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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] [December Thematic Report] Environmental Regulation in Zimbabwe

by Makomborero Muzunde | 12-01-2021 18:35 Comments 6 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

Houses being built on wetlands, massive deforestation, excessive erosions and the pollution, Does we have environmental regulation agency? Yes we do, In Zimbabwe the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] was passed, through Statutory Instrument No. 13 of 2002 and the Environmental Management Agency [EMA] was formed under the Ministry of Environment. 

Chapter 20:27 states that it is an Act to provide for the sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment; the prevention of pollution and environmental degradation; the preparation of a National Environmental Plan and other plans for the management and protection of the environment; the establishment of an Environmental Management Agency and an Environment Fund; to amend references to intensive conservation areas and committees and associated matters in various Acts; to repeal the Natural Resources Act [Chapter 20:13]; the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act [Chapter 20:03], the Hazardous Substances and Articles Act [Chapter 15:05] and the Noxious Weeds Act [Chapter 19:07], and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

The Environmental Management Act provides the establishment of different boards and agencies to provides for the formulation of environmental quality standards and environmental plans, environmental impact assessments audit and monitoring of projects and for other matters relative to management and conservation of the environment. 

Comparison between that is on paper and ground

The Act [Chapter 20:27] as stated above it has all the mandates and duties but on the ground that is different on what we are seeing in our environment. I believe that EMA is a toothless bull dog since it can not enforce the Act and does not have the arrest power. It is further weakened by the politics. EMA is under the Ministry of Environment and the minister is appointed by the President. The minister serves the interests of the President which are generally political so it if EMA formulates a plan that does not serve the political interests, the Minister will disapprove it. 

The Environmental Management Board [EMB] to impose environmental levy they need to sit down with Minister of Finance. The Minister approves the levies bearing an interest of political effects on the levies. The Environmental Fund [EB] remains constricted since they are forced to agree for a lower penalty fees which are not painful for the environmental law offenders and more affordable. That is the problem we as developing countries face that politics come first before anything. 

For example EMA has failed to impose a tough environmental levy on the tobacco farmer and the miners because of the government interests. Tobacco has accounted for 15% of the Gross Domestic Product [GDP] and 25% of the Total Exports, so it is difficult for EMA levies to be approved as they will discourage the farming of tobacco. Tobacco is banned in other countries and it is restricted to some countries because of its negative environmental impacts. The Forestry Commission and The Environmental Management Agency estimated about 15% loss of indegenous forests annually due to tobacco curing. The environmental agency has become more of a statistics provider to the people's government.  The government will do anything to remain clinging on power so it acts to satisfy the environemntal offenders at the expense of environmental conservation as witnessed by the reversal of the tobacco tax on tobbaco farmers. 

Developing countries will continue to face that problem of non compliance to the envrionmental guidelines because of non-independence between the agencies and the government. The judiciary courts, environmental bodies and law enforcers are all captured so the legislation becomes just a structure with no support and function. 


EMA sources [Online last accessed on 10/01/2021 ] https://www.ema.co.zw/agency/downloads

Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27]

The Herald [Online last accessed on 10/01/2021]  https://www.herald.co.zw/zim-loses-millions-in-unpaid-carbon-tax/

Mine fields EMA officers collecting water samples Tobacco curing using firewood


Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Greetings makomborero
    I hope you are doing well
    Thank you so much for this report
    Keep writing
    Green cheers
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 13-02-2021 15:34

SJ Mentor

  • SJ Mentor says :
    Hello Makomborero!
    It's your SJ mentor.

    I hope you are doing well.
    Thank you for sharing Zimbabwe's environmental laws with the realities in force.
    It is sad that environmental laws are not kept well due to political situations.
    In South Korea, such regulations are made by the Ministry of Environment, so I think it is difficult to get out of complete political understanding.
    The institution that implements and enforces environmental regulations should be independent so that it can be operated thoroughly.
    Hope things are fine with you.
    Keep writing!

    Best regards,
    SJ mentor.
    Posted 18-01-2021 04:55

Dolma Diki Sherpa

  • Dolma Diki Sherpa says :
    Greetings from Nepal

    Thank you for your information regarding environmental regulation of your country.

    Keep writing keep sharing
    We are eager to know more from you.

    Posted 17-01-2021 00:31

Mun WooJooMentor

  • Mun WooJooMentor says :
    Hello Makomborero,
    this is your mentor WooJoo.

    Warm greetings from South Korea.
    Thank you for sharing such an informative report about ongoing environmental situation in Zimbabwe.
    I agree that not only making a "group" is important, but also knowing how to manage the group and power in proper ways is important as well.
    It is sad to know that EMA is not making its best way, so hopefully the regulations and the government can improve the current situations so that required environmental actions, such as fines, can be enacted properly.
    I understand that the tobacco can result in great benefit, but as you stated, it seems that some kind of control should be applied.

    Green Cheers!

    Posted 15-01-2021 18:07

Shobha Pokhrel

  • Shobha Pokhrel says :
    Thanks for your wonderful Report .
    Keep sharing
    Posted 12-01-2021 22:53

Vazira Ikhtiyorova

  • Vazira Ikhtiyorova says :
    Greetings from Uzbekistan!
    Hope you are doing well. Thank you for a wonderful and informative report. I am glad this regulation exists in your home country, Zimbabwe!
    Posted 12-01-2021 21:28

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