Government has called on all stakeholders to make concerted efforts in mitigating effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

Southern Province Permanent Secretary, Mwangala Liomba said government was concerned with issues of climate change hence the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee and a fully-fledged natural resources and climate change department.

Officiating at the launch of an International Climate Initiative (IKI) project at Kalomo’s Pazuri lodge yesterday, Mr. Liomba called on communities to counter activities that contribute to environmental degradation.

“The project entitled ‘operationalising the landscape approach for biodiversity benefits: policy, practice and people’ aims at reducing emissions, sustainable use of biodiversity and reduced poverty through the use of landscape approaches,” Mr Liomba explained.

Mr. Liomba further stated that understanding climate change, land use and other environmental issues such as informal settlements in protected and wildlife areas, landscape degradation and the observance of environmental laws and regulations were highly desired from communities, for the IKI project to realise its goals.

“This project seeks to enhance the capacity of stakeholders to better identify trade-offs and synergies amongst competing for land uses. It will address capacity challenges at a local level in terms of knowledge, conflicting interests and organizational aspects thereby enhancing landscape sustainability by empowering marginalized groups to participate in decision making dialogue more effectively.” Liomba said.

The Southern Province Permanent Secretary explained that the five- year project would contribute towards filling knowledge gaps, inform policy alternatives and promote engagement for more sustainable land use to benefit both the biophysical and social elements in the district.

He said the project was being implemented by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in partnership with the forestry department and the Zambia Community-Based Natural Resources Management Forum (ZCBNRMF) and was funded by the German government and supported by the Global Landscape Forum.

The project launch was witnessed by Kalomo district commissioner, Cosmas Chiiba, heads of government departments, all the three chiefs of Kalomo district and civic leaders.

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