Zimbabwe today joins the universe World Environment Day (WED) running with a theme focused on Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience.

And environmentalists in the country highlighted the challenges the nation faces and called for action.

“The 2024 World Environment Day theme truly reflects our situation,” said Amkela Sidange, spokesperson for the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

“With 36.5% of our land degraded, we need to take stock and find ways to manage our land sustainably.”

In her message to mark the day, Sidange pointed out that Zimbabwe is an agrarian economy heavily dependent on healthy land for food security.

She further highlighted that the nation is a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which compels countries to address land degradation.

Land degradation mostly manifests as soil erosion and gully formation.

In Zimbabwe, it mostly affects community livelihoods, particularly in communal areas. This is mainly due to improper land management practices such as stream bank cultivation, high deforestation rates, and veld fires.

Another challenge has been that of a weak environmental education programme which focuses on scientific facts about the environment rather than behavior change.

Organizations such as EMA are not well equipped to provide their mandate due to the lack of resources, vehicles for transport and inadequate manpower.

Experts argue that unless the rate of deforestation and soil erosion are curbed or reduced, Zimbabwe’s dream of achieving sustainable resource conservation in future is unlikely to be achieved in the long run.