The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Zambia says the country’s forest resources and services require a financial boost to ensure sustainable management for the benefit of millions of stakeholders and increase of government revenue.
WWF Zambia has since recommended that government should boost financing to the forest department to ensure sustainable management and use of natural capital.
WWF Zambia country Director Nachilala Nkombo said this when she made a presentation to the committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural resources on how the weaknesses and challenges raised in the report of the auditor general on sustainable forest management could be addressed.
“The Auditor General’s report observes serious under investment and poor governance of the forest sector, consequently the state continues to lose millions of potential revenue from strategic revenue resource. As WWF Zambia, we therefore recommend that government should put in the mechanism to support the coordination of players whose economic activity depends on the forest sector,” she said.
Ms Nkombo said the main challenge currently was that forest resources are unsustainably utilised due to inadequate human resource and financial capacity to manage them.
Other recommendations by the organization included proposal for the development of a national green economy strategy that fully accounts for and secures Zambia’s natural capital, especially the forest ecosystems.
This is according to a statement released by WWF Zambia Head of Communications and Marketing Eneya Phiri.
“The forest ecosystem is a bedrock for the development of other economic sectors especially the energy, agriculture and tourism sectors,” she said.
WWF Zambia also recommended that government develops a 100-year vision for strategic management of forest resources.
“An indaba should be convened to articulate a 100-year vision on sustainable management of forest resources, mobilize investment, develop strategies for sustainable use to support growth and conservation objectives as a strategy for long term sustainable development,” she said.
Ms. Nkombo also called for the regulation of domestic and transboundary timber trade to ensure transparency in the timber trade so that no Government revenue is lost.
According to a 2015 report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with government, the nation’s forest resources and services were valued at over US$1 billion per annum or 6.3% of GDP, creating 1.4 million jobs.