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UN’s Kallon calls on SADC to take tough environmental decisions

By Staff Writer

UNITED Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe, Edward Kallon has called on the SADC region to take tough environmental decisions and save the little which remains of the planet.

He made the remarks at the 2024 SADC Regional Commemoration of World Environment Day, an event which encourages awareness and action for the protection of the environment supported by many non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders.

“This day is crucial for the SADC region to collectively reflect on how best to tackle these urgent issues. With up to 40% of the planet’s land degraded, directly impacting half of the world’s population, and the number and duration of droughts increasing by 29% since 2000, urgent action is needed. Droughts could affect over three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050.

“The impact on our region is evident, with severe droughts, floods, and the devastating Cyclone Idai affecting millions and causing over USD 1 trillion in damages since 1990,” he said.

He said the UN has embarked on several initiatives to support Zimbabwe in achieving its developmental goals which includes the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Programme, funded with US$ 72 million from the World Bank and led by the UN Office for Project Services.

The projects involve FAO, IOM, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WFP, and WHO. The project’s outcomes have been handed over to relevant Government authorities.

“Resilience-building schemes have supported over one million people in 23 vulnerable districts with initiatives worth over US$ 100 million, financially supported by the EU, Sweden, and the UK. This program has ended, and the UN has established a resilience framework to build on its gains.

“The other initiative is community asset building through conservation agriculture, water harvesting, and small-scale irrigation using simple infrastructure such as weir dams and solar-powered pumps for horticulture which is important for household food security and income generation,” he said.

Kallon said US$45 million UN Joint Program on Renewable Energy, with USD 10 million from the UN SDGs fund and additional private sector blended funding, began implementation this year.

 The “Solar for Health” initiative has installed solar power in 1,053 health facilities, significantly enhancing maternal and child health services.

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