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Sustainable Use of Natural Resources Programme Commences in Zambia

Zambia on Thursday, November 5, 2020 launched three technical reports aimed at promoting sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources were mainstreamed in development planning.

The programme, a World Bank-led Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES), was formed to enhance sustainable utilisation of natural resources for development, planning and national economic accounts.

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Minister of National Development Planning, Alexander Chiteme, said during the launch that the three aspects of the programme were for forestry, lands and water.

Chiteme said: “The programme shows that Zambia is on course in the actualisation of enhanced sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources are mainstreamed in development and national economic accounts.

“Countries measure economic growth through Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, it is clear that GDP is not a sufficient indicator of sustainability.

“GDP does not value the cost of environmental degradation or recognise how natural resources are being depleted in pursuing economic development.’’

According to Chiteme, incorporating the full value of ecosystem services into wealth of a country through natural capital accounting and the benefits people derive from them was important.

He added that natural capital accounting would enable Zambia to measure and value the links between economy and the environment, analyse sustainability of use of natural resources and use the data in national and local planning.

World Bank Group Country Manager, Sahr Kpundeh, acknowledged the importance that the Zambian Government attached to natural capital accounting in contributing to national development.

He said the World Bank was committed to supporting the government toward harnessing the untapped potential of natural capital.

Zambia joined the WAVES partnership in 2017 and embarked on developing six accounts, namely forestry, land, water, tourism, energy and minerals and had so far developed three accounts.

In a related development, President Edgar Lungu directed the country’s disaster management agency to work with other stakeholders to find a lasting solution to perennial floods in Lusaka, during the rainy season.

Lungu, on Thursday, said the flooding situation in the city was historical hence the need to find a solution to deal with it once and for all.

The Zambian leader was speaking when he visited and inspected the drainage system in Kanyama, one of the sprawling shanty compounds in the city known for floods.

He said the government would provide resources to ensure that the drainage system in flood-prone residential areas in the city is improved.

Chanda Kabwe, National Coordinator, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), said the agency was working with other stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the flooding problem in residential areas in the city.

He said the finance ministry has already provided resources to deal with the floods and blamed the situation on the failure by engineers to plan for proper drainage systems.

Floods are common in the Zambian capital during the rainy season which has just started.

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