
To revise the agricultural calendar to better prepare for variability in weather patterns
The floor was then opened up to parliamentarians for questions and updates on the specific impacts of climate change in their constituencies. Many of the points raised were around the cost of creating resilience mechanisms and the challenges of long-term disaster management instruments. Dr Kamga expressed the importance of an integrated management approach, and was happy to offer the support of his expertise and that of ACMAD to help Zimbabwean MPs in their efforts to build climate resilience.