Zambia Must Act To Avoid Climate Change Disaster
Climate change is not purely an environmental issue with some adverse social effects. Instead as research has shown, the economic consequences are very much a reality. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Zambia is estimated to have lost US $4 billion in the last 10 years from the effects of climate change. It is no wonder the Zambian leadership has therefore showed enthusiasm towards a new climate-focused initiative.
Earlier in the month, Zambia launched Strengthening Climate Resilience of Agricultural Livelihoods in Agro-Ecological Regions (SCRALA), an initiative to improve food security aimed at reducing poverty for 3 million smallholder farmers – approximately 18 per cent of the total population. This initiative fits in within the broader Seventh National Development Plan, which deals with reducing poverty and vulnerability whilst contributing to economic diversification and job creation in Zambia.
Over the next seven years (2019-2025), the project will be financed through a joint-effort between the Zambian government, providing 105 million U.S. dollars and three major international organisations: a grant of 32 million dollars by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Green Climate Fund (GCF) and 1.4 million dollars by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
In practical terms GCF’s financial support would go towards obtaining quality climate information and early warning systems, enhancing smallholder farmers’ access to water for farming and improving farmers’ link to rural markets.
It is however, worth noting that the GCF is to date the largest such fund for climate change. There is confidence therefore that Zambia can be a regional or even international leader in the fight against climate change.
In fact, Zambia has little choice but in taking a leading role: 70 per cent of the country's workforce relies on rain-fed agriculture and the agriculture sector is a main source of livelihood, employing close to three quarters of the population and contributes 19% to GDP.
“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that climate-resilient agriculture becomes the norm”, said GCF’s Mitigation and Adaptation Division director Jerry Velasquez.