01 March 2022
By Eunice Nyangani (MDT), ZELA Youth Network
the 1st of March 2022, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)
with support from Norwegian Church Aid organized a training on Environmental
Human Rights Defenders (EHRDs). The Capacity building saw EHRDs being trained about
climate change issues and use of the law for protection.
of the ZELA youth network from Manicaland, Paralegals from Mutoko, Shurugwi and
Manicaland attended the meeting.
Our first facilitator was ZELA’s Programmes Manager,
Nyaradzo Mutonhori. She started by allowing the paralegals to share their
stories of experience and why they want to be part of the training. There were
many reasons provided by the EHRDs, but the main point was for them to advocate
on issues of environmental impacts and take the litigation measures were
possible. She gave us the definition of Environmental Human Rights Defenders (EHRDs),
the importance of EHRDs and how they can protect the environment in the face of
climate change. She also talked about the United Nations (UN) organ which
represents the EHRDs rights. She also referenced John Knox, the first United
Nations special rapporteur on human rights and environmental issues, including
the UN declaration of EHRDs and the defenders can conduct their work
effectively and efficiently.
shared with her the threats faced by EHRDs and the causes of violence which are
as follows; Competition over natural resources, Power Inequality, no rule of
law, corruption to mention a few. Lastly, she also mentioned about how the
State protects EHRDs, including allowing citizens to have access to
environmental information, active evolvement in public participation. In
addition, letting the communities access remedy and approach the courts when
their rights have been violated. She concluded by stating reasons why we have
National, Regional, and international policies.
Legal Officer, Manele Mpofu was our second presenter, firstly he introduced the
Climate change policies and plans in Zimbabwe, causes of climate change eg deforestation,
emissions of gases. The effects of it such global warming, heat waves, natural
disasters etcs. We can address these
issues by adapting to climate change and mitigation measures. Lastly, he talked
about National action plan and the Gender action plan. The key objective is to
facilitate integration. The UNFCCC is part of the Paris agreement which aims to
limit global warming. National Determined Contribution is when each country
submits its five-year plan. Zimbabwe in 2015 committed to reduce emissions by
30% also in 2020 it committed to reduce emissions by 40%.
concluded by allowing participants to share their situational reports focusing on
their respective areas by answering five questions. The first being, what is happening
in our areas, what are the stakeholders we engaged, what are the threats that
we are facing, what are the risks in the future and our interactions with
mining companies. We also attached the evidence in form of pictures and audios.
be fully capacitated with the knowledge about and roles of EHRDs and the
- The need to be supported with resources for us
to conduct our work effectively eg, gadgets for documentation and gathering
conclusion, I appreciate this educative training and I believe that it will
help other members of the community including embracing mitigation measure to reduce
the risks and impacts of climate change.
Many thanks to ZELA and partners.