On 19 May 2021, Her Honor, the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Mrs. Inonge M Wina launched the Voices for Climate Action (VCA) Programme in Zambia, in Chanyanya, Kafue Flats.
As the climate crisis becomes more urgent than ever before, it is clear that across the globe our mode of economic development and our systems of governance have not only failed to prevent the crisis but continue to be part of the problem. Responding to the climate crisis requires inclusive and integrated planning and climate finance that can urgently scale locally-shaped solutions.
The VCA programme aims to support a just climate transition by building a strong Southern-led civil society movement, to increase civic space and to influence decision-making. By 2025, the programme hopes to see local civil society groups claiming a central role as empowered innovators, facilitators and advocates of climate solutions.
The launch was held at St Anne School Grounds, in Chanyanya Ward of Kafue, were the following key officials addressed the guests; The Vice President of Zambia Mrs. Inonge M. Wina, The Permanent Secretary – Lusaka Province Mr. Elias Kamanga, The Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Sangowayo Zyambo, The UN Resident Coordinator for Zambia – Her Excellency Dr Coumba Mar Gadio, Honorary Consul of the Dutch Embassy – His Excellency Sander Donker, The British High Commissioner- His Excellency Mr Nicholas Woolley and WWF Zambia Contry Director Ms. Nachilala Nkombo.
In attendance were Permanent Secretaries and representatives from various Ministries, DMMU, The District Commissioner- Kafue – Mr. Gibson Sinkala, The Commanding Officer – ZNS Chanyanya – Lt Colonel Ndhlovu, National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC), Lusaka Water and Sanitation Company (LWSC), Musika Zambia, Nitrogen CZ, Social Welfare, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), NGOCC, Worldfish, Zambia Climate Change Network (ZCCN) Child Fund Zambia, Wildlife Producers Association of Zambia, House of Ruth Foundation and many more.
The program is being implemented by an alliance of organizations globally, including: WWF Netherlands, Hivos, SouthSouthNorth, Akina Mama wa Afrika, Fundación Avina and Slum Dwellers International. The program will be funded for five years by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the ‘Power of Voices’ framework and implemented in Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Indonesia, Kenya, Tunisia and Zambia, supported by a global programme and a Dutch society engagement component.
In Zambia, the programme is being implemented through an alliance of five partners consisting of WWF Zambia, Hivos Southern Africa, Akina Mama wa Afrika, South South North (SSN) and Slum Dwellers International (SDI). The programme will target five key thematic areas; water, food, energy, health and gender in relation to climate change. These thematic areas will form the basis of our climate action which is focused on advocacy while emphasizing a rights-based and intersectionality approach to amplify civil society voices on climate action.
Currently, Zambia’s agricultural and food production systems remain unsustainable, contributing to around 63% of the current deforestation rate in Zambia, with little investment going into widespread adoption of climate smart agriculture and technological options, particularly for smaller scale farmers.
Zambia has experienced the adverse impacts of climate change in the form of an increase in frequency and severity of seasonal droughts, increased temperatures in valleys, flash floods and changes in the growing season. As a result we are seeing significant changes in crop yields, increased spread and incidence of pests and diseases, contamination and the spread of waterborne illnesses, reduced food security, reduced ecosystem services, increased deforestation and load shedding as a result of reduced water affecting hydropower infrastructure. While climate impacts and extreme weather events can affect anyone, some sections of society are more affected than others.
“This five-year project will build resilience and adaptions towards climate change in the Kafue flats. This project will also bring together stakeholders’ expertise and resources to solve common problem, as such, there is need to strengthen efforts to help sustain the livelihoods of people in disaster prone areas by building resilience and adaption to climate change.” Mrs. Inonge M. Wina said.
Mrs. Wina also directed Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Vice President to initiate a programme on disaster reduction with specific subsystem interventions linked to food systems, and noted that government with its partners, is determined to shape a future for Chanyanya, Chikupi and Demu communities through grant contribution and investments from the Dutch Government and technical assistance by a British firm, Infraco.
And WWF Country Director, Nachilala Nkombo said the five-year project seeks to amplify communities’ voices greatly impacted by climate change by building their adaptive capacities and greater resilience of ecosystems they depend on for their livelihoods.
“Climate change is taking a toll on Zambia and there has never been a greater urgency for Zambians to work together in new ways to respond to the climate crisis. As such, this programme will address the unique climate adaptation needs of both rural and urban communities in Zambia by putting communities at the centre of driving a just transition to climate resilient and low carbon and resilient economy that works for everyone.”
The VCA programme will operate in the Lower Kafue Basin and Lusaka Province regions across 10 Districts namely; Luangwa, Rufunsa, Chongwe, Lusaka, Kafue, Chirundu, Siavonga, Chikankata, Mazabuka and Itezhi Tezhi.
Further, Dutch Honorary Consul, Sander Donker stressed his government’s commitment to helping Zambia address the challenges of climate change and noted that they will continue to provide both financial and technical assistance to the country in order to address issues of climate change.
The Lower Kafue basin, located 50km from Lusaka city, is directly linked to the climate resilience of the Lusaka province. It provides 50% of Zambia’s national hydroelectricity supply, 46% of Lusaka’s water supply, supports the livelihoods of more than 900,000 people, a hub for sugar cane production, sustains vital ecological systems, and hosts one of Zambia’s most productive wild fisheries, supplying both urban and rural markets with an annual estimated value of US $30 million.
A healthy and sustainable Lower Kafue landscape is therefore an important lifeline for the city of Lusaka. The realization of this clear link between these two areas is our driver for change. A healthy functioning Lower Kafue and Lusaka is not lost yet. There is an opportunity to turn the tide and redirect developments in the region towards ecologically and economically sound investment propositions for a greater climate resilient Zambia.
The vision for the programme is a Zambia where civil society is heard and respected. A Zambia where civil society has a key role in influencing and co-creating locally relevant, inclusive and fundable climate solutions. These solutions will deliver real benefits to people and nature as part of a local and global response to this crisis.
The programme thanks Her Honour the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia- Madam Inonge Mutukwa Wina for attending the launch event and showing a continuing commitment to climate leadership.