VARIOUS stakeholders are planning to hold an international climate and environmental arts festival in August in the Midlands capital of Gweru to tackle issues on climate change and environmental preservation.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the executive director of the Institute for Public Policy Analysis and Implementation (IPPAI), Okay Machisa said his organisation and its partners had realised that entertainment was a quicker way to spread critical information and awareness.
“Art is one of the easiest ways of communicating environmental issues. We want to promote the preservation of the environment through arts and issues to do with climate change through a festival.
“A collective approach in small communities’ environmental challenges that we may see prevailing will increase awareness of the environment,” Machisa said, adding that they were currently engaging various stakeholders to participate in the event.
“IPPAI, Reyna Trust and Savannah Trust have put together an initiative that is meant to be launched in Gweru, it is called Zimbabwe International Climate and Environmental Arts Festival (ZICEAF) so we have realised that climate change and environment preservation has become a national issue. So we are trying to bring all relevant stakeholders and look at these issues collectively.
“Midlands in Zimbabwe is the hub of mining activities, so we are planning to launch this programme in August this year. We are open to partnering with the government, private sector and fellow civil society organisations.
“It’s the first of its kind in the country; it is going to have an initiative done at international level but being hosted by Zimbabwe. We are going to have artists performing theatre, music, drama while highlighting climate change and also academic presentations for five days.
“The festival is also going to include symposiums on the sidelines which will provide a platform for academic professionals to discuss critical issues that need to be addressed as far as climate change is concerned,” said Machisa.
He said they were pushing to extend the annual show beyond Gweru.
“We also want to ensure that all the provinces do their festivals on a climate and environment arts festival. This year we are just doing a launch and starting next year we spread to different provinces. Starting next year, the annual event will be preceded by provincial arts festivals which will culminate into the national event that we will do every August if all goes well.
“We want to ensure that by the time that we launch we have all stakeholders in mining, environment and I hope the government will buy into our initiative we are putting together.”
This comes as the impacts of global climate change and variability are becoming more evident with increased incidences of droughts, floods, hailstorms, more hot days and heat waves.
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing global development with the developing countries being more vulnerable due to their low adaptive capacity.
The impacts of climate change in Zimbabwe are likely to stall the country’s development, pose a serious risk to food security and adaptive capacity.
In this regard, the government has come up with a national climate change response strategy that seeks to establish specific provisions for dealing with climate change issues, understanding the extent of the threat and putting in place specific actions to manage potential impacts.
The strategy further provides guidance on the integration of climate change issues into national development planning processes at national, provincial, district and local levels and ensures coordinated activities.
The country envisages developing adaptation strategies that can mitigate the diverse and complex impacts of climate change and improve community livelihoods.
by Melisa Chatikobo