Drought-stricken Zimbabwe to benefit from UNICEF, KOICA climate-resilient social initiative

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By Tinei Tuhwe

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched a three-year partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to support climate-resilient social services in Asia and Africa.

UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell said the countries selected are fragile and socially unstable, and the partnership will focus on improving child welfare services in Asia (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste) and Africa (Comoros and Zimbabwe).

Zimbabwe is currently facing an El Niño induced drought which has left 7.7 million food insecure.

El Nino is a natural climate phenomenon in which surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific become unusually warm, causing changes in global weather patterns. The event forecasted for 2023-2024 is associated with drier-than-average rainfall.

“For Zimbabwe, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones are projected to increase.

“The last three decades have seen increasing average temperatures as well as increased incidences of intense rainfall interspaced by long dry spells and the late-onset and early cessation of rains, all leading to greater frequency and severity of droughts and floods.

“Zimbabwe is currently experiencing an El Nino, the impacts of which will continue into 2024, exacerbating extreme weather and climate events such as heatwaves, droughts, and floods,” she said.

Russell highlighted that the partnership will focus on enhancing the ability of essential child welfare services to withstand challenges and promoting children as advocates for positive change.

“The initiative seeks to create social services that are both environmentally sustainable and sensitive to gender issues, ensuring that children are more effectively shielded from the impacts of climate change.”

KOICA Vice President Jungmee Sohn added that the climate grant will assist in specific areas in Asia and Africa that are particularly prone to natural disasters and are at high risk of being negatively impacted by climate change.

“KOICA’s climate grant will help UNICEF strengthen the climate resilience of essential service systems to protect children and communities, as the selected regions in Asia and Africa are among the most disaster-prone and vulnerable in the world.

“The Government of the Republic of Korea under its vision of a Global Pivotal State is committed to leading the world on a sustainable path, pro-actively tackling the climate and environmental crisis head-on.”