The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zambia has welcomed the six-point plan adopted by the Government towards improving the management and governance of forestry sector.
The plan was revealed by Vice President Ms. Inonge Wina at Ndubula Primary School in Rufunsa recently during the commemoration of the 2017/2018 national tree planting season.
WWF Zambia Country Director Nachilala Nkombo said the plan has come at the right time considering the current state of forestry management in Zambia.
“While forest and forest related sectors are estimated to contribute a minimum of a billion dollars a year, we know that Zambia’s massive forest and forest related resources are have not be fully accounted for, hence undervalued or underestimated,” Ms Nkombo said.
“We believe the adoption of this plan represents a turn-around strategy to place value on the sector and harness it prudently as one of core pillars for the economy,” she said.
This is according to a statement issued by WWF Zambia Head of Communications and Marketing Eneya Phiri.
Ms Nkombo said WWF recognises that the main challenge currently facing the forestry sector is that the Zambian forest resources are unsustainably utilized due to inadequate investments in human resources and local governance arrangements.
“We welcome this plan that includes a massive tree planting exercise dubbed “Zambia plants a million trees”, commencement of Community Forestry Management as provided for in section 29 of the Zambia Forest Act Number 4 of 2015, a ban on export of raw timber of all species, a multi-sector task force on adding value to forestry, implementation of the national REDD strategy and the implementation of the forest investment fund,” she said.
Ms. Nkombo hailed the commitment made at the same event by Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata to boost investments towards the Forest department in particular.
She said the measures are in line with the position in the 7th National Development plan that recognised forest as a growth sector.
“As WWF-Zambia, we are committed to working with government to realise this plan and call upon other ministers, NGOs and the private sector to lend support to these plans.”
She also called on government to learn from years of tree planting to ensure the rolling out of the six-step plan, promotion of natural regeneration in the National REDD strategy, and identification as well legislation of ecologically sensitive areas as no-go areas for unsuitable development by 2020.
“We wish to congratulate the government on this forward-thinking initiative aimed at protecting, preserving and empowering Zambia’s forestry sector for the benefit of current and future development efforts,” Ms. Nkombo said.