10 January 2024
Dear Partners and Stakeholders
RE: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association Executive Director’s New Year Message
As the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) begins operations in the new year –2024, we extend our warmest seasonal greetings and wish everyone a great year ahead.
I assure you that our commitment to using the law to protect the environment and support sustainable natural resource governance is unwavering. As a result, we intend to make significant progress as we promote our vision and values during this year, which also marks the end of our 2020-2024 Strategic Plan.
To accomplish this, we look back to 2023, a year in which we grew as an organization in terms of human resources and local, regional, and international impact to inform global initiatives toward greener economies. Over the past years beyond 2023, ZELA has had tremendous success in its work by collaborating with like-minded organizations and building on existing platforms in Zimbabwe to improve its advocacy efforts in the natural resource governance sector.
In 2023, we amplified our efforts to increase community participation in such global processes as the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28). We also produced groundbreaking research papers that included a consolidated analysis of the Mines and Minerals Bill titled: Analysis of the Mines and Mineral Bill HB10 2022 and an explanation of the implications of the Lithium mining rush in Zimbabwe, giving an analysis of associated legal developments as well as a Commentary on the Mediation and Consultation Mechanism for the Mining Industry and Mineral Value Chain. ZELA also delivered topical speeches at significant policy gatherings such as the Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting and the Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting which were both held in Zimbabwe. We also attended and made presentations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 2023 Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce 2023 International Forum on Sustainable Mineral Supply Chains (SMISC).
Going forward, we will continue to set the pace in our thematic areas of focus, which are: mining and extractive industries, climate change and energy governance, land and natural resources governance, responsible investments and business, and local service delivery and governance. In this regard, ZELA will continue to seek partnerships and collaborations with various development partners, such as the Government of Zimbabwe, Local Authorities, civil society organizations, Chapter 12 Commissions, service providers, donors and business to ensure that we continue to serve as environmental and natural resource governance torchbearers.
ZELA is concerned with a core group of rights that are reflective of natural resource governance, particularly Environmental, Economic, Social, and Cultural (EESC) rights. Thus, in 2024, we set out again to advocate and raise awareness on business and human rights issues to ensure that the Government’s obligation to protect human rights, corporations’ duty to respect human rights, and communities’ right to benefit from natural resource exploitation and access to remedy are reflected in Zimbabwe’s laws, policies, institutional frameworks, and practices.
All this work is not possible without your generous support, which has enabled us to engage with and in communities on natural resource governance in Zimbabwe and the Southern African region. With your support, we will continue to seek out improved ways to deliver our life-changing programmes with innovative strategies, such as harnessing technology and data to increase our efficiency and effectiveness.
I reiterate that the costs of inaction on addressing environmental challenges that includes climate change, pollution and environmental degradation are greater than the cost of action. In addition, climate change has presented challenges that have caused economic costs which impede progress towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), ending poverty and hunger as well as reducing inequalities. Thus, ZELA continues to spread its footprints in Southern Africa to ensure that the region contributes to tackling climate change through equitable and sustainable use of energy, land, water, forests, and wildlife resources.
The success of our work is only possible if we continue to work together towards this common cause. We, therefore, look forward to many more years of collaboration with you and our partners in the global development community.
Thank you for being a part of our mission and brand ZELA.
ZELA Executive Director,