Environmental Sustainability Highlighted at Wednesday@UNIC

The second Wednesday at UNIC took place on 14 June covering issues on Environmental Sustainability – Millennium Development Goal 7 – in Zimbabwe.

Click to view photos from the event.UNDP Country Director, Ms Christine Umutoni who was guest speaker at the session said that humanity depends on environment and natural resources for social and economic development. She further noted, “Natural resources are limited thus the need for environmental protection is necessary for sustainable development.” Zimbabwe is endowed with abundant natural resources that include rich mineral deposits, wildlife, arable lands, forests, and surface and groundwater resources. However, the country faces multiple environmental challenges, including biodiversity loss, poor waste management, pollution, and land and forest degradation. 

The peri-urban areas rank amongst the worst affected in terms of water and sanitation access and coverage as there is no guiding policy framework. The country has a significant challenge to raise safe water coverage from 61% to 85% and to raise access to good sanitation from 30.5% to 71%.

To address the environmental challenges and in line with the upcoming Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the United Nations has been advocating for smart public policies to generate decent employment and accelerate social progress in a sustainable way.

The Country Director said that the United Nations was supporting the Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Flagship Programme worth US$14 million. In addition the United Nations through the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance (ZUNDAF) 2012-2015 has been actively supporting national efforts to develop a national climate change strategy, a disaster risk management bill, a review of the land tenure system, and an extensive input support programme.

Following the presentation by Ms Umutoni, participants raised the need for: baseline data to ensure proper planning; linking environmental issues to socio-economic development indicators; government to enforce strict environmental impact assessment of ongoing mining activities. In addition, the discussion emphasized that more integrated participatory planning to maximize on synergies is required to achieve the MDG.  Over 45 participants from Government, international development agencies, civil society organizations and the media were present during the discussion.

More information on Millennium Development Goal 7 - Ensure Environmental Sustainability

More information on ZUNDAF National Development Priority 4 - Sound Management and Use of the Environment, Natural Resources and Land to Promote Sustainable Development

Click here to read on Health MDGs discussed at the first Wednesday @ UNIC