Zimbabwe Looks for More Funding From Russia to Tackle Climate Change – Official

© REUTERS / Stephane Mahe A woman walks past a map showing the elevation of the sea in the last 22 years during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 11, 2015
A woman walks past a map showing the elevation of the sea in the last 22 years during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 11, 2015 - Sputnik International
KATOWICE (Sputnik) - Zimbabwe hopes that Russia will provide the country with more funds to help the country go green, Washington Zhakata, the director of the climate change management department at Zimbabwe’s ministry of lands, agriculture, water, climate and rural resettlement told Sputnik on the sidelines of COP24 on Wednesday.

"It would be a pleasure to have more financing from the Russian government. This is the first type of funds we have received from Russia. So, we hope, if we come up with the right outcomes of this program, then it will generate more interest for Russia to now invest in clear demonstration projects in order for us to go green because this is an issue of going green as a country", Zhakata said.

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Zhakata also expressed gratitude to Russia over the allocation of $1 million for development of Zimbabwe's Low Emission Development Strategy that will make it possible to review the country's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for implementation of Paris Agreement.

Commenting on the case, Vangelis Peter Haritatos, Zimbabwe’s deputy minister of lands, agriculture, water, climate and rural resettlement told Sputnik that Russia has played a positive role in Zimbabwe adding that "it is good to be friends" with Moscow.

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COP24 is taking place on December 2-14 in the Polish city of Katowice. The main goal of the conference participants is to discuss ways of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Paris climate deal, created within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, went into force on November 4, 2016. It has been ratified by 184 of the 197 parties to the accord. The deal aims to keep the increase in average global temperature at below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Commenting on the battle against climate change, Haritatos noted that developed countries have to undertake more drastic changes to stem their contributions to global warming.

"The developed countries have to do more than the countries like ourselves. We are contributing [to global warming], everybody is contributing in this world, but they are contributing a much bigger piece of the pie than we are so obviously they have to change much more radically than we do", he said.

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The deputy minister added that the target of the European Union to become carbon-neutral by 2050 would also have a positive effect on Zimbabwe’s battle with climate change if achieved.

"If they walk the talk then it’s going to positively affect everything. To be very honest with you, we don’t come from economies that can sustain a lot of the things that can be sustained in Europe, for example. I think it will help. Without going into too much detail about exactly what they propose, I believe every single change that’s done, as long as it helps climactic changes, however small, however big, is a good change", Haritatos said.

In addition, Haritatos noted that the Katowice agreement would likely be drafted and signed by the end of the week, even amid concerns of whether a consensus would be reached.

"On that side, I worry a little bit … and it’s a bit worrying that we may have come here in vain, but I don’t think so. I think the next few days, again I am still very optimistic, and I believe that they will come to their senses and agree", he said.

The deputy minister stated that there was a sense of urgency to coming to a consensus on the Katowice agreement that would determine whether the international community could move forward.

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"I am still very optimistic and we all echoed the exact same message in there. We all have to get serious. It cannot be business as usual. We have to be serious as a globe. If we are failing to come together and agree on a position on something like this then how can we move forward as an international community", Haritatos said.

He noted that there should be buy-ins from every country to "get things done".

In turn, Washington Zhakata told Sputnik that the guaranteed provision of funds to address climate change is a priority for Zimbabwe to be included in the Katowice agreement that is set to be adopted by the end of the week.

"The priority for Zimbabwe is to see that the issue of provision of finances, especially during the post 2020 period, is guaranteed, because our NDCs [nationally determined contributions] are conditional upon provision of finances also from developed country parties", the official said on the sidelines of COP24 at the Katowice Climate Change Conference.

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Zhakata stated that Zimbabwe would be monitoring contributions by developed countries to funds which would assist developing countries like Zimbabwe in tackling climate change.

"The issue of provision of finances, especially for adaptation to climate change is very critical … So we want to see a clear message on how the developed country parties will be contributing to the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund and any other funds that can assist developing countries and Zimbabwe also included", he said.

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