President Edgar Lungu says Climate Change can reverse developmental gains made by Zambia.
The Head of State said Zambia is deeply concerned that there is a growing risk of adverse climate change and catastrophic impact in the agriculture, water and sanitation, energy, infrastructure and health sectors.
Speaking during his address to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Marrakech, Morocco, President Lungu said climate change has reduced productivity in the agriculture sector and brought challenges in the energy sector in Zambia.
“The recent unpredictable nature of the climate has undermined critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture resulting in reduced productivity and perennial food shortages, “said President Lungu.
“In the energy sector, the decreased rainfall experienced in the recent past has caused reduced water levels in our major water bodies. This has led to power deficit and subsequent power rationing as the country depends largely on hydropower,” he added.
President Lungu said this has resulted in loss of productivity in critical sectors of the economy such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture.
The President pointed out that government has put measures in place to address the adverse effects of climate change and cited the ratification of the Paris agreement.
“By signing the Paris Agreement on climate change, my country renewed its commitments and resolves to take action on the ground that can put it on a path to sustainable prosperity. To this effect, my government has ratified the agreement and will soon deposit the instruments of ratification to the United Nations,” he said.
The President further outlined steps taken by his government as it transitions to low carbon and climate resilient economy such as the formulation of a national policy on climate change, implementation of climate smart agriculture and development of nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the agriculture, energy, transport, waste management and forestry sectors.
He said other measures include scaling up use of renewable energy, sustainable management of forests and strengthening early warning systems.
President Lungu also called for the adoption of strategic decisions under the first meeting of parties to the Paris Agreement and appealed for financial support towards climate change related activities.
“Adoption of strategic decisions under the first meeting of parties to the Paris agreement would facilitate finalization of modalities, procedures and guidelines for effective implementation of the provisions of the Paris agreement and scale up provision of financial support to developing countries such as Zambia to implement their nationally determined contributions and other obligations under the convention and its Kyoto protocol and the Paris Agreement,” said the President.
And speaking earlier, United Nation secretary general Ban Ki Moon has called for the removal of subsides on fossil energy as a way of stimulating increased use of clean energy.
Mr Moon called for the development of science that will get the world out of the current adverse climate situation.
The UN Secretary General said in order to protect the future of the globe, there is need for science innovations that promote the attainment of global warning.
“Need to develop science that will help the world get out of the current situation by raising aspirations with the best available science. Get on a global emissions pathway that reduces warming temperatures well below 2 degrees celsius and as close down to 1.5 degrees,” he said.
Mr Moon advised political leaders to take up a leading role in getting everyone involved in the quest for a better world devoid of climate change challenges.
“Political and moral leadership is key in implementing the Paris agreement as the more the leaders understand climate change the more they act decisively on the matter. We need all people to be involved in climate change matters because they are indispensable in realizing its potential,” he said.
The UN Secretary General urged leaders to come up with policies in their respective countries that foster climate adaptation and resilience activities for national development adding that climate change is closely tied to all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
“We now have to translate this word (the Paris Agreement) into effective and concrete policies and actions. This is critical to securing the planet and protecting the vulnerable and drive shared prosperity, low emission development and climate resilience, will advance all the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September last year.” he said.
Mr Moon said countries have supported the Paris Agreement because they realize that national interests are better achieved by pursuing the common good.
He further disclosed that the coming into force of the Paris Agreement on November 4 this year was years ahead of expectations and thanked UN member countries for their commitment to climate change matters that has seen 109 ratify the agreement representing 75 percent of all member states.
“I want to thank all heads of state and government for their commitment towards honouring the Paris agreement. The Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4, years ahead of expectations. The Paris Agreement is a complex ambitious and far reaching vision by the UN and international community. So far I09 countries have ratified representing 75 percent of all the countries,” he said.
Mr Moon said the UN will help countries implement the agreement because development will only come if countries act quickly on climate change.
He said when countries work together they achieve more than they can individually further stating that the UN is best forum to forge partnership to fight climate change.
Climate change has brought about strong partnerships between government, organisations and the private sector.
He strongly urged countries to increase their mitigations ambitions of their national climate plans by the year 2018.
Mr Moon said the private sector must also do more and called on elimination of fossil fuel energy subsides to accelerate the transition to more clean energy.
He also called on developed countries to honour their commitment to mobilise a climate finance of a 100 billion dollars by 2020 to help developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate vulnerabilities.