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ZIMBABWE should strengthen stakeholder engagement, policy formulation and strategy implementation to realise its full potential for a green economy which can help the country reduce its high unemployment rate. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, a green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.

A green economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

These investments need to be catalysed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes.

The country has adopted sustainable development which focuses on economic development, social development and environmental management as an important action plan, for achieving sustainability in the use of finite resources necessary to provide for the needs of future generations.

Proponents of sustainable development, however, say for the country to move the concept forward, Government should develop policies that promote a green economy.

They say by shifting to sustainability, the Government will ensure effective and efficient utilisation of the finite resources.

While factors such as rapid urbanisation, ecological damages and climate change have made transition to a green economy necessary for Zimbabwe, the challenge is how to promote low-carbon-inclusive green economies.

Stakeholders say that Zimbabwe lacks coherent policies that support a green economy adequate economic instruments to promote adoption of green technologies while there is limited awareness on the green economy concept and what it entails.

Some of the issues affecting development in the new concept also include limited access to technology, lack of green funds to support green economy initiatives, limited collaboration among stakeholders and inadequate implementation of policies.

The stakeholders say that future policy frameworks should have targets and milestones and also prescribe specific issues which include what should be done how and who should implement. A monitoring and evaluation protocol should also be set.

Only 37 percent of households have access to grid electricity and this shows potential for intervention in the main sources of primary energy used in Zimbabwe.

Top global business leaders and proponents of sustainable development have said there is a very g business case for circular thinking and the associated substantial economic opportunities.

A green economy workshop held in Harare last week heard that the concept is gaining traction worldwide, principally as a strategy to combat future climatic change, but also as a sustainable model for simultaneously tackling poverty and environmental degradation.

For the country to realise benefits of a green economy proponents recommend the development of new policies that promote a green economy, increase in the implementation of existing policy frameworks, harmonise perceptions towards the green economy and make the concept relevant to all levels of the population including rural communities.

“Demystify concepts”

Presenting a paper titled “Green Economy and the Energy Sector: Towards a Sustainable Development Model in Zimbabwe”, Mr Tawanda Muzamwese, chief sustainability consultant from African Sustainability Consultants, said pluralism and parallel legal instruments covering the scope of a green economy should be addressed.

“For example, some municipal by-laws and environmental Acts have some provisions which are cross-cutting,” said Mr Muzamwese.

He recommended the creation of financial incentives that actively promote the adoption of sustainable technologies in all sectors of the economy, creation of a knowledge management system to document success stories to facilitate dissemination and upscaling of proven models, and promotion of access to renewable energy technologies.

He also recommended the promotion of decentralised energy solutions and green technologies in SMEs and increase of community participation in sustainable development

In a speech read on his behalf at the workshop, Engineer Quinton Kanhukamwe said it is important to understand the various methods and practices – from assessment to stakeholder engagement, policy formulation and strategy implementation – which Zimbabwe can adopt as part of transformative measures to an environmentally viable and socially inclusive economy.

“The four strategic clusters of the economic plan – food security and nutrition social services and poverty eradication infrastructure and utilities value addition and beneficiation – dovetail with core principles of and objectives of the green economy,” said Eng Kanhukamwe.

At a meeting held in June 2014, experts concluded that the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation is a compatible platform for transition to a green economy if fully implemented.

Source : The Herald