Zambia learns how to manage fire outbreaks

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Zambia learns how to manage fire outbreaks

Windhoek, Apr 23/13, NAMPA/ZANIS——-A Zambian delegation is in Namibia on a three-day visit this week to learn about how that country manages and controls fire outbreaks.

Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs’ Affairs of the Zambian Parliament, Edgar Sing’ombe, noted that uncontrolled bush fires are threatening to derail development efforts in his Zambia.

“Namibia is doing much better than us in fire management. We came to learn and to study how to manage fires,” he noted while speaking during a meeting with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs at the National Assembly on yesterday.

Mr Sing’ombe said building capacity on fire research, generating up-to-date fire information and formulating informed fire management policies and strategies are the key to sustainable development for any country.

At the same occasion, a member of the Zambian committee, Dr Eustachio Kazonga, expressed similar sentiments, noting that fire monitoring and research in Zambia are somewhat “frail”.

“Namibia has done a good job and we are a bit weak. Without the correct policy in place, you find yourself doing activities without long-term directions,” he stressed.

In recent years, bush fires have caused extensive damage to property and infrastructure, and have severely depleted the productive capacity of land in Zambia, according to Dr Kazonga.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is one of the world’s fire hotspots where millions of hectares burn annually, threatens human lives, and compromise food security and health.

Namibia ratified the SADC Protocol on Forestry, and it has become part and parcel of Namibia’s relevant domestic laws.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is in the process of revising and strengthening the Forest Act of 2001 through appropriate amendments.

The Forest Act provides for “the establishment of a Forestry Council; the appointment of certain officials; the management and use of forests and forest produce; the protection of the environment; and the control and management of forest fires”.

The delegation will meet with officials from the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development in Windhoek and at the Walvis Bay Municipality.
The delegation is scheduled to depart for Zambia on Thursday.