The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed had a face-off with the reality of climate change and its effect on natural habitat after visiting the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

The Park is the oldest and largest park, almost half the size of Belgium at 14,651 Square kilometres.

Mr Hillary Madhini, guide of the Park, told the visitors that with over 400 birds and 150 mammal species, 45,000 of them being elephants, the national wonder is suffering as weather patterns were no longer dependable, resulting in less rainfall.

“Of the problems we have, climate change is our biggest challenge,” said Mr. Madhiri said, adding, they had sunk over a 100 boreholes to save the animals from dying due to lack of water in the dry season. More long term initiatives were needed to cope with the drought trends.

The issues facing the parks were many and wide-ranging. They include human and wildlife conflicts, anti-poaching efforts, lack of water and loss of habitat, limited resources, droughts and population management.

There were however, efforts to build partnerships with the communities in the area to preserve the park.

Climate change has been at the forefront of the news agenda for a while now as global temperatures continue to rise and the world seeks solutions to stem the tide.

Ms. Mohammed commended the park’s efforts to buffer nature against climate change.

“We have seen what climate change is doing to our environment and livelihoods. We saw how the park is hounded by climate change; the way in which Hwange is hot, the water, and even animal migration and people. It’s quite complex,” she said.

Ms. Mohammed is in Zimbabwe to attend the sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development(ARFSD), which runs from 24-27 February in Victoria Falls on the theme: 2020-2030: A Decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

“….And what a better place than Zimbabwe to show the kind of leadership that we would like to see in transforming Africa through the Agendas 2063 and 2030,” the UN Deputy Chief said.

She noted that the ARFSD participants will discuss the elements needed to accelerate actions on the ground for nations to achieve the goals of the two agendas, in particular, creating inclusive economies.

Ms Mohammed was accompanied by Senior Zimbabwe government officials and UN agency representatives, including Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa.

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