Top British official visits

Political Editor
A top British official was in the country in the past two days during which she held a flurry of meetings with Western diplomats, civil society and business leaders, The Herald has established. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Head of Central and Southern Africa Department, Ms Danae Dholakia, reportedly came in on Wednesday and flew out yesterday.

It could not be ascertained what the top diplomat discussed with the Western envoys, civil society and business leaders but on the Government side, she met Minister of Water, Environment and Climate Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday. They discussed combating the Illegal wildlife trade and the UK’s support to the water sector in Zimbabwe.

They also discussed mitigating the impact of climate change on Zimbabwe in the context of the forthcoming 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris in December. Ms Dholakia said: “I had a productive meeting with Minister Muchinguri where we discussed the UK and Zimbabwe’s mutual commitment to tackling the illegal wildlife trade. The UK Government has mobilised a $19,5 million Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund to help combat the global scourge of illegal wildlife trading.

“I urge local conservation organisations to apply for support before the application window closes on October 12. We look forward to continuing our support for the people of Zimbabwe through our aid programmes, technical assistance and broader cooperation.”

British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing, who accompanied Ms Dholakia to the meeting with Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri, said Britain was willing to work with Zimbabwe to tackle the global problem of the illegal wildlife trade, and on broader conservation issues to promote sustainable development for the Zimbabwean people.

The two parties also discussed the role public/private partnerships may play in assisting Zimbabwe leverage investment in vital infrastructure.