Carbon Credits conference kicks off in Victoria Falls
Leonard Ncube, [email protected]
THE inaugural Africa Voluntary Carbon Credits Market Forum that started in Victoria Falls this morning is an opportunity for the country to showcase its climate-proofed economic activities and also learn from others, as it exposes Africa to the new carbon economy.
About 400 delegates including former Heads of State, and various stakeholders are expected to the event whose theme is “Accelerating Africa into the Climate Economy”.
The conference was organised by Africa Voluntary Carbon Credits Market (AVCCM), working with the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Finance and Economic Development.
It is a private sector-led pragmatic and responsive multi-sectoral and inclusive forum that seeks to facilitate a holistic and inclusive people-centric approach to the climate economy leading to the achievement of Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1, (NDS1) goals, Zimbabwe Vision 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and set the Africa Agenda 2063.
The event seeks to bring together African countries to deliberate on how to monetise Voluntary Carbon Credits for the betterment of marginalised communities that bear the adverse impact of climate change.
Objectives are to create a Pan African-focused Register of Carbon Credits to be traded on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), promote a voluntary carbon market in Victoria Falls International Financial Services Centre, to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and opportunities related to carbon credits among different stakeholders within the Victoria Falls International Financial Service Centre, which was declared a Special Economic Zone by the Government of Zimbabwe and to create awareness among citizens of Africa about the importance and the benefits of mitigating climate change by reducing their carbon footprint.
With about 30 percent of land in Zimbabwe set aside for wildlife and environment conservation, and the country championing climate-proofed zero tillage Intwasa farming concept, there is a lot to showcase by the Second Republic.
Stakeholders are also expected to come to a common understanding leading to the forging of strategic collaborations and partnerships that will enhance environmental management and conservation strategies while stimulating the emergence of robust sector from the trade.
There will be signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between key stakeholders to establish the Pan-African Voluntary Carbon Credit Register and the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange Carbon Market.
The global market for carbon offsets is worth roughly US$2 billion and is projected to grow to as much as US$1 trillion in 15 years, according to some estimates.
Government recently came up with a carbon credit framework that will see it collecting 50 percent of revenue from the sale of climate mitigation securities and incomes from the carbon credit will be deposited into the National Climate Fund and channeled towards funding of climate-friendly projects.
Various local and foreign stakeholders will be attending the auspicious event to be graced by Heads of State and other ranking dignitaries.
VCCM chairperson Mr Kwanele Hlabangana said Africa needs to collectively address climate change.
“We are hosting this conference in Victoria Falls starting Wednesday 5 July to Friday 7 July. This is an Africa-wide platform where we are bringing various stakeholders from the continent who are in the voluntary carbon market and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We seek to exchange ideas and collaborate on innovation to address the challenge of climate change and achieve low carbon growth. What we seek to do is expose Africa to this new economy,” said Mr Hlabangana.
“His Excellency President Mnangagwa is also expected to grace the event as the guest of honour on Friday.”
Traditional leaders will also be attending as custodians of the land where forests are.
International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) vice president Mr Jimmiel Mandima said there is so much excitement for environment conservation.
He said there is hope this is the avenue to build sustainability over time in communities that have sacrificed forests and keep wildlife.
“As Ifaw we are excited about the conference that will talk about carbon credit and carbon offsetting to explore how we can utilise the benefits that accrue from our investments to conserve wildlife in forests and earn us money that can be ploughed back to communities.
“The reality is that carbon markets have evolved and we are at a point when the voluntary market has improved the process of verifying the quantity of carbon that can be kept by forests, trees, and wildlife our belief and excitement is that given that the Government of Zimbabwe and other countries in the region have put statutes on what they want to do so those that want to offset carbon buy from the community and invest the money for conservation,” he said.
Mr Mandima said collectively the timing of the forum is perfect and aligns with what Ifaw is exploring on how to have the private sector invest towards management of wildlife resources, wildlife in particular, as well as coming at a time when Zimbabwe is promoting smart agriculture and smart energy.
He said Matabeleland North’s large space, 30 percent of the land is in conservation and there are large habitats of wildlife and forests.
When communities use a regenerative or friendly zero tillage system, they disturb the soil less and allow the soil to keep carbon in the ground and avoid emissions that cause temperatures to rise.
Grazing systems used also contribute to carbon sequestration which is keeping the carbon which when released contributes to global warming.
Communities are encouraged to use green energy and reduce deforestation.