Zambia and Italy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation to combat climate change.
Minister of National Development Planning Hon. Alexander Chiteme, MP, and Italian Minister of Environment, Land and Sea Mr. Sergio Costa, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective countries in Rome, Italy on Friday.
The Memorandum of Understanding is aimed at enhancing cooperation between Zambia and Italy on matters relating to reducing Climate Change vulnerability by enhancing risk assessment and implementation of various adaptation and mitigation measures. Some of the areas of focus will include systematic weather and climate observations and research, transfer of technology, enhancing environmental and natural resources protection, promotion of the use of secure, clean and efficient energy with a view to stimulate the transition towards low carbon economy.
The Italian Government further expressed willingness to support the Zambian Government in promoting Climate Smart Agriculture, sustainable forest management, reduction of deforestation and forest degradation. The cooperation agreement will also support sustainable waste management, sustainable integrated water management and reduction of water system vulnerability impact.
Mr. Chiteme and Mr. Costa expressed happiness that through the MoU the two countries have created practical pathways to achieve tangible tangible outcomes on combating climate change. Mr. Chiteme and Mr. Costa agreed to implement joint projects with the Italian Government committing to provide technological transfer, technical assistance and capacity building for Zambia.
The agreement will also promote private sector participation and activities to implement Public Private Partnership (PPPs) in tackling climate change. The two Ministers observed the need to strengthen public education and awareness on climate change, and its adverse effects on economic development.
The Italian Government has committed to support the Zambian Government to raise investment funds for combating climate change and promotion of Sustainable Development as espoused in the Seventh National Development Plan.
To this effect Mr. Costa said Italy has secured a catalytic fund of Euro 2 million (€ 2 million) to bring the Memorandum of Understanding into effect in terms of preparing project documents that will be submitted to various funding agencies that include, among others, the European Commission, United Nations agencies, the World Bank Group, and other multilateral agencies to assist Zambia fulfill its commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Mr. Costa informed Mr. Chiteme that wherever there was need to increase funding, Italy may decide to grant additional financing to the Zambian Government through the Ministry of National Development Planning (MNDP).
Mr. Chiteme indicated that the Zambian Government had done sufficient groundwork in identifying projects that are a priority to the Government, which have already been identified in Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and the National Climate Change Policy. The financing is in line with the mission that the Ministry of National Development Planning has undertaken to secure financing to meet the objectives of the 7NDP through co-operations like the ones initiated with the Italian Government.
Immediately after the signing of the MoU, the Zambian and Italian Ministers tasked Ministry of National Development Planning (Development Planning and Administration) Permanent Secretary Mr. Chola Chabala and Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea Director General Francesco La Camera to confer and set up modalities for immediate actions in a bid to ensure speedy implementation of the projects.
Mr. Chabala and Mr. Camera were immediately asked to set up a joint committee between the Zambian and Italian Governments to coordinate project development that will lead up to the actualisation within 2019.
In their meeting post signing of the MoU, Mr. Chabala and Mr. Camera discussed possible projects that include solid waste management, tree planting, and investment in renewable energy especially solar. They also discussed possibilities of strengthening collection, analysis and dissemination of data relevant to the observation of climate change and measurement of its impact on the potentially vulnerable economic sectors in a decentralised manner.
Mr. Chabala informed his Italian counterpart that he will communicate the names of the Zambian experts to sit on the Joint Committee. His counterpart pledged total support in implementing the projects and assured Mr. Chabala that he will assemble a team of experts to work with the Zambian technical personnel. Meanwhile, the Italian Minister invited Mr. Chiteme to the Inauguration of the African Center for Climate and Sustainable Development to be held in Italy in 2019 during which meeting the Ministers could discuss progress from the technical teams.