By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) has urged the New Dawn Administration to consider coming up with a Statutory Instrument – SI for ZERO Charcoal production.
Commenting on 400 by 50kg bags of charcoal impounded in Kapiri Mposhi by the Forestry Department,
CEJ has since called for investment in clean alternative energy and sustainable alternative livelihoods for communities involved in charcoal production.
CEJ Executive Director Maggie Mwape said the New Dawn Government deserves praise as 141 countries including Zambia recognized the importance of forests by signing the Glasgow Forest Declaration on November 12, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland during the Conference of Parties (CoP) annual summit (COP 26).
Ms Mwape said the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, signed by key forest nations, aims to reduce deforestation to zero by 2030.
“This has raised hopes to curb the devastating impacts of deforestation in Zambia. If we could get deforestation to zero, it would be an incredible achievement both in terms of carbon, for biodiversity and conservation,” the CEJ Executive Director said.
She said CEJ will in January 2022 launch a Conservation Action Campaign called “Stop the Chop” contributing towards achieving the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests.
Ms Mwape said that the forest cover for Zambia is estimated to be about 45.9 million hectares representing about 61.04% of the total land area.
“It is one of the most forested countries in Southern Africa. However, the deforestation rate is estimated at 276,000ha per year. Of the forests lost, it is estimated that 64.31% was to agriculture, 32.81% was to urban areas (including unplanned settlements) and the rest to mining and other activities,” she said.
She said the major questions and concern for Zambia were how far Zambia would go towards halting deforestation.
“Can the New Dawn Administration sign an SI for ZERO Charcoal production then invest in clean alternative energy and alternative livelihoods? Are communities aware and able to appreciate carbon credit trading and its benefits? What binding national legislation have been put in place that makes it illegal for companies and financial institutions to fuel deforestation?” she asked.