Mainstreaming sustainable forest and land management to build ecosystem resilience and improve livelihoods in Zimbabwe

The process of land degradation negatively affects 3.2 billion people worldwide, 2 billion of whom live in arid regions. Promoting and investing in healthy and vibrant drylands worldwide is therefore essential to build back better and promote a resilient world that promotes food security, biodiversity, combats climate change, achieves land degradation neutrality and leave no one behind. The degradation of forest and land resources has been identified as a major obstacle to sustainable development in Zimbabwe. The way people use and exploit natural resources contributes greatly to their degradation, and this is mainly due to activities such as overexploitation, overgrazing, cutting and clearing of forests to pave the way for the expansion of l agriculture and other activities.

To prevent this, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Industry (MECTHI), the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and other national partners have launched a new Global Environment Facility (GEF-7) project to promote the sustainable management of forests and land in the arid lowveld landscapes of southeastern Zimbabwe. This initiative will support a cross-sectoral approach that will result in the integration of sustainable forest and land management to improve the resilience of ecosystems to improve livelihoods in the Save and Runde watersheds of Zimbabwe. Honorable Minister Nqobizitha Ndhlovu (MP) officially launched the project today.

“As part of my ministry’s contribution to the achievement of the 2030 agenda, an accelerated land restoration program will be implemented to strengthen economic resilience, food security, biodiversity restoration and increased land cover, thereby mitigating climate change and creating green jobs,” said Minister Ndhlovu. in his official launch speech for the project. “My ministry takes this opportunity to thank the United Nations family and in particular FAO for their continued collaboration in mobilizing resources for environmental management in the country within the framework of multilateral environmental agreements,” he said. he added.

The project, funded by the GEF to the tune of $10.4 million, will be implemented from December 2021 to 2026. The project in Zimbabwe is part of a larger, programmatic and integrated impact program of the GEF-7 for Sustainable Dryland Landscapes covering 11 countries of which seven are in Southern Africa. The countries will be supported by a global coordination project and a regional exchange mechanism, both led by FAO. Project implementation is led by EMA in collaboration with other government, NGO and private sector partners. The project interventions will be implemented in three provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo and Midlands.

“The project is anchored in FAO’s new strategic framework, which focuses on transforming towards more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life. The project is also aligned with national priorities and will contribute to the achievement of the objectives defined in the National Development Strategy 1 and will also contribute to the achievement of the SDGs,” said Patrice Talla, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Africa Australia and FAO Representative in Zimbabwe. , Eswatini and Lesotho.

In the face of climate change, unsustainable land management and increasing population pressures, there is a need for increased attention to dryland forests (such as in the Save and Runde watersheds), in order to prevent, d avoid and reverse degradation trends, in alignment with SDG target 15.3 which calls on countries to become land degradation neutral by 2030.

Distributed by APO Group for the FAO Regional Office for Africa.

© Press release 2021