World Bank Approves Funds to Support Zambia’s Climate Resilience and Adaptation

World Bank

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on May 9th approved a US$31 million grant and a US$5 million loan from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) of the Strategic Climate Fund to support the Government of Zambia’s efforts to strengthen its institutional framework for climate resilience, and boost the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities in one of the poorest areas of Zambia – the Barotse sub-basin of the Zambezi.

“Zambia’s climate is highly variable. Floods and droughts have increased in frequency over the past three decades, costing the nation an estimated 0.4% in annual economic growth,”said the World Bank’s Country Director for Zambia Kundhavi Kadiresan. “This project will help make climate change adaptation and resilience an intrinsic part of economic development, while adopting a participatory, learning-by-doing approach to one of Zambia’s most vulnerable areas”

The Strengthening Climate Resilience (PPCR Phase II) project will provide overall support to Zambia’s growing national climate change program, strengthen climate information, and fund participatory adaptation in the Barotse sub-basin.  Target districts, community groups and individual champions (selected by their poverty and food insecurity) will be assisted to identify and implement priority adaptation activities, such as climate resilient crop varieties and livelihood diversification.  The project will also support rehabilitation and strengthened management works of priority traditional canals on the floodplain to optimize their use in climate resilience (particularly in the management of floods and droughts). The design of the works will be done in close collaboration with traditional and local authorities to maximize the use of local labor and retain their traditional characteristics as much as possible.

“The poor in Zambiaare particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to their heavy reliance on climate-sensitive sectors such as rainfed agriculture, fishing, and forestry,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s Director of Sustainable Development for the Africa Region.“This project will help to improve the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities, provide job opportunities for rural families, and help mainstream climate resilience into vulnerable economic sectors.”

“Zambia’s GDP grew by 6.8% in 2011, yet overall poverty remains high at 74% in rural areas where the population is highly vulnerable to climate shocks.  ,”said Sofia Bettencourt, the World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project, “I look forward to the impact that this project can have in piloting community-based adaptation planning, and expanding it progressively to the national level.

The project, coordinated by the inter-ministerial National Climate Change Secretariat, will be complemented by parallel investments by the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Nordic Development Fund, the United Nations, the German Cooperation, USAID, and several civil society partners.