The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has overall responsibility for the environment, water and climate related issues in the country.
At independence in 1980, the Government of Zimbabwe established the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, which was mandated with protecting Zimbabwe’s natural resources and promoting tourism in the country. In the early 90s, the Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. In 1997, the Ministry was reconstituted to include mining issues and became the Ministry of Mines, Environment and Tourism. In the year 2000, the Mines aspect was dropped and it reverted to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The year 2009 saw the establishment of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management whose mandate shifted to concentrate on environmental issues. The portfolio of natural resources and environment has been growing over the years both nationally and globally. The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to dealing with issues of the environment and natural resources. The main focus of the Ministry is to ensure sustainable use of the country’s natural resources for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
In the year 2014, the Ministry was merged with the Ministry of Water Resources Development and Planning. It is now known as the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate.
Zimbabwe is endowed with considerable natural resources that serve as a cornerstone for economic development and wealth creation. The environment cuts across most sectors of society and the economy, directly and indirectly affecting their functioning by providing a range of goods and services. The country’s GDP is derived from resource based sectors like agriculture, energy, mining, tourism, forestry and water. Economic activity from these sectors, however, has long term direct and indirect negative environmental impacts. Many of these problems are due to patterns of consumption of natural resources in which the rates of extraction exceed the regenerative capacity of the resources.
Under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET), the key principle to sustainable development is that people have the right to use environmental goods and services for their benefit, but also have the responsibility to look after the environment to ensure that the next generations are able to derive similar benefits. Key emphasis will be to ensure that natural resources are conserved and used sustainably to generate net benefits now, while safeguarding opportunities for the future generations to be able to sustain their development.
The Zimbabwe Government realizes that adoption of a strong environmental, economic and social sustainability framework will go a long way towards the re-branding of Zimbabwe in the international community. To this end, the Ministry has engaged its stakeholders in the development of this strategic plan to meet the demands of the citizens of Zimbabwe, now and into the future.