- Climate change context
The World Bank has declared that Zimbabwe is vulnerable to extreme climate events and natural hazards due to the country's location in the southern subtropics, where seasons are determined by rainfall. The country is vulnerable to climate change-related floods, drought, storms, and wildfires. In its 3rd National Communication (2016) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Zimbabwe states that the main sectors affected by climate change are agriculture, water, energy, forestry, tourism, and industry.
Climate change has been widely recognized and accepted as a reality and that it poses serious problems with far reaching social, political, economic and environmental consequences. Taking note that the impacts of climate change are likely to stall the country’s development endeavors and are being felt at the local level, mostly by poor communities due to their low adaptive capacities, the Government of Zimbabwe has come up with policies, institutional structures and processes to guide the nation to a climate-resilient and a sustainable low carbon future (National Communication, 2016).
According to the Global Carbon Atlas, Zimbabwe is a low-carbon emitting country. The 2019 data shows that Zimbabwe, which has a population of about 14 million people, emits 0.7tCO2 per person. However, the 3rd National Communication (2016) to the UNFCCC reports that Zimbabwe has seen increased greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation due to rising demand for animal products and a growing agricultural sector.
- Relevant government agencies
The main government agency responsible for climate change activities in Zimbabwe is the Climate Change Management Department under the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. The Department is responsible for coordinating and managing environmental issues in the country, including climate change. The Department is made up of the following offices: Mitigation, Compliance, Projects, Adaptation, Research, Clean Development and Market Mechanism, and Publicity and Communications. The Publicity and Communications office within the Department is the country’s UNFCCC National Focal Point for Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE).
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement is responsible for prioritizing efforts to reverse the negative effects of climate change and other hazards on agriculture. It promotes climate-smart agriculture practices aimed at ensuring food security and environmental sustainability.
The Environmental Management Agency, which was established under the 2002 Environmental Management Act is “responsible for ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment, the prevention of pollution and environmental degradation, the preparation of Environmental Plans for the management and protection of the environment” (n.p.). The Agency is also an active participant in Zimbabwe’s climate change adaptation strategy through a national climate change adaptation project. The Environmental Management Agency was recently accredited to be a National Implementing Entity to the Adaptation Fund.
The Ministry of Energy and Power Development further supports climate change work in Zimbabwe.
Education and communication
The Climate Change Management Department works closely with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Educationand the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. Together, the three government agencies help coordinate all climate change education and learning actions in the country. They also develop climate change-related policies and strategies, coordinate climate change research, promote climate change education, and carry out climate change public awareness and training.
- Relevant laws, policies, and plans
Zimbabwe has comprehensive environmental legislation with around 20 Acts and 40 Statutory Laws. This legislation includes the 2021 National Development Strategy 1, the 2017 National Climate Policy, the 2014 National Climate Change Response Strategy, the 2005 Environmental Management Act, the 1976 Water Act (amended in 1996), the 1949 Forest Act (amended in 1999), and the 1941 Natural Resources Act (amended in 1996). Currently the government is working on the formulation of climate change legislation that will establish a firm well-defined institutional structure, establish a National Climate Change Funding Mechanism, and ensure climate change is mainstreamed in planning and budgetary processes at national and sub-national levels.
The 2017 National Climate Policy is the country's overarching climate change policy. The policy’s objective is to guide climate change management in the country, enhance national adaptive capacity towards climate resilience, scale up mitigation actions, facilitate the domestication of global policies, and ensure compliance with global mechanisms. Climate change communication and education are key elements of the National Climate Policy, which includes an aim to mainstream climate change into the curriculum. The National Climate Policy establishes the legal structures of climate change management in Zimbabwe. It has ten goals and aims to “achieve its vision through research, education and awareness, implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions, resource mobilisation, enhanced collaboration and strengthened governance” (2017, p. iv).
The 2017 National Climate Policy works in conjunction with the 2014 National Climate Change Response Strategy. The Strategy aims to mainstream climate change adaptation and mitigation through a multisectoral approach that tracks implementation in each government sector. The Strategy is an example of environmental legislation that includes specific stipulations concerning environmental protection, monitoring, and sustainable management. The Strategy aims to “guide climate change management in the country, enhance the national adaptation capacity, scale up mitigation actions, facilitate domestication of global policies and ensure compliance to the global mechanisms” (p. i). The National Climate Change Response Strategy (2014) also requires that national climate change laws, policies, and plans be reviewed and updated every five years to ensure they are responsive to the country’s current environmental situation.
In 2019, Zimbabwe launched its National Adaptation Plan, which outlines a roadmap for the country’s approach to tackling the adverse effects of climate change. The National Adaptation Plan (2019) identifies critical climate change adaptation activities, timelines, implementation milestones, and actors responsible for their delivery. The Plan comprehensively addresses the country's climate change adaptation needs and provides policy guidelines for government departments and partners. The Plan will strengthen the country’s adaptation readiness and create an enabling environment for concrete adaptation investment projects. Climate change adaptation will be integrated into relevant new and existing policies, programs, and activities, especially development planning processes and strategies within all relevant sectors at a variety of levels. Zimbabwe mobilized resources from the Green Climate Fund to develop the National Adaptation Plan. As a part of the Plan’s development, a Communication Strategy was also created to assist in communicating climate change adaptation messages to different stakeholders of interest. No more information is currently available.
Zimbabwe’s Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy 2020-2050 is a key document in the country’s efforts to reduce emissions and mitigate the climate crisis. The Strategy includes references to education and research, in particular research on carbon reduction in the agricultural sector and education for the built industry. The Strategy sets the course for reducing emissions, while at the same time ensuring sustainable economic development for the country. It is based on the government's economic planning up to 2050 and covers mitigation measures in all Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sectors, namely, energy, industrial processes and product use, agriculture, forestry and other land use, and waste.
Education and communication
Zimbabwe's education policies encourage the incorporation of environmental education and disaster risk management into the country's primary and secondary education, with disaster risk management being particularly relevant to climate change issues. The 2015 National Curriculum Framework provides policy direction on the inclusion of environmental themes in formal education. As a result, environmental education has been mainstreamed in Zimbabwe's national school curricula across grades and subjects. The Framework uses the country's 1999 Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training (CIET) Report, the amended 2006 Education Act, and the 2013 Zimbabwe Agenda Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation to highlight the role of education in advancing climate change education in the country.
The Zimbabwe National Curriculum Framework (2015) describes the educational environment in which syllabi (or discipline-specific outlines of objectives, outcomes, content, and appropriate assessment and teaching methodologies) can be developed. It promotes a competency-based approach which is realized through practical-oriented learning. It is envisaged that the curriculum shifts from a content-based (examination bound) to a competency-based (outcomes oriented) curriculum which focuses on the learners’ capacity to apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes in an independent, practical, and responsible way.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education developed the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2016-2020. One of the Plan’s key messages is to mainstream climate change and disaster risk reduction into formal education curricula.
The Education Sector Strategic Plan is aligned with the 2017 National Climate Policy, which aims to “develop curricula that mainstream climate change knowledge in the context of specific learning content or disciplines for primary, secondary and tertiary level education and scale up child's right to education to learn and protect the environment” (2017, p. 13).
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2020-2030 is another example of a policy document that addresses climate change in formal and non-formal education. Developed under the UN CC:Learn Programme's Southern Africa Initiative, the Strategy outlines implementation of climate change communication and education in both schools and non-formal educational settings. The Strategy also recommends that climate change-related topics be included in learning materials at all levels of formal and non-formal education in the country. The strategy’s vision is to create a “climate change literate, responsive and resilient nation by the year 2030” (p. iv). The Strategy’s implementation is coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry’s Climate Change Management Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
To complement the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2020), the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has also published an Assessment of Learning Needs and Capacity to Deliver for the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2020).
- Terminology used for climate change communication and education
In referring to climate change communication and education, Zimbabwe uses terminology related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) documentation. For example, most climate change policies in Zimbabwe refer to climate change communication and education in relation to ‘education,’ ‘training,’ ‘public awareness,’ and ‘public participation.’
This borrowing of ACE terminology is also evident in Zimbabwe's reporting to the United Nations. For example, the country's 2015 Nationally Determined Contributions state that Zimbabwe is committed to "promoting capacity building through research and development, education and awareness, and training in climate change-related issues" (p. 6). According to the country's 3rd National Communication (2016), Zimbabwe has taken both policy and practical actions to mainstream climate change issues into the country's education and communication systems.
Zimbabwe’s National Climate Change Response Strategy states that ‘climate change education and training’ “a) Enhance[s] the teaching and learning of climate change at all levels of education (formal and informal) [and] b) Provide[s] relevant training on climate change issues to educators and practitioners working with communities” (2014, p. ix).
ACE terminology is also reflected in the country's 2017 National Climate Policy   . The intention of the Policy is to strengthen climate change action through "research, education and awareness, implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions, resource mobilisation, enhanced collaborations and strengthened governance" (p. 3). The 2017 National Climate Policy has a section on ACE terminology and outlines how the country aims to address climate change education and communication. For instance, it emphasizes “one response, which is knowledge and evidence based, and that incorporates indigenous knowledge systems (IKS), culture and science.” (p. 13).
Within education-specific policy documents, Zimbabwe has tended to use environmental and natural disaster-related terminology to refer to climate change-related topics. For example, the 2015 National Curriculum Framework uses ‘environmental education’ and ‘disaster risk management’ as terminology for climate change-related material in Zimbabwe's formal education learning areas, such as Social Studies, Agriculture, Geography, and Science at elementary, primary, and secondary levels.
- Budget for climate change communication and education
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Zimbabwe has one of the world's highest investments in education. Zimbabwe has reported to the OECD that around 6% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) goes to the education sector, which is higher than other countries within the Southern Africa region. However, the OECD does not specify the country's direct budgetary allocation to climate change communication and education.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development oversees Zimbabwe’s budgets and development strategy. Currently, the Ministry has financed climate change communication and education in the overall education budget, with other budget lines for environmental action and communication in both formal and non-formal contexts. According to the 2020 National Climate Change Learning Strategy, the cost of implementation in education will be US$2 million, which will come mainly from the government, with additional support from local and international partners.
Zimbabwe has established several funding opportunities for climate change-related communication and education. In 2019, Zimbabwe established an environmental fund within its Environmental Management Agency to support climate change activities, including environmental awareness programs. The funding for this initiative comes from national government budget allocations and environmental levies. Provision of funding for climate change adaptation activities, including climate change education, is also provided via the Green Climate Fund, an international funding structure established under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Zimbabwe also receives funding from different sources to enhance its climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. For example in 2017, the country received US$1.5 million from the World Bank as part of the Zimbabwe Climate Change Technical Assistance Program in order to enhance knowledge on how climate change is affecting agriculture.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
Zimbabwe's 2015 Curriculum Framework for Primary and Secondary Education 2015-2022 encourages mainstreaming climate change and disaster risk management issues into schools through environmental education. However, environmental education is not taught as a separate subject in Zimbabwe's education system. Instead, topics related to the environment and climate change are included in the Framework for a number of subjects, including Geography, Agriculture, and Science and Technology. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
The Framework (2015) integrates climate change education through the following goals:
- To develop an appreciation of cross-cutting issues such as HIV and AIDS, sustainable resource utilization, climate change, disaster risk management. (Grade 3 to 7; p. 22)
- To demonstrate an understanding of cross-cutting issues such as sustainable resource utilization, climate change and disaster risk management. (Grade 1 to 6; p. 23)
The environmental education goals in Zimbabwe’s National Curriculum Framework are outlined in the 2020 National Climate Change Learning Strategy. The Strategy indicates Zimbabwe has revised its curriculum (from early childhood to secondary education) to include topics on weather, the environment, and climate within a variety of subjects. This curriculum reform marks a significant shift in climate change education implementation because, as the Strategy states, primary and secondary schools have not yet adequately addressed climate change in Zimbabwe. Previously, climate change was only a small component within a few select primary and secondary courses, such as Social Studies, Environmental Studies, Geography, Agriculture (at the primary level), and Civics Education (at the secondary level). To implement this curricular reform, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industrypartnered with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to strengthen and develop climate change education curricula from early childhood education to secondary education.
In 2013, the Ministry of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education and Vocational Training crafted a behavior change-oriented pedagogical approach for early childhood education and pre-school learning in Zimbabwe, which is facilitated by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education's Curriculum Development Unit. Further information on the initiative’s progress was not available at the time of data collection.
In its 3rd National Communication (2016), Zimbabwe identified K-12 education as key for promoting climate change knowledge. According to the National Communication, the Zimbabwean school curriculum provides climate change learning via: 1) the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s formal climate change curriculum; 2) co-curricular activities, such as sports, clubs, cultural activities, and education tours; and 3) extra-curricular lessons, which inform student behaviors and attitudes. Notably, the National Communication (2016) notes that significant obstacles to furthering Zimbabwe's climate change education efforts include a lack of funding to implement in-country climate change education and limited dialogue on climate change initiatives.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
Zimbabwe’s 2014 National Climate Change Response Strategy emphasizes that teacher training colleges should cover climate change issues as part of their training materials so that graduates will effectively teach climate change-related topics in primary and secondary schools. The Strategy indicates the Zimbabwean government's intention to develop a specific climate change education program for teachers, including the possibility of a training certificate. Furthermore, the Strategy indicates the country is seeking to enhance climate change-related teaching and learning at all levels of education, including in relation to educator and practitioner training. The Strategy also indicates there is a need to expand capacity-building programs for teacher training to include the technical requirements for managing climate change mitigation and adaptation issues within career and technical education. However, evidence that the teacher training initiatives mentioned in the Strategy back in 2014 are being implemented seldom exists.
More recently, Zimbabwe has started piloting the integration of UN CC:Learn courses into teacher training and mainstreaming climate change into teacher education. Further, the 2020 National Climate Change Learning Strategyaims to develop resources for teachers and lectures focusing on climate change.
Non-governmental and regional organizations also play an important role in supporting educators to teach about environmental and climate change issues in Zimbabwe. The Pan African Conservation Education project “supports conservation and sustainability education, providing ideas, information and training for teachers and learners across Africa. (n.p.)” They provide educational packs to teachers, including a pack looking at Global Climate Change issues. The Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa is “a voluntary membership based multi-sectoral and multi-organisational association of educators, researchers, policy makers, students and practitioners” (n.p.) that disseminates environmental education information and resources, and provides opportunities for practitioners to come together to build best-practice.
As indicated in the 3rd National Communication (2016), Zimbabwe intends to strengthen teachers' in-service training on climate change and incorporate issues of climate change in pre-service teacher training curricula. The National Communication acknowledges that the limited tertiary climate change curricula for pre-service teachers negatively affects primary and secondary students’ learning related to climate change.
iii. Climate change in higher education
The tertiary education sector in Zimbabwe is made up of teacher training colleges, agricultural training colleges, polytechnic colleges, and universities.
According to the country's Assessment of Learning Needs and Capacity to Deliver for the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2020), the country lacks policy direction on ways to integrate climate change in the tertiary education curricula. The Assessment recommends that the actions taken to mainstream content related to climate change within primary and secondary curricula should also occur at the tertiary level of education.
In the National Communication (2016), the government of Zimbabwe proposes the establishment of a center of excellence on climate change at a government-selected university, such as the University of Zimbabwe, to enhance climate change education and research in tertiary education. The establishment of this center would represent a significant step towards furthering climate change research and communication in Zimbabwe. However, the proposed center of excellence is not listed on the University of Zimbabwe's website or on the websites of other public institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe. Currently, the University of Zimbabwe does have a Centre for Applied Social Sciences, with a research focus on climate change and variability.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
Zimbabwe's 2020 National Climate Change Learning Strategy highlights the importance of climate change communication and education for people of all ages. The learning strategy recognizes that adult learning is essential for building climate change knowledge among its citizens.
Initiatives to support climate change training and learning among adults have taken traditional, as well as more creative forms. According to Zimbabwe's 3rd National Communication (2016), many stakeholders such as community leaders, women, and youth have participated in and benefited workshops on climate change-related topics carried out by the national government. The National Communication (2016) also reports that the Zimbabwean Environmental Management Agency has led adult informal education initiatives through developing climate change learning materials, such as t-shirts, songs, posters, videos, drama, poetry, and the use of radio and television. Zimbabwe is also engaging in climate change-related training among vulnerable populations of youth and adults. Since out-of-school youth constitute a significant proportion (around 20%) of the country’s population, the National Communication proposes conducting an analysis to understand climate change awareness among these youth. No information was available on whether this consultation has occurred at the time of this review.
According to the 2019 National Adaptation Plan Roadmap, Zimbabwe intends to train other vulnerable groups such as children, women, and disabled individuals on climate change adaptation initiatives. The Plan also communicates the country’s goal to involve stakeholders in the National Adaptation Planning process and climate change adaptation at large. For example, the Plan indicates the country will integrate climate change adaptation activities into national and sub-national economic and social sectors. The Plan identifies that many sectoral and cross-sectoral policies do not explicitly consider climate change. To mitigate this trend, one focus of the Plan is to integrate climate change policy within government ministries responsible for managing communication, research, and education institutions.
Zimbabwe's long and short-term climate change adaptation, vision, goals, and targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions (2015) emphasize the importance of promoting capacity building through training, education, awareness, and research and development. According to the 3rd National Communication (2016), the country has trained stakeholders such as local community leaders and local non-governmental organizations in climate change.
i. Climate change and public awareness
Public awareness is mentioned in several of Zimbabwe's national climate change policies, plans, and strategies, including the 2020 National Climate Change Learning Strategy and the 2014 National Climate Change Response Strategy. The Climate Change Response Strategy, for example, emphasizes strategies for public awareness, behavior change, and effective climate change communication. To increase public awareness of climate change, the government, through the Climate Change Response Strategy, aimed to:
a) Implement a communication strategy for raising awareness on climate change.
b) Promote and strengthen stakeholder awareness on adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.
c) Encourage sharing of information and networking on climate change issues at local, regional and international levels.
d) Communicate climate change messages incorporating indigenous knowledge systems. (2014, p. 61)
Further, Zimbabwe has participated in a number of regional activities involving partner countries Malawi and Zambia, such as radio and TV programs and training of journalists on climate change reporting.
In line with the National Climate Change Response Strategy (2014), the country's 3rd National Communication (2016) emphasizes the use of participatory pedagogical methods, as well as the use of printed media, educational information sessions, and social gatherings to increase climate change awareness. The government of Zimbabwe has also used workshops to train local community Natural Resources Officers, local non-governmental organizations, local community leaders, and community popular opinion leaders to assist in public awareness activities.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
Through public awareness initiatives, information on climate change has become widely available to the public through various media outlets in Zimbabwe. For example, the Climate Change Management Department has a website dedicated to informing the public about climate change activities. Information materials in different vernacular languages are developed and distributed to all provinces in the country. The Department also took advantage of public awareness events such as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and the Agricultural Show to disseminate climate change information.
Other sources of information include ministry websites responsible for climate change communication, such as http://envirotourism.org.zw/ (which contains information on tourism and significant actions the government and its partners are taking to protect the environment and combat climate change) and http://www.climatechange.org.zw/(which includes specific information on climate change and actions the government has taken towards climate change adaptation and mitigation).
iii. Climate change and public participation
The 2020 National Climate Change Learning Strategy highlights the need to promote public engagement and involvement in relation to climate change. The 2009 National Environmental Policy and Strategies also have several provisions related to public participation on climate change in Zimbabwe. One of the goals within the National Environmental Policy and Strategies (2009) document to promote public participation and a sense of responsibility for the environment through environmental education and awareness.
The country's 3rd National Communication (2016) reports high public participation in climate change awareness compared to the country's 1st National Communication (1998) and 2nd National Communication (2012). The public participation numbers reported in the 3rd National Communication were in relation to the number of people attending public awareness meetings and activities.
i. Country monitoring
The majority of climate change communication and education monitoring and reporting occurs through Zimbabwe’s National Communications and Nationally Determined Contributions submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. However, this reporting includes minimal focus on climate change communication and education, and a systematic process is not in place for ensuring that initiatives are implemented. For example, the 2019 National Adaptation Plan roadmap stresses that "there is [a] need for [the] development of a communication strategy for relaying climate change information to all concerned stakeholders as well as an effective feedback mechanism" (p. 4). Since the inception of the National Adaptation Plan, however, evidence to confirm the development of a climate change communication strategy is scarce. Yet this is changing through initiatives from 2020.
The Zimbabwe’s Assessment of Learning Needs and Capacity to Deliver for the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2020) represent a nationally-led effort to support the country's monitoring of climate change communication and education among learners at all levels of school. Moreover, the country has just finalized the development of a Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification system to help in meeting the country’s emissions reduction target (National Climate Change Learning Strategy, 2020).
More commonly, climate change communication and education monitoring is supported through higher education institutions and international organizations, such as UN CC: Learn, which undertake climate change communication and education tracking in Zimbabwe and the surrounding region for the general population.
The Climate Change Management Department submits regular reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as the country’s National Communications. According to the National Climate Change Learning Strategy, those documents are used as reporting and monitoring mechanisms.
Within formal education, climate change-related learning is monitored at the end of school level, through school-leaving assessments that audit student learning related to climate change by subject, for example, in Geography and Science. There are plans to develop content related to climate change learning monitoring with an estimated budget of US$120,000 (National Climate Change Learning Strategy, 2020).
While the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency collects data on agricultural activities (e.g., livestock herd, farm, and holding sizes) and environment measures (e.g., quality and availability of natural assets, temperature, clean water access), this review was unable to find evidence that the agency collects data related to climate change.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education(MECCE) Project examined Zimbabwe’s Education Sector Strategic Plan(2016-2020) and the National Curriculum Framework (2015; NCF) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘sustainability,’ ‘biodiversity,’ and the ‘environment.’
The documents mention ‘climate change’ considerably less than the ‘environment,’ and less than ‘sustainability.’ In the National Curriculum Framework (2015), ‘climate change’ referenced 6 times whereas the general ‘environment’ is referenced 41 times, ‘sustainability’ referenced 22 times, and ‘biodiversity’ is not mentioned. In the Education Sector Strategic Plan (2016-2020), ‘climate change’ is referenced 2 times, the general ‘environment’ is mentioned 19 times, ‘sustainability’ once, and ‘biodiversity’zero times. The figure below shows the total references of the themes in both the National Curriculum Framework and the Education Sector Strategic Plan.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.
This profile was reviewed by Tatenda Mutasa, Climate Change Scientist- ACE National Focal Point