Zimbabwe aims to be a global leader in carbon market with ambitious Article 6 readiness programme

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By Tinei Tuhwe

THE ENVIRONMENT, Climate, and Wildlife Ministry has announced an ambitious programme to establish Zimbabwe as one of the first countries to achieve full Article 6 Readiness under the Paris Agreement.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement sets out how countries can pursue voluntary cooperation to reach their climate targets, enabling international cooperation to tackle climate change and unlock financial support for developing countries.
Under Article 6, countries are able to transfer carbon credits earned from the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to help one or more countries meet their climate targets.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement also establishes a framework for the cooperation among countries to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Zimbabwe hopes to attain full Article 6 readiness in the first half of 2025.

The Ministry has the mandate to promote and regulate carbon trading in Zimbabwe and facilitate trade in carbon credits to contribute to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development.

“This will not only provide Zimbabwe with additional resources but will also consolidate the country’s position as a global leader in the fight against climate change.

“A critical component of the Paris Agreement, Article 6 seeks to raise global climate ambition while contributing to sustainable development by encouraging international cooperation through market-based mechanisms,” Environment Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said.

Article 6 requires host countries to put in place the necessary institutional, technical, and legal arrangements to ensure the integrity of emissions reductions and accountability for all mitigation outcomes generated within their jurisdiction.

In line with all UNFCCC requirements and international standards of best practice, the Government of Zimbabwe has embarked on the process of developing the Article 6 Implementation Framework to ensure transparency and accountability in carbon trading on the compliance market.

This will include a full readiness and needs assessment, The development of an Article 6 Action Plan, The development of Zimbabwe’s Article 6 Policy and Carbon Market Strategy, a state-of-the-art carbon registry, a detailed operational manual including measurement, reporting, and verification guidelines and a cutting-edge online portal provide project developers, the public, and investors with comprehensive access to all necessary forms and procedures.

“Recognising the enormous interest by existing project proponents and the international community in the opportunities offered by Zimbabwe, I would like to inform you that this builds on existing policy, including the Carbon Credit Framework and Statutory Instrument 150 of 2023 and its amendments. Furthermore, this will align with forthcoming legislation, including the Climate Change Management Bill, to be enacted before the end of the year,” Minister Nyoni said.

This programme seeks to assist project proponents with existing voluntary market projects in their transition to the compliance market while ensuring that all emissions reductions generated in Zimbabwe are of the highest environmental integrity, value, and marketability.

Zimbabwe remains open for business, and the Ministry seeks to provide reassurance that all projects, both new and existing, will benefit from an improved regulatory environment.

In addition, this will ensure that all projects make genuine, meaningful, and measurable contributions to sustainable development in line with Vision 2030, which seeks to transform Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

“For new investors, this will offer a set of clear, easy-to-use guidelines, approval processes, and implementation modalities to guarantee the security and reliability of their investment.

“The government calls upon all project proponents, developers, investors, and members of the public to be patient during this transitional period. The process will be transparent and participatory, with the Ministry welcoming all stakeholder inputs,” she said.

Minister Nyoni said the government looks forward to finalising the Article 6 policy and carbon market strategy by December 2024, in time for integration with the Climate Change Management Bill.

This year, UAE’s Blue Carbon and the Republic of Zimbabwe, represented by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industries, joined forces in a historic agreement to pioneer forest emission reduction projects under the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 ITMO framework, within an impressive 7.5 million hectares.

A momentous ceremony, held in Harare, marked the signing of the agreement between former Environment Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industries, and Josiane Sadaka, Blue Carbon’s CEO.

The event was witnessed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of the ruling family of Dubai and Chairman of Blue Carbon as well as senior officials from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

This visionary partnership aimed at spearheading emission reduction and removal projects in the AFOLU sector in Zimbabwe and generating carbon credits in the form of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs), under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. This venture stands to not only unlock economic opportunities for Zimbabwe through carbon credit revenues but also usher in a multitude of socio-economic benefits derived from the project investments.

As Zimbabwean forests grapple with mounting threats of deforestation and degradation, these projects are particularly important in fortifying forest conservation efforts and propelling vital climate mitigation actions.

It is worth noting that the designated areas will undergo a meticulous scoping process, to select optimal project sites and determine suitable REDD+ activities.

The agreement also commits to a comprehensive community engagement approach and inclusive community consultations that ensure the delivery of economic and social growth opportunities as well as the promotion of sustainable development.

As the world eagerly anticipates COP28, this historic partnership marks a significant milestone in the critical operationalization of the Paris Agreement’s Article 6, highlighting the crucial role of the private sector in ramping up ambitions and facilitating the achievement of Net-Zero and climate goals.

Blue Carbon is a fully owned subsidiary of Global Carbon Investments, established by Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum. Leveraging the UAE’s visionary developmental and entrepreneurial spirit, Blue Carbon specializes in establishing processes and templates that facilitate social development journeys for both the private sector and nations seeking to enhance their environmental assets. Blue Carbon offers instrumental expertise through end-to-end development and facilitation services for nature-based carbon projects.