Environment & Climate Change
Zambia is endowed with considerable environmental assets, including 50 million hectares of forest and a rich wildlife estate and protected area system covering some 36% of the total land area. These natural resources are major contributors to GDP (e.g. mining, tourism, agriculture, forestry) amounts to 27% of national wealth in comparison to 2% in Overseas Economic Cooperation and Development countriesand are critical to Zambia’s effort to achieve sustainable development. The agriculture sector provides livelihoods to 60% of Zambians and is dominated by small-scale farmers, 84% of whom are estimated to live in poverty. Crop production is mainly rain fed, making food security vulnerable to climatic variations and degradation of the environment. Unfortunately there is a high rate of deforestation and land degradation due to encroachment (clearing land for agriculture and settlements) and illegal hunting of wild animals. This has also made community livelihood strategies more challenging, especially for many women, who are forced to travel longer distances to fetch fuel wood, water, and other forest products. Environmental protection and natural resources conservation must to be an integral part of all poverty reduction strategies and poverty reduction has to be taken into account in all environmental management at national, regional level and community level.
Already, the country’s sensitive sectors: agriculture and food security, wildlife, forestry, water and energy, health and infrastructure have been adversely affected by climate change, thereby affecting the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and deepening poverty in rural areas that are prone to floods and droughts. In this regard, the country needs to respond to the challenges of climate change to protect the environment, development gains and livelihoods of the people. In addition, the country needs to contribute to the global climate change mitigation, since about 20% of the greenhouse gases (GHG) that cause global warming come from deforestation and forest degradation.
Fostering sustainable development and reducing people’s vulnerability from the risk of climate change, natural and man-made disasters and environmental degradation are key pillars under the framework of UNDP Zambia’s Country Programme Action Plan 2011 – 2015 and the Sixth National Development Plan Vision for the Natural Resources Sector. UNDP plays an important role in sharing knowledge among stakeholders, providing technical assistance to government and supporting civil society organizations, the private sector and communities in Zambia to participate effectively in environment protection, natural resources management and community resilience to climate change and reduction of GHG from deforestation. UNDP's work on environment and natural resources supports the Government of the Republic of Zambia in programmes and initiatives aimed at integrating environmental protection, natural resources management and poverty reduction efforts in a sustainable manner This is done through supporting community based natural resources management, promoting public –private- community partnerships in the management of the resources, promoting sustainable alternative livelihoods to reduce pressure on natural resources as well as policy reforms to create an enabling environment for community and private sector participation.
In response to climate change, UNDP’s support is directed at the immediate effects of climate change and achieving long-term sustainable development. This is done through promoting mitigation and adaptation measures that protect livelihoods from climate change and promote transformation of the country’s economy to less carbon-intensive (GHG) sustainable patterns of production and consumption while enhancing poverty-reduction efforts. Thus, UNDP’s support to climate change issues focuses on strengthening institutional and individual capacities at national and local levels to integrate environmental and climate change considerations into development plans and strategies; establish effective partnerships and secure resources for implementation of programmes to support low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathways that contribute to sustainable development
UNDP’s partners include Government Ministries and departments: Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Department of Energy, Forest Department, Zambia Wildlife Authority, Interim Inter-ministerial Climate Change Secretariat, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit; Cooperating Partners: European Commission, Embassy of Finland, Danish Embassy, World Bank, African Development Bank; UN Agencies: WFP, UNHABITAT, UNICEF, FAO, UNEP and the Global Mechanism of the UNFCCC.