Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Miles Sampa says the Zambia Green Jobs Program, will ensure sustainable development and creation of decent jobs in the country.
His remarks come at a time when youths are grappling with unemployment.
Recently six former University of Zambia (UNZA) s t u d e n t s were arrested for an unlawful assembly; they were among others who gathered to demonstrate over unemployment.
In a statement, Mr. Sampa said the Zambian Government, in partnership with UN agencies and the Finnish Government, was implementing the Zambia Green Jobs Program.
“This program aims at promoting the creation of green and decent jobs through the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the building construction sector,” Mr. Sampa said. “The program facilitates and builds the capacity of finance and business service providers that support about 3,000 MSMEs in the building construction value chain,” read part of the statement.
Mr. Sampa was speaking in New York during a panel discussion at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2015 integration segment on: “achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all”.
He said green buildings would contribute to a more sustainable approach in alternative materials used, water and energy saving technologies applied in construction, waste management and sanitation.
According to the statement, the program would ensure better living standards for Zambians.
“Sustainable development and greening in particular brings with it a number of benefits, which are environmental, economic and social in nature,” Mr. Sampa said. “It is expected that sustained, inclusive growth and job creation would be achieved while preserving and improving the quality of the environment in Zambia.”
He informed the gathering that in February this year, the Government established the Zambia Green Building Association (ZGBA).
He said the ZGBA would also increase the capacity of the construction industry for stakeholders to effectively participate in the sector.
Mr. Sampa said Zambia had adopted a Green Development strategy that would contribute to the country’s social development and economic growth.
“The economic growth is underpinned by the rapid growth in the construction sector, and therefore significant impact is expected in this area,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said the Zambian Government encourages financial institutions, suppliers of construction materials and property developers to integrate sustainable practices in their business operations.
“Zambia is in the process of developing and reviewing relevant policy framework including, but not limited to, developing business linkages in green building and construction projects; creating incentives for investment in green property development and foreign investment; providing support to local entrepreneurs in close collaboration with the private sector through business development services,” said Mr. Sampa, adding that there would be “revision of existing building guidelines and regulations to encourage effective implementation and development of an Environmental Impact Assessment tool for the residential housing sector.”
Mr. Sampa said Zambia expects positive returns from green construction that would support the local economy create employment and grow local entrepreneurship.
University of Massachusetts’ Professor Robert Pollin, 3M Company Vice-President for Global Sustainability Gayle Schueller and International Labour Organisation job creation and enterprise development director Peter Poschen participated in the panel discussion.