Africa Environment Day commemorations

The 2019 edition of the Africa Environment Day was commemorated jointly with the World Wildlife Day, Wangari Maathai Day and the National Clean-up Day. The event was hosted by the Environmental Management Agency and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority on March 1 2019, at Lake Chivero. His Excellency, President Mnangagwa was the guest of honour. The Africa Environment Day and World Wildlife Day are commemorated on the 3rd of March each year. However, this year, the events were commemorated early.

Africa Environment Day, celebrated annually on March 3, was established by the then Organisation of African Unity in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of the pressing environmental challenges facing the continent. Zimbabwe uses this day as a platform to discuss topical issues like waste management, sustainable development and green economy through symposiums, commemorations, clean up exercises and exhibitions to allow discussions and sharing of insights, perspectives and experiences. The theme for 2019 is “My Clean Environment, My Pride”.

As a nation, we value this day which served as a platform to promote an in-depth understanding of the practices to be undertaken by; communities, civic society, industry and other sectors towards environmental protection. The day seeks to promote Environmental Education and Community empowerment by re-affirming the importance of all levels of education and training towards sustainable development.

During the 2012 Session of the General Assembly of the African Union, the Assembly decided to recognise Professor Wangari Maathai’s numerous achievements in her capacity as the first Presiding Officer of the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU — ECOSOCC), African Union Peace Ambassador, Founder of the Green Belt Movement, Goodwill Ambassador to the Congo Basin Forest Initiative, UN Peace Messenger for Environment and Climate, and UNEP Champion of the Earth. In so doing they designated March 3 as Wangari Maathai Day to be observed in conjunction with Africa Environment Day, each year beginning in 2012 in order to pay tribute to the late Nobel Laureate’s green legacy.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora, since 2014. In so doing, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being, and recognised the important role the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) plays in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of the species. World Wildlife Day is celebrated in 2019 under the theme “Life below water: for people and planet”.

On December 5 2018, His Excellency, President Mnangagwa declared the First Friday of Every Month as a National Clean-up Day, where all citizens are supposed to clean their surrounding environments between 08:00hours and 10:00hours. The past 2 months has seen citizens of Zimbabwe including; corporates, churches, institutions, government officials and community leaders actively participating in the program. March 1st was the first Friday of the month and all citizens of Zimbabwe were encouraged to participate by cleaning areas surrounding their homes, work premises, churches, schools, markets etc. This gesture will go a long way creating a clean, safe and healthy environment for all.

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source:the herald

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