PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing issues threatening the attainment of the country’s development goals contained in the Seventh National Development Plan.
During the tour of selected pilot programme for climate resilience sites in Lukulu district, Western Province, President Lungu said despite the resolve to ensure that development efforts reach everyone and everywhere, climate change continues to be an enemy to the success and that everyone must understand that the challenge is real.
He said Western Province had not been spared from climate hazards, particularly floods, which have adversely impacted food security and sustainable livelihoods.
President Lungu said climate change had also affected connectivity of communities to production areas and markets because of the damage caused to infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and health facilities.
He said in addition, flooding, silting and clogging of canals was one of the major adverse effects of climate change,especially in Western Province.
President Lungu said he was delighted to appreciate challenges in implementing the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), which covers Western, Central, Lusaka and Southern provinces.
He said the implementation of the US $50.6 million project demonstrated his government’s resolve to sustain livelihoods even in the midst of harsh social and economic conditions necessitated by climate change.
“When I launched the Seventh National Development Plan, I emphasised that the plan will be implemented within the principle of not leaving anyone behind. This principle is in line with the pledge we made as global leaders when we agreed on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals during the United Nations General Assembly in 2015,” President Lungu said.
He said the PF government had always pursued an ambitious agenda of delivering socio-economic development.
President Lungu said this had been done through the construction and rehabilitation of various infrastructural projects and implementation of other programmes in sectors such as agriculture, health, education, building of chiefs’ palaces, including and dredging of canals.
He said such development had been spread across the length and breadth of the country to ensure that the benefits of development accrue to all Zambians and that no province is left behind within the available resources.
President Lungu said as a response to redressing climate change effects in the province, the government had put in place various interventions to help cushion the negative impacts on communities.
He said the government commenced the implementation of the pilot programme for climate resilience with support from the Climate Investment Fund through the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
President Lungu said the programme had a component on strengthening climate resilience in the Barotse sub-basin, which was being implemented in all the 16 districts of Western Province as well as in Kazungula district of Southern Province.
He said through the project, communities were being supported to build resilience by diversifying livelihoods to include income generation activities that are not heavily affected by weather and climate change.
“Thus, non-farm activities such as crafts making, mushroom growing and honey production are being promoted. Further, communities are being supported with market linkages for effective procurement of inputs and access to markets for their products. My coming here is to see how these projects have evolved and listen to success stories and indeed any challenges that beneficiaries are experiencing,” said President Lungu.