The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has allocated 100,000 U.S. dollars to Zambia for a project aimed at improving forest management, an official said Friday.
During the launch of the Community Forest Management project, James Wakiaga, the UNDP resident representative, said that Zambia faced its most significant environmental challenge in forest degradation, occurring at an annual rate between 170,000 to 250,000 hectares, and the funds intended to help the country expand its interventions.
“While all categories of forest are suffering deforestation, open access areas are highly impacted due to absence of management plans and governance structures,” the envoy said.
These funds have been provided under the UNDP Seoul Policy Center Global Development and Policy project. The project, according to him, will involve strengthening regulations for sustainable forest management, developing forest fire protection and management plans, sharing knowledge, and enhancing forest governance, among other components.
Wakiaga further expressed the UNDP’s commitment to supporting Zambia in its sustainable environmental management efforts, saying that halting and reversing the destruction and degradation of numerous ecosystems was a challenging task, made more complex by the diversity of these ecosystems.
He raised concern about the alarming global trends in environmental degradation.
Peggy Chirwa, the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment of Zambia, said that the project would empower and assist community forestry in the southern and northwestern parts of the country.
“To contribute to reducing deforestation and forest degradation levels by involving and expanding community participation,” she said.
“This will be achieved through capacity-building programs and raising community awareness about the existing legal frameworks supporting community forestry,” she added.