Zambia loses an estimated 250, 000 to 300,000 hectors of forest cover per year.
Vice president Guy Scott says this is attributed to among other challenges to lack of proper forest management interventions and an incapacitated Forest ACT CAP 199 of the laws of Zambia which has not been able to effectively regulate the harvesting of timer and production of charcoal.
Dr. Scott says government will not allow the depletion of the country’s forests to continue without providing tangible interventions.
He says part of the measures government is already putting in place is to allocate funds to the Forestry Department to raise tree seedlings to be planted in deforested areas of the country’s forest catchment areas.
The vice president was speaking in a speech read for him by lands Minister Harry Kalaba at the official opening of a two day Indaba on Charcoal held in Lusaka today.
Speaking earlier, UNICEF Country representative and UN resident Coordinator Hamid El-Bashir observed that effective management of Zambia’s natural resources such as forests calls for the provision of an enabling policy, regulatory and legal conditions including institutional reforms.
Dr. El-Bashir says this why the UN system in the country is committed to supporting Zambia in developing the Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) plus strategy and Integrated Climate Change Financing Mechanism.
Dr. El-Bashir says in addition the UN system also stands ready to support the Zambian government in promoting alternative energy sources in line with the UN Secretary General’s initiative on sustainable energy for all.
And speaking at same event, Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Pertti Anttinen commended government for organizing the Charcoal indaba as advice and contributions from all stakeholders are needed to find solutions to stop the ongoing forest degradation due to charcoal production.
Ambassador Anttinen was speaking in a speech read for him by, Finnish embassy Counselor Marja Ojanen.