Siavonga, Friday (December 8, 2023)

Government has strongly warned of consequences if squatters continue squatting in Siavonga’s Mutulanganga Forest Reserve.

Siavonga District Commissioner Geoffrey Jakopo said squatters must go wherever they came from in order to protect the forest from complete depletion.

Mr. Jakopo was speaking when he launched the Inclusive Sustainable Forest Management Project to be executed in Simamba and Sinadambwe Communities in Siavonga District, Southern Province, by Rise Community Development Aid Programme (RICAP) with support from Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“Government is determined to fight against environmental degradation, biodiversity degradation and forest resource depletion. Most of the trees near water bodies in Siavonga have been cut for solid fuel consumption thereby affecting the rainy pattern. We are delighted with RICAP for partnering with Government to mitigate Climate Change and provide livelihoods options,” he said.

Mr. Jakopo said the Project by RICAP is in line with the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Zambia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Speaking earlier, Rise Community Development Aid Programme (RICAP) Board Chairperson James Muyangana said his Organisation’s role will be to work with Sinadambwe and Simamba Chiefdoms to inculcate in them the value of harnessing the actual natural resources they are endowed with.

“RICAP will create synergies to ensure that the two communities sustainably benefit from the resources they have,” he said.

Meanwhile, RICAP Executive Director Samuel Tundu said Sinadambwe and Simamba Chiefdoms have witnessed an alarming commercial cutting of trees for charcoal burning which is negatively impacting on environmental sustainability.

Mr. Tundu called for strengthened collaborative efforts to reverse depletion of local forests to combat Climate Change.

“RICAP will advocate for revamping of Community Forest Management Committees to champion environmental protection as custodians of local resources,” he said.

And Absalom Sakala who was Representing the National Steering Committee of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) under the UNDP, said effects of Climate Change are real in Siavonga as evidenced by high temperatures, low water levels and low productivity.

“The Solutions by RICAP will not only address challenges in Siavonga alone but help achieve global targets which excites the Global Environment Facility who provided the resources. The rate at which Zambia is consuming resources is worrying as production and consumption patterns are not sustainable. The Global Environment Facility wants Zambia to come up with sustainable production and consumption patterns in order to value resources and gain livelihoods from them. The lessons from Siavonga will be shared at National level, Africa and global level which will help to increase allocations for Zambia,” he said.

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