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President Mugabe in Paris Ahead of Crucial Climate Change Summit

  • Blessing  Zulu

President Robert Mugabe.

President Robert Mugabe.

President Robert Mugabe arrived in Paris Friday ahead of the 21st climate change summit that begins Monday.

World leaders are gathering for the United Nations climate change conference - a 10-day meeting of historic proportions that many in Africa in particular are hoping will lead to a historic global agreement on climate change. The goal of the summit is in essence to find ways to stop global warming.

The past three decades have so far been the hottest on record and Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan African countries already experiencing scorching heat this year as the effects of climate change continue to be felt.

Drought has already started decimating livestock in South Africa and Zimbabwe with millions needing food aid to survive.

World leaders, including United States President Barack Bbama, also expected to attend the crucial meeting.

Mr. Mugabe’s delegation includes his wife, Grace, and Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, among others.

The President, who was expected to touch down at the Le Bourget Airport, was forced to land at the Charles de Gaulle due to reduced visibility in the chilly European weather.

Zimbabwe’s Ambasador to France, Rudo Mabel Chitiga, confirmed in an interview with VOA that the President had arrived in Paris for the crucial meeting where he will present Africa’s position and needs on climate change mitigation to world leaders.

“He arrived just before midday and will be attending the summit with other world leaders who are gathering here this weekend,” said Chitiga.

Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, Thursday, Pope Francis said world leaders must reach a historic agreement to fight climate change and poverty.

"We are confronted with a choice which cannot be ignored: either to improve or destroy the environment," Pope Francis said.

Nairobi is home to the U.N. Environment Programme headquarters.

Many in Africa, which is feeling the effects of climate change more than the developed world, are hoping the two-week summit, also known as COP21, will be a success.