Hon Dr Tapiwa Mashakada MP, president of the newly formed Zimbabwe Climate Parliament group opened their first meeting by stressing that reducing the country’s climate emissions should be a major plank in the strategy to protect the country from the already visible effects of climate change.
He told the meeting that a priority for the group should be to work with Climate Parliament groups in other countries to help Zimbabwe transition to green energy sources.
Mr Tichaona Mushayandebvu of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) outlined how the Green Industry Programme, jointly developed by the Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ) and UNIDO, can accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
Led by the government, the Green Industry Programme runs four projects on climate change and environmental management that support the government to develop green industrial policies. He also highlighted the success of pilot projects that had provided economic incentives for companies to ‘go green’.
An important component of the programme is the Green Industry Fund, which leverages resources from the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the African Development Bank, and the Green Climate Fund to support initiatives in Zimbabwe.
Mr Alois Mhlanga, who heads UNIDO’s Climate Technology and Innovations Division, told MPs that climate adaptation is a key engine for growth and an opportunity for enterprise, innovation, and green jobs.
He explained how UNIDO provides support for the market-based deployment of adaptation technologies at government level and summarised how UNIDO helps micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) by providing investment services to adaptation projects in collaboration with local finance service providers.
UNIDO’s Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) advises low carbon, climate resilient businesses in developing countries and matches projects to appropriate private financing. PFAN mobilizes private financing to reduce GHG emissions and build climate resilience to help meet both the targets of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Climate Parliament’s Executive Director, Dr Sergio Missana, recommended the Action Ideas section of their website as a useful resource for MPs, as it outlines successful policies and initiatives around the world that advance climate action.
Parliamentarians expressed their enthusiasm to use their positions as legislators to advance the transition to renewable energy in Zimbabwe.
Many parliamentarians highlighted the challenge of rising domestic and industrial energy demand across Zimbabwe. The mining industry, which contributes to a significant portion of the country’s GDP, is energy intensive and will require renewable energy solutions.
Solar energy arose as a key area of future development, particularly given Zimbabwe’s abundant solar resources. There was interest in widescale adoption of rooftop solar in rural homesteads to advance rural electrification. There was agreement that the rooftop solar solution should be complemented by green grids which could be connected to continental-scale grids to provide a more reliable supply of energy.
Nicholas Dunlop, Secretary General of the Climate Parliament, closed the meeting by thanking the MPs for their commitment and reflecting that, given its abundant renewable resources and its strategic geographic location, Zimbabwe could become a major exporter of renewable energy.