According to a government report titled “Strengthening the National Capacity for Climate Change,” Zimbabwe is severely lacking funds needed to address the effects of climate change on the country. Thus far, the country has been unable to even begin developing plans for dealing with climate change.
The most important source of climate change funding assistance to developing countries is the Adaptation Fund, set up under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). But Zimbabwe lacks the funding to develop the accredited institution, known as a National Implementing Entity, needed to receive direct funding from the Adaptation Fund of Zimbabwe. The government has also been unable to construct a national strategy for climate change, review scientific work, or raise national awareness.
Zimbabwe is not alone in its difficulties with facilitating climate change adaptation. The poorest countries are often the most affected by warming temperatures, erratic weather, and natural disasters. An overall decrease in global aid, or Official Development Assistance, in the last two years as a result of the global economic crisis has not helped the situation. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee, climate change-focused funding has decreased by 40 percent.
Climate justice advocates encourage governments and NGOs to become more actively involved in fundraising for climate change adaptation. But according to Shepherd Zvigadza, director of the Climate Change Working Group, most NGOs are already attempting to fundraise. However, most of the money received is designated for pilot projects that have no long-term or substantial effects. Of Zimbabwe, he says, “Zimbabwe has been under sanctions, and so many donors have been shying away from supporting us, both as government and NGOs… besides sanctions, the country has not been able to tap into the global funding windows because emphasis is on supporting least developed countries, and Zimbabwe is not classified as one.”
The classification is questionable, as development and humanitarian aid to the country has seen significant reductions in recent years due to international condemnation of the government of Robert Mugabe. A 2009 report by Save the Children found that 10 million of the 13 million people in Zimbabwe live in extreme poverty.
Like many of the least developed countries (LDCs), Zimbabwe has already begun to feel the effects of climate change. As the water table has dropped, agricultural productivity and water supply have suffered. Waterborne illnesses have become more prevalent: in 2008, the worst cholera outbreak in recent history infected 100,000 people and claimed at least 4,000 lives. A decade of political and economic devastation has undermined the country’s ability to address poverty, deal with crises, or plan for climate change adaptation.