3rd June 2023
BAN ON LOWER ZAMBEZI MINING COMMENDED
We commend the Government of Zambia for halting mining activities in the Lower Zambezi National Park by Mwembeshi Resources Ltd as this decision is meant to save human lives and is in the best interest of the local people and the sustainability of the environment around the lower Zambezi National Park.
Commercial mining activities in the Lower Zambezi, if not strategically managed will cause permanent damage and extreme land degradation to the National Park, thus exacerbating negative impacts on the ecological systems and causing more atrocities with regards climate change and its effects on community livelihoods.
This decision has meant that communities have been saved from the negative effects of pollution and those working in the tourism sector have also seen their jobs been saved, because mining activities in the Zambezi National Park would have seen the loss of jobs within the tourism sector, a sector believed to be employing over 7000 people. This number is more than the jobs that the mining company would be created.
The decision by the government has also averted the potential threat of an increase in human-wild animal conflicts as well as the reduction in forest cover leading to more emissions of Green House Gases thereby aggravating the climate change crisis.
ActionAid is aware that the climate change crisis has a bearing on increasing credit facilities in an effort to mitigate the impacts, thus increasing the amount of debt the country is faced with.
Not only is Zambia among countries vulnerable to climate change impacts but equally heavily indebted. More than ever, Zambia needs to strengthen its adaptive capacity to climate change impacts. This is only possible with climate financing.
However, such financing continues to be a challenge due to the heavy indebt that the country is faced with resulting in stiffer austerity measures which include cuts in public spending. To pay back the debt, funds are raised through investment in fossil fuels and industrial agriculture.
Therefore, ActionAid calls on the government to strengthen domestic resource mobilization mechanisms towards environmental sustainability and climate change as improved local financing ultimately contribute to climate change resilience and alleviate the debt crisis.
We also call on the government to set up mechanisms that will ensure optimal economic and social benefits for the communities such as setting up more Community Beneficiation Funds derived from tourism in order to prevent environmentally degrading activities in these protected areas
Andrew Itai Chikowore (PhD)
Interim COUNTRY DIRECTOR- ZAMBIA