The National Adaptation Plan

In 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate embarked on the development of a stocktaking report for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) under the project Integrated Planning Systems. The NAP is meant to operationalize the National Climate Change Response Strategy of 2015 and the Climate Policy which was launched in 2018 through developing adaptation strategies that are suitable to the various areas and sectors given the context specific nature of climate change effects.

In addition to being a climate change adaptation action plan, the NAP will also facilitate the integration of climate change into development frameworks (plans, policies, budgets and activities) whose significance was underscored at a recent event by Emily Matingo, from the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate emphasized the need to plan for climate change adaptation.

It has been good to see a number of Ministries come to realise the impacts that climate change brings. They have started to adjust and implement ad hoc approaches to climate change planning such as encouraging the growing of small grain crops in areas where maize is no longer viable. We greatly welcome such initiatives as they are a stepping stone to our goal of achieving climate resilience”.

She added that, the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) will be backed up by District and Sectoral Adaptation Plans to support a cross-cutting, integrated approach to climate change adaptation efforts. The completion of the NAP will also assist Zimbabwe to unlock climate financing mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as funding from bilateral and multilateral channels.

Progress of the development of the stocktaking report for the NAP

Speaking at the same workshop, Ms Matingo also provided a progress update for the NAP Development Process and noted,

Due to limited funding, the Integrated Planning Systems (IPS) Project has taken two of the seventeen steps of the NAP development process which are laying the groundwork and developing the stocktaking report. Since the start of the project, we have made a number of strides in the development of the stocktaking report for NAP. We have managed to carry out consultations in all 10 provinces and in 13 districts …”

To cover urban area climate change assessments, consultations were initiated with Urban Local Authorities through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing which included local urban authorities from across Zimbabwe. In addition, vulnerable and marginalised groups were also consulted on how they were being affected by climate change as well as their medium to long term adaption priorities. The information that has been gathered so far forms part of a stocktaking report, which is the baseline for the development of a NAP.

District Adaptation Planning

Once the NAP is completed, it will provide an overarching framework of climate change action planning for Zimbabwe. However, since climate change effects are context specific, there is need to develop district, provincial and sectoral adaptation plans that are more targeted to the vulnerabilities being faced in each context. This also helps to integrate climate change considerations into day to day development plans, strategies, budgets and activities.

Effective institutions are at the heart of the country’s ability to respond to increasing climate hazards, and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate under the IPS Project has developed a manual which provides step by step guidance to support national and sub-national government officials and development partners in adaptation planning. The guide focuses on climate change adaptation plans at district, sectoral and provincial level.

Making use of the manual (still under testing for finalisation) and an adaptation template, the districts of Chimanimani, Chiredzi and Buhera have been engaged to pilot the formulation of District Adaptation Plans (DAPs) under the IPS Project so that other districts can then learn from their experience. Capacity building workshops have been carried out in the 3 districts who have formulated working DAPs which they are yet to finalise, cost and integrate into existing and future development processes, plans, strategies and budgets such as the Disaster Risk Management Plans and the 2018 – 2024 Strategic District Development Plan.

Chimanimani District

Speaking at one of the workshops, Mr Matimba from Chimanimani Rural District Council had the following to say,

We have been trained on climate change adaptation planning including aspects on how to conduct a climate change vulnerability analysis and from it derive and prioritise adaptation options. From this, we were able to identify climate hazards for the district which are a potential threat to both livelihoods and ecosystem health”.

He highlighted that the increased frequency and intensity of cyclones as well as changing rainfall and temperature patterns were some of the main climatic hazards to consider in Chimanimani. The training also included a policy gap analysis and the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework for the District Adaptation Plan so as to constantly check effectiveness of adaptation options, learn from them and think ahead.

Chiredzi District

In Chiredzi District, Mr Zanamwe from Chiredzi Rural District Council spoke about the adaptation planning initiative with much enthusiasm saying,

I now realise the importance and need for adaptation planning. If Chiredzi is to build climate resilience, we have to move away from the reactionary approach where we react to climate change only when damage has been done. We now have a working draft of the District Adaptation Plan for Chiredzi which we cannot wait to finalise and implement”.

He went on to explain that the process of developing a District Adaptation Plan had also opened the eyes of the council to think big in terms of accessing climate financing mechanisms that are available if the district is able to demonstrate capacity and good strategies for adaptation. In addition, Mr Zanamwe indicated how the capacity building process for adaptation planning helped the district authorities realise that adaptation planning for resilience also involved other aspects, not directly brought about by the climatic hazards. The Chiredzi representative also highlighted the importance of working in partnerships to tackle climate change and acknowledged that the training had both included government officials, private sector and development partners working in the district.

Buhera District

In Buhera trained stakeholders were also encouraged to think big and not restrict themselves, when developing their adaptation options since the District Adaptation Plan was a document that could be used as a tool to direct development partners in the district for small and big actions and to leverage climate finance. Following the training, Mr Nduna from Buhera Rural District Council had the following to say,

We had already started embedding climate change into some of the work we are doing as a district. However through this training, we have managed to realise the need to clearly articulate these issues through development of a DAP. Once finalised, the DAP proves to be a great tool that backstops development efforts for the district.”

In their closing rmarks, the teams  noted how rewarding the process was and hoped it would allow them to access critical funding to their resource constrained districts and allow them to identify opportunities that they could tap into for economic growth through development of a DAP.

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