Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association Executive Director’s New Year Message


16 January 2023

RE: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association Executive Director’s New Year Message

Dear Partners, Stakeholders and Donors

As we begin the new year, we are filled with hope that our best days of promoting our vision, and values are still ahead of us. In 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare a lot of our country’s deep-seated problems and I am happy that three years on, we have sustained hope by being part of the solution in addressing some of these challenges.

We look at the year 2023 with renewed hope as we continue with our efforts of Creating a legacy in using the law for environmental protection and sustainable natural resources governance. We are aware that the task is never as great, but I am happy that as ZELA, through your continued support, we have the courage and determination to rise to the challenge.

For more than 21 years, ZELA has worked alongside like-minded organizations in support of a more transparent extractive sector and expanded its knowledge of the political economy of the industry, widely seen as one at the greatest risk for corruption[i] globally. In December 2022, the Government of Zimbabwe banned the export of raw lithium highlighting that the country has been losing 1.7 billion from exporting it as a raw mineral. With continued high international demand, lithium will help the world to move towards cleaner technologies and help fight climate change. The organization remains committed to ensuring that the exploitation of this strategic mineral benefits from a proper regulatory framework that is in the best interest of the country and its citizenry. The year 2023 will see ZELA reframing its advocacy efforts and building on existing systems within Zimbabwe’s resource governance sector to increase accountability and address weak links. 

This is coupled with our mandate of advocating and raising awareness on business and human rights issues to ensure that the Government’s obligation to protect human rights, the corporation’s duty to respect human rights, and the communities’ right to benefit from the exploitation of natural resources are reflected in the laws, policies, and practice in Zimbabwe. 

In addition, ZELA will continue to participate in reform of public finance legislation through the Public Finance Management Bill whose purpose is to amend the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] to align it with the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Sound public finance management is key to Zimbabwe’s economic development. For the country to sustain its efforts of eradicating extreme poverty, reduce inequality and promote economic development, internal resources such as revenues from minerals can provide more reliable and sustainable resources to finance development. ZELA is concerned with the utilization of mineral resources because they are finite and, in many cases, represent a ‘once-off’ opportunity for communities and the country to recover from poverty and inequality. We will continue with our advocacy in calling for revenue from mineral taxation to be used for the fulfillment and realization of the economic, social, and cultural rights of citizens.

I must highlight that the costs of inaction on limiting environmental challenges far outweigh the costs of the action. In line with our Strategic Objective three, we will continue with our contribution to tackling climate change through equitable and sustainable use of energy, land, water, forests, and wildlife resources in Southern Africa. Climate change is the most pressing issue currently facing humanity. As we work together to redress the planetary crisis, we need to note that these challenges have presented changes that are undermining hard-won development gains by causing economic costs. They are impeding progress toward ending poverty and hunger, reducing inequalities, and promoting sustainable economic growth. Building on the success of yesteryear, we will continue empowering communities to act environmentally responsible, build their capacity in the fight against climate change and continue with our approach of continuously generating knowledge products that will help us gather empirical evidence to influence decisions, laws, and policies relating to the environment. 

If we are to realize all these aspirations or even more, we can only do it together. It is only through your support that we can respond to the planetary crisis, save the environment which has always been our hallmark and strive to make the world a better place for us and future generations. 

Dear Partners, Stakeholders, and Donors, you have my appreciation for all your incredible work in supporting our mission and for believing in the brand ZELA.

Please note, we are officially back from the holidays with effect from 16 January 2023. 

Yours Sincerely,


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ZELA Executive Director

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