Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zimbabwe's climate change policies need an urban focus

IRIN: In spite of the political and financial turmoil that Zimbabwe faces, the country seems to be on the right track in adopting strategies to address the effects of climate change. But these strategies tend to have a strong rural bias, overlooking the fact that almost half of the country now lives in urban areas, according to a joint review of the country's climate change response by a think tank and leading NGO.

Zimbabwe, like many other African countries, has begun to develop a national framework to respond to climate change, including efforts to identify authorities to process donor funds for mitigating and adapting to climate change, said one of the authors of the review, Shepard Zvigadza of ZERO Regional Environment Organization. 

However, as in most other African countries, policymakers and researchers "ignore longstanding urbanization trends and continue to overstate the proportion of Zimbabwe's population living in rural areas."

The ruling ZANU-PF party, which has dominated politics in Zimbabwe for decades, has been accused of appeasing their voters, who are largely rural, by developing policies that cater to them while disregarding urban residents.

Taking into account UN statistics, the authors suggested that almost 38 percent of Zimbabwe's population lives in urban areas, but the number could be as high as 50 percent if national assessments are considered....

Eastgate shopping mall in Harare, Zimbabwe, shot by Gary Bembridge, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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