—–Government says it has taken necessary steps to reduce the potential threats posed by climate change to the country’s development process and the attainment of national programmes such as the Vision 2030.
Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister, Mwansa Kapeya, has disclosed that government has finalised the development of the national policy on climate change to provide a framework for coordinated response to climate change issues.
Mr Kapeya said the policy, once approved by Cabinet, will provide guidance on how the Zambian economy can grow in a sustainable manner in view of climate change.
He said the policy will also enable the country to re-align its climate sensitive sectors of the economy and its society in order to meet its development goals through adaptation and mitigation interventions.
The minister was speaking during the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) funded inception workshop for the Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Programme in Lusaka today.
He also disclosed that Zambia is implementing the national adaptation programme of action and piloting a strategic programme on climate resilience in both the Zambezi and Kafue Basins with a view of building the resilience of the Zambian economy and the poor rural communities to the adverse impacts of climate change.
Mr Kapeya added that the country has conducted several country studies on climate change, that include vulnerability, adaptation, mitigation and greenhouse gases emissions which led to the production of the national communications on climate change and preparation of various programmes and projects which are all intended to address the impacts of climate change in Zambia.
Meanwhile, Mr Kapeya has stated that despite the progress government has made in addressing climate change issues, access to financial and technical support to implement adaptation and mitigation programmes have remained the biggest challenge.
Mr Kapeya noted that the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Climate Fund have not been capitalised to support the implementation of the mitigation and adaptation projects at country level.
He said as a result, the implementation of the NAPA and other strategic programmes has remained almost static.
He, however, stated that it was pleasing to note that Zambia is one of the three countries selected in Africa besides Malawi and Mozambique that will benefit from the regional programme on ecosystem based adaptation approved by UNEP.
Mr Kapeya also reiterated government’s commitment to the regional programme on ecosystem based adaptation for food security, saying the project will catalyse actions at community level and enhance the resilience of the ecosystem and improve food security.
And United Nations Resident Coordinator, George Okech, praised the Zambian government for leading the role in addressing challenges induced by climate change.
Mr Okech has also called for concerted efforts in reducing the potential threats posed by climate change-induced hazards such as extreme temperature, droughts and dry spells as well as seasonal and flash floods.