TRANPARENCY IN DISPOSING-OFF OF ILLEGALLY HARVESTED MUKULA
We call for accountability and transparency in disposing-off of the illegally harvested Mukula Tree logs in Luapula Province and other parts of Zambia by the Department of Forestry.
While ActionAid Zambia is impressed with the stringent measures employed by the government through the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment in curbing the illegal harvesting and trade of the Mukula Tree, we need transparency.
The pronouncements made by the Green Economy and Environment Minister Collins Nzovu that illegal harvesting of Mukula has reduced in Luapula province should be commended and supported.
As an organization focusing on the protection of the environment and mitigating the effects of climate change, we shall remain supportive to the livelihoods of the people especially the marginalized such as women and the youths.
We also commend the efforts made by stakeholders such as the Zambia National Service (ZNS) and the Department of Forestry in confiscating all the Mukula logs that were illegally harvested in Luapula province.
The Mukula tree has for some time been exploited at an alarming rate around the country and illegally harvested and exported allegedly by some Zambians.
The illegal harvesting was apparently rampant and done by the politically exposed individuals and financial elites who had gripped power over the Mukula trade despite the existence of regulations such as the Forestry Act No. 4 of 2015.
The illegal harvesting of the Mukula left the poor and vulnerable communities with short-term benefits but not sustainable in a long run. ActionAid always advocates for sustainable mechanisms of empowering the people.
We are therefore optimistic that the operations that is being carried out in Luapula Province against illegal Mukula tree harvesting will be extended to other parts of the Zambia where these trees are in danger of being wiped out.
The confiscation and planned disposal of the illegally harvested Mukula tree will also foster compliance by other organizations and individuals involved in the forestry and timber business.
ActionAid further commends the government for promising to create a transparent mechanism that will be used to dispose of the illegally harvested Mukula that has been confiscated.
We are in the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and as a signatory to the Glasgow Declaration on halting and ending deforestation in the country by 2030, we further call on the government to enact the Climate Change Bill which has been long overdue.
Once enacted, the law as that will strengthen government’s efforts in effectively managing resources in a way that is sustainable for the benefit of the communities and contribute to restoration of ecosystems that have been degraded.
Musonda Kabinga (Mr)
Interim COUNTRY DIRECTOR-ACTIONID ZAMBIA