Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) has urged Government to promote community private partnerships in forest resource management to curb unsustainable charcoal production and encroachments in forest areas.
CEJ Head of Programmes Ricky Kalaluka said that Government should promote community private partnerships agenda in order to leverage financial resources for private sector investments in community forestry.
Mr Kalaluka has since cited Dambwa Forest Reserve in Livingstone District, Southern Province, as an example where community private partnerships can be a success.
He said communities living in the fringes of the remaining Dambwa Forest Reserve have a chance to build tourism businesses.
Mr Kalaluka said that communities near Dambwa Forest Reserve can have high value Non Timber Forest Products businesses such as honey production are able to derive tangible benefits from the forest resources.
He has since commended forest management stakeholders in Zambia that convened the National Forest Indaba 2022 to dialogue on unsustainable charcoal production and encroachments in forest areas.
Mr Kalaluka has also praised World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment for facilitating the Forest Indaba as an important activity.
“Community Private Partnerships (CPP) represent a significant departure from the traditional Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), as they place emphasis on forming partnerships with local communities in which business-oriented approaches assume significance in the management of forest resources,” he said.
Mr Kalaluka said as opposed to CBNRM, CPPs enable the involvement of private companies in the conservation agenda even when cooperation is still maintained with governments and international organizations.
He said that some of the forest reserves of ecological significance in the country are located in areas where communities can engage with the private sector to develop tourism products which can create ecological and economic benefits for the local population.