PRESIDENT Mugabe left Harare last night for New York where he will join other Heads of State and government for the High Level Signature Ceremony of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The Paris Agreement, in which all 196 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change member states agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius, was adopted at the COP21 indaba in Paris on December 12 last year.
To keep the global spotlight on climate change mitigation in the wake of COP21, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon invited representatives of all member states to sign the Paris Agreement at a special ceremony scheduled for Friday at the United Nations Headquarters.
Climatologists contend implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, and provides a roadmap for climate change mitigation through reduced carbon emissions.
The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil in June 1992 with the aim of stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that does not pose a danger to life on earth.
Greenhouse gases, namely water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone, absorb and retain heat in the atmosphere that at higher concentrations are harmful to the viability of life on earth.
Though ground-breaking, the UNFCCC treaty did not set binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms, an anomaly that the Paris Agreement seeks to rectify through the adoption of a cocktail of legally binding and non-binding provisions on climate change mitigation to succeed the largely unsuccessful Kyoto Protocol.
Developing countries like Zimbabwe that have agro-based economies depend on rain-fed agriculture and have a majority of their population, over 70 percent, living in rural and farming areas, keenly feel the impact of climate change.
President Mugabe is accompanied by the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri.
He was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Ministers Dr Christopher Mushohwe, Dr Ignatius Chombo, Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Kembo Mohadi, Joram Gumbo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Miriam Chikukwa, Service Chiefs and senior Government officials