Saturday, July 13, 2024

Zambia secures funds for climate adaptation with Commonwealth support

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Vulnerable communities in Zambia will receive vital support to address water shortages caused by climate change, through a project being implemented by the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation (MWDS), developed with the help of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH).

The project was approved for funding by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in July 2022.

The country has seen a significant drop in average annual rainfall over the past 40 years, especially in the southern part of the country, with repeated droughts, flash floods and extensive degradation of land.

Since 1960, the mean annual temperature has increased by 1.3°C, which is far above the global average, and rainfall in the rainy season has decreased by 7.1mm every decade.

Water is increasingly scarce, directly impacting people’s lives as well as the economy, particularly the agricultural sector.

Shorter agricultural seasons, for instance, have forced farmers to plant more and later in the season.

To help communities adapt to these conditions, the GEF is providing US$2 million to set up a solar-powered water supply scheme that aims to ensure access to safe water, improved sanitation, irrigate farms and water for livestock.

Senior Hydrogeologist in the Ministry of Water Development, Beatrice Kanyamuna-Pole, said:
“This project will be crucial to improving the lives and livelihoods of 85,000 people of the Nyimba and Lumezi Districts in Eastern Province, where flash flooding and episodes of drought are a part of life. Many people live in extreme poverty and do not have access to drinking water. Not only does the project envisage a reliable source of fresh water, but it will be using solar-powered water pump systems, reducing greenhouse gas emissions while building resilience.”

Chief Climate Change Officer in the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, Beausic Chongo, also acknowledged the contribution of the Commonwealth National Climate Finance Adviser for Zambia, Othniel Yila, who worked closely with the Government to prepare the original proposal to secure GEF funding.

Mr Yila, said: “This project is an important opportunity for the Government of Zambia to support a climate resilient future, protect its economic and social sectors from effects of climate change, and build towards achieving Zambia’s Nationally Determined Contributions and other important goals that will support this nation well into the 21st century.”

The two-year project will assess the groundwater supplies in several rural areas and build human, technical and institutional capacity for sustainable groundwater management while creating an enabling environment for the solar-powered water systems to operate successfully and sustainably over the long term.

Lessons learned from the project will also be compiled to facilitate future up-scaling and replication of good practices.

The contribution of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub is part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s efforts to support member countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

It also aligns with the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter: A Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands which seeks to support integrated actions addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.

The CCFAH currently has at least 16 national and regional advisers deployed in various countries; to date, it has supported governments in mobilising more than US$61 million in climate finance, including US$3 million in co-financing.

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