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Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: Climate Change and Bad Governance Fuel Fears of Another Famine

It is hard to imagine Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe doing anything right, so it is not surprising that the country is ill-prepared for the impacts of climate change. A recent article in AlertNet highlights the dramatic rainfall variability the country has been experiencing, which has led to severe crop failures, and requests for international food assistance from a government that has in the past blocked the distribution of such aid – condemning millions of its citizens to famine. Farmers in the country prepared their fields for rains that should have fallen late last year, but that rain only began to arrive in late February and March, uselessly dropping on acres of already-failed crops. And the government has little capacity to adapt and prepare for these changes. According to a study commissioned by the country’s Environment and Natural Resources Management service, “the country has weak inter- and intra-sectoral co-ordination in climate change issues, limited capacity for climate change policy analysis and implementation and limited resources to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes.” Any financial or technical assistance that actually does make its way into the country should therefore address both the immediate food crisis, and future climate change impacts on food security.

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