Time to re-imagine our relationship with nature

June 5, 2020

The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon. Ndhlovu Nqobizitha Mangaliso has called for urgency, ambition and action to address the crisis facing nature during the 2020 World Environment Day commemorations.

Deriving from the global theme, Zimbabwe’s commemorations were held under theme Time for Nature – Act Now. This year’s event took place online in a virtual seminar because of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

In explaining the theme, the minister called for action today and now to protect the environment from challenges such as the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world.

“More than ever before, mankind is becoming reliant on nature’s services than previously imagined, and this is shaking our natural environment in significant ways” said Hon. Ndlovu.

Quoting Mr António Guterres the UN Secretary-General, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Georges van Montfort said “Nature is sending us a message: Habitat degradation and biodiversity loss are accelerating; climate disruption is getting worse; fires, floods, droughts and superstorms are more frequent and damaging; and now a new coronavirus is raging, undermining health and livelihoods. To care for humanity, we must care for nature.”

Speaking on the current COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Montfort added “The pandemic is a reminder of the threats we face when the environment is undermined. However, this is also a positive sign that despite large scale destruction of habitats, if we give nature a chance, it has the ability to regrow.”

From bushfires in Brazil and Australia, to locust infestations in East Africa; from Cyclone Idai ravaging Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique and now the COVID-19 crisis which has affected the whole world, recent environment-related disasters have demonstrated the interdependence of humans and webs of life in which they exist.

To maintain a sustainable development trajectory, Zimbabwe has developed a Low Emission Development Strategy to chart a path that will build back better – both for humans as well as nature.

UNDP in Zimbabwe is working with the Government and many other organizations to address climate change challenges, protect Zimbabwe’s unique biodiversity and to develop policies that promote a future where people can live in harmony with nature.