(Issue Date: 04 June 2021)
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights joins the progressive world in commemorating the
year 2021 World Environment Day which runs under the theme “Ecosystem Restoration”. The organization also applauds the United Nations for declaring the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021 – 2030).
Noting that economic activities that include mining, timber logging, urbanization, settlement patterns, overgrazing, poor farming methods, industrialization and commercial agriculture have all been contributing to the rampant ecosystem destruction in Zimbabwe through land, air and water pollution, deforestation, poaching and species depletion;
Further noting that Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) commits itself to contributing to ecosystem recovery by among other measures to:
- Increase the areas of wetlands sustainably managed from 701 100 hectares in 2020 to 1051 650 hactares by 2025;
- Reduce area burnt from 1 100 000 in 2020 to 6 000 by 2025;
- Increase mined areas rehabilitated from 2 500 hectares in 2020 to 10 000 hectares by 2025;
- Increase planted area from 11 500 hectares to 45 000 hectares by 2025;
- Increase the National Forest cover from 44.5 % in 2020 to 47% by 2025; and
- Increase the number of keystone species.
As Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) we therefore take this opportunity to urge the Government of Zimbabwe to, among other measures:
- Adopt and declare a decade of ecosystem restoration which will enhance the implementation of NDS environmental goals and outcomes; promote national and international social mobilization towards ecosystem restoration in Zimbabwe; and set a clear national vision towards ecosystem recovery and restoration.
- Implement Sections 87 and 95 of the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] by ensuring that the National Environmental Plan is formulated and publicized and all local authorities formulate Local Authority Environment Action Plans.
- Speedup the amendment of the country’s national environmental laws to reign on the operations of mining companies that have for years been dodging environmental rights and standards accountability.
- Establish and operationalize the Environment Court and further strengthen the mandate and functions of the Traditional Community Courts (Chiefs and Headpersons’ Courts) in dealing with environmental concerns.
- Formulate a national policy to deal with the management and disposal of electric and electronic waste (ewaste) in Zimbabwe.