Lusaka, Saturday (April 20, 2024)

Green Living Movement (GLM) has welcomed Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu’s suspension of Cord Wood Permits, suspending charcoal production in three districts in Central Province.

Team Leader Emmanuel Mutamba said the announcement is timely because Zambia is in a difficult situation with drought which has been declared a National Disaster and Emergency.

Mr. Mutamba, who is also Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) Board Member, said Zambia is already late in improving the energy accessibility for many Zambians, standing at below 30% of Zambians who have access to hydro electricity.

He, however, wondered why the Minister only suspended Cord Wood Permits in three districts when tree cover loss is a national problem.

“It is a big of which we are wondering how people are going to survive in the face of drought. Although we know the devastating effects of charcoal production in the Country, why the three districts? If we are ready to deal with the problem of charcoal, we need a national approach because charcoal is being produced in so many other districts,” he said.

The GLM Team Leader said fighting deforestation cannot end at suspending Cord Wood Permits as Government needs to provide alternative livelihoods and energy.

“On top of that, what is the alternative? If people cannot generate income through charcoal, we must provide other alternatives especially that there has been a crop failure this year. It is a difficult situation. However, if Government has solutions to the situation to help people earn their living in the face of drought, we would be happy as a member of the civil society movement,” he said.

Earlier this week, Green Economy and Environment Minister Collins Nzovu banned issuance of Cord Wood Permits three districts—Itezhi-tezhi, Mumbwa, and Shibuyunji that have been identified as hotspots for illegal tree cutting, contributing to widespread land degradation and deforestation.

Mr. Nzovu emphasized the critical role of trees in mitigating climate change, highlighting their ability to absorb and store carbon emissions.

The Cabinet Minister indicated that individuals currently holding valid permits have until May 1st, 2024, to conclude their charcoal production activities.

The development will see stricter enforcement measures, including enhanced patrols and penalties for non-compliance, which will be implemented to ensure adherence to the directive.

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