Southern Centre for Energy and Environment is a Southern African based non-profit research facility established in Zimbabwe in 1992 to conduct policy and technical studies to support the introduction of sustainable environmental practices at policy and production level. Key to this role is the provision of support for renewable energy and cleaner production technologies.
Since the Rio Summit, research activities on energy and climate change have shifted from political discussions taking a more scientific and technical note. Scientific research had been dominated by the North (Developed Countries) and it has become necessary for the global community to adopt a universal approach in solving the climate change problem. This often means closer global exchanges of cleaner technologies and streamlining of national policies to embrace a sustainable development path. Developing countries, Zimbabwe included, are poised for major economic changes which might see greater industrial expansion, rise in living standards and increased energy consumption. Therefore, it has become imperative for every country to keep track of the economic developmental needs vis-ˆ-vis the goal of sustainability development.
I am pleased to note that the Centre has already gained recognition among national, regional and international energy and environment think-tanks. Key to this development is the deliberate focus by the Centre on "frontier research" - a principle which focuses on new knowledge frontiers and providing technical and policy analysis for converting these for national benefits and application. The Centre has managed to establish a good working rapport with policy makers and technical experts in Government and Industrialists. Its next focus is to provide a systems analysis backdrop to the activities of other non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe and in Southern Africa as a region. This form of capacity sharing and skills leveraging between development NGOs and the Centre as a research NGO is expected to lead to more effective environmental management and practices in industrial and rural development. Through our studies and programmes, we have managed to investigate and obtain technical information to support Zimbabwe's contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) and to build a strong data base on energy use and the environmental status of key natural resource bases in Zimbabwe and SADC.
On the climate change front where we have placed a significant share of our staff time, apart from working to fulfill UNFCCC commitments for Zimbabwe, Southern Centre has also assisted neighbouring countries in establishing emissions inventories and mitigation options for greenhouse gas mitigation. Further on the regional level, the Centre has established regional outreach arm, The Southern African Network on Energy and Environment (SANEE). SANEE was the brainchild of Southern Centre which was sounded out and adopted first at a meeting of energy and environment experts in Cape Town, South Africa in 1995. SANEE which now has 30 members in all SADC states is intended to facilitate regional collaboration and information exchange. This has been prompted by the transboundary nature of environmental and energy problems as well as regional commonalties on energy projects, for instance, regional power pooling and shared hydro resources on the Zambezi River.
Southern Centre intends to pursue a stiffer campaign on conscientising policy makers and industrialists on sustainable energy use and the consequences of the contrary on our environment by scientific analysis of the Zimbabwean & regional experience ensuring that the region remains environmentally competitive vis-ˆ-vis a related global efforts an din line with the regions own sustainable development goals.
RS Maya Ph.D.
- Climate Change
The subject of the effect of greenhouse gas emissions by human activity has drawn a significant amount of debate recently. The Centre has participated in studies to determine the level of emissions by Zimbabwe and neighbouring states. The work has allowed the Centre to participate in the analysis of the instruments as set out by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Some of the work has been published in booklets on Joint Implementation and reports on emission sources and sinks and mitigation costing analysis. Work on climate change has allowed contact with other researchers and exchange of up to date information on the science of climate change and the policy issues.
Industrialisation is the major cause for environmental degradation and contamination of soils as well as surface and underground water. However, through appropriate management, industrialisation can bring benefits and support a clean environment. The efficient use of energy and materials is one of the important strategies that the Centre promotes.
- Natural Resources
The natural resources programme addresses the issues of biodiversity and the exploitation of mineral wealth. Biodiversity has the local value of provision of medicinal plants, tourist attractions and preservation of the water resources which in turn provide energy. The Centre appreciates the need for exploitation of mineral wealth as part of the economic activities of the country. The Southern centre would however wish to see mining activity not present a hazard to human and animal life through contamination of surface and underground water or the poisoning of agricultural lands.
- Special Interpretations
This programme is to make special interpretations of the current issues in energy and environment for use by the less technical and the public at large. The interpretations include energy efficiency issues such as device selection and operation, global issues in climate change mitigation, fuel selection for energy conservation and economics. The special interpretations are also disseminated through radio and television programmes where the target audience permits.
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Southern Centre for Energy and Environment
31 Frank Johnson Avenue, Eastlea, Harare
Tel 00263 04 700755/737351/703611
Fax 00263 04 700755
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