Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Harare Wetlands Trust have welcomed the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Tourism report on Wetlands Management amid calls to amend the Environmental Management Act.
Addressing journalists in Harare today, ZLHR’s Fiona Iliff commended parliament for heeding their call to protect wetlands in the country.
“Concerns raised by ZLHR and HWT included the inordinate amount of power and discretion wielded by a few individuals and lack of transparency in the processes of granting of development permits and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates for development on wetlands.
“The decision makers have seemingly favoured the short term benefits of developments, such as revenue income from levies and rates without a proper consideration to their environmental impact in the long term,” said Iliff.
She said against this backdrop “ZLHR and HWT commend the Parliament Portfolio Committee for calling on the state to take urgent measures to curb persistent wetlands destruction in Harare”
The pressure groups called for the review and update of the national environmental plan and recognition of wetlands.
“ZLHR and HWT call upon the Ministry of Environment to review and update the National Environmental Plan, and develop Local Authority Environment Action Plans, as recommended, in a manner recognizing the importance and protection of wetlands”
They further called on the Parliament and Executive to “urgently implement the recommendations made by the committee in accordance with the government’s obligations as state party to the Ramsar Convention and in terms of sections 73 and 77 of the constitution to protect the environment and water resources for present and future generations”