By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Zambia’s Fourth Republican President Rupiah Banda says unity of purpose is the only way the country can solve the climate change issues currently affecting the country.
Mr Banda said unity by all stakeholders will help to fight climate change where different ideas
Mr Banda said the future is greatly threatened by the rapid land degradation which has affected reduced productivity adding that the future emphasizes on renewable products with increased focus on bio-economy.
Speaking during a Copperbelt University Forest Symposium under the theme ” Forest our Hope for the Future,” held at Garden court in Kitwe today, Mr Banda said the greediness and collective irresponsibility is threatening the forests which have a goal to end poverty, improve nutrition and improve access to clean water.
“The future is threatened by climate change and consequently reduction in precipitation for both agriculture production and energy generation. The SDGs number 15 can only be realised if the country sustainably manage forest which are important for food and nutritional security of the people.
“There can never be access to clean water if watershed areas as well as water recharge areas are not protected. There can never be sufficient foods available to rural communities if the nutritious indigenous fruit trees are cut. Zambia stands at the crossroads on issues of the environment. This requires all of us to reflect, take our stand and like warriors participate in preserving forests and planting trees. There is a lot at stake. Time to act is now,” he said.
He emphasized on the need to identify degraded lands and engage in landscape restoration for future generations taking into account the desire and wishes communities to encourage ownership.
Mr Banda said there is need to promote indigenous tree species to ensure protection of biodiversity and other ecosystem services hence the participation of all stakeholders.
And an Academician at the Copperbelt University Felix Kalaba said that Zambia is losing about 31 hectares of forest per hour which is equivalent to 51 football pitches per hour
Prof Kalaba who is a Dean of the Academics said the rate at which the forests in the country are disappearing is alarming and needs concerted effort by all stakeholders to curb the escalating degradation of the forest.
Meanwhile Speaking at the same event CBU Vice Chancellor Naison Ngoma said fast rate of forest degradation as reported in the UN report quoting Zambia as having the fastest rate of forest disappearing is alarming adding that to act and address the climate change issues is now.
Prof Ngoma said urbanization has greatly contributed to the climate change as evident with the mushrooming of compounds dotted around in the district.
He demanded that CBU be part of those addressing the climate change challenges as the role of the university is to align themselves with societies where exist in.
“There is need to change the mindset from business as usual to business an usual where people became responsible and start planting trees and move away from cutting trees,” he said.
The symposium was attended by various Academicians, Muchinga PS Joyce Nsamba, Representatives from the civil Society Organizations, and government heads of department.