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Building Resilience: Zambia’s Response to Climate Change Challenges

Bernadette Deka-Zulu (PhD Researcher-Public Enterprise)

As highlighted in the last two articles, Zambia, like other African countries, is highly vulnerable to climate change with rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and more extreme weather events affecting its agricultural sector. This sector is crucial to the country’s economy and employs over half of the population, but erratic rainfall and prolonged dry spells have caused a reduction in crop yields and food shortages, while floods and storms have caused destruction. These impacts have led to significant economic losses, increased poverty, and food insecurity for vulnerable communities. Urgent action is needed to address climate change in Zambia and effective measures should be put in place to help communities adapt and build resilience.

It is positive to note that there has been a rise in the number of organizations working to address climate change in Zambia, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations. These organizations are playing a critical role in helping Zambia adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Zambian government has established several institutions to oversee climate change-related issues. For instance, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is responsible for implementing the country’s climate change policy, while the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) is charged with coordinating climate change activities across different sectors.

In addition to government agencies, several NGOs are also working to address climate change in Zambia. These organizations include the Zambia Climate Change Network, which brings together NGOs, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to advocate for climate change action. Other NGOs working on climate change in Zambia include the Conservation Farming Unit, the Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia, and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Many international organizations are also providing support to Zambia in addressing climate change. These include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), among others. The UNDP, for example, is working with the Zambian government to promote sustainable land management practices, while the World Bank is supporting the country’s renewable energy sector through its Scaling Solar program.

Overall, the involvement of these organizations is crucial to help Zambia to build resilience to climate change impacts, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and achieve sustainable development.

Adaptation and Mitigation measures

In Zambia, the government and several partners are implementing measures to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change but this is not enough as it appears our people have not embraced the changes. For instance, how are commercial farmers adapting to these climate changes for mitigation purposes, as they indulge in heavy cutting down of trees in preparation for farming.

Some farmers mostly small-scale have not yet adapted to using drought-resistant crop varieties and improved agricultural practices, like conservation farming, which are being promoted to enhance resilience. NGOs, such as the Conservation Farming Unit and the Zambia Climate Change Network that provide technical support and advocate for sustainable agriculture policies should go an extra mile in educating not only farmers but also different members of communities on the impacts of climate change and what they can do to adapt to its negative effects.

Reforestation programs are also being implemented to increase forest cover, with co-benefits such as providing habitat for wildlife, improving soil fertility, and mitigating the impacts of climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide. 

Renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind power, are being developed to increase access to electricity and reduce dependence on hydroelectric power vulnerable to climate change impacts.


Several awareness-raising campaigns are being carried out to educate the public about climate change and encourage them to take action. One such campaign is the “National Climate Change Awareness Campaign,” which was launched by the Zambian government in 2019. The campaign aims to raise awareness about climate change and promote sustainable practices across the country. It includes workshops, radio and television advertisements, and community-based initiatives such as tree planting and clean-up campaigns. The campaign is championed by the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection, with support from NGOs such as the Zambia Climate Change Network.

Another campaign is the “Greening Zambia by Planting Trees” initiative, which was launched by the government in 2020. The campaign aims to plant 100 million trees by 2021 and involves partnerships between the government, NGOs, and private sector organizations. The initiative includes community-based tree-planting programs, awareness-raising campaigns, and the establishment of forest plantations. The campaign is championed by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, with support from NGOs such as the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation.

These campaigns play a critical role in raising awareness about climate change and promoting sustainable practices in Zambia. By engaging with communities, the government and NGOs can promote behavior change and encourage individuals to take action to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Climate Change Insurance

Climate change insurance is a concept that has gained traction in recent years as a means of providing financial protection to vulnerable communities in the face of extreme weather events caused by climate change. In Zambia, where the frequency and severity of droughts, floods, and other natural disasters have increased due to climate change, the need for climate change insurance is especially urgent. The idea behind climate change insurance is that communities pay a small premium to an insurance provider, which then pays out compensation in the event of a climate-related disaster. This can help communities recover more quickly and reduce the financial burden of responding to a disaster.

However, there are several challenges to implementing climate change insurance in Zambia. One of the main challenges is affordability, as many communities may not be able to afford to pay the necessary premiums. In addition, there may be issues with access, particularly in rural areas where insurance providers may not have a presence. Finally, there may be difficulties in accurately assessing and quantifying the risks associated with climate change, which can make it difficult to determine appropriate premiums and compensation levels. Despite these challenges, efforts are underway to develop and implement climate change insurance schemes in Zambia, with the support of international organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


Funding is a critical component of efforts to address climate change in Zambia. There are several sources of funding available to support climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts in the country. One of the main sources of funding is government grants, which are provided by the Zambian government to support climate change initiatives. These grants are often provided through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and are used to fund a variety of projects, such as reforestation programs, renewable energy projects, and drought-resistant crop development.

In addition to government grants, international aid is also an important source of funding for climate change initiatives in Zambia. International organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and the African Development Bank provide funding for climate change projects in Zambia, with a focus on building resilience to climate change impacts and promoting sustainable development. Private sector investments are also becoming increasingly important as a source of funding for climate change initiatives in Zambia, particularly in the areas of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.

Despite the availability of funding, there are still significant gaps in funding for climate change initiatives in Zambia. To address these gaps, there is a need for increased investment in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, as well as more efficient and effective use of existing funding sources. This will require collaboration between the government, international organizations, and the private sector, as well as a commitment to long-term funding and investment in sustainable development.

The Green Fund

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a global fund that was established in 2010 to support developing countries in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The GCF is the largest climate fund in the world, and its mission is to help developing countries shift to low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathways. Zambia is one of the many countries that has benefitted from the GCF’s funding, which has helped the country to implement a range of climate change adaptation and mitigation projects.

The Fund is governed by a Board, which is responsible for overseeing the fund’s operations and approving funding proposals. The Board is composed of 24 members from both developing and developed countries and operates on the principle of equal representation between developed and developing countries.

The Board is supported by a Secretariat, which is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the fund, providing administrative and technical support to the Board, and ensuring effective communication with stakeholders. The Secretariat is based in Incheon, South Korea, and is led by an Executive Director who is appointed by the Board.

Some of the projects that have been funded by the GCF in Zambia include the Scaling up Renewable Energy Program (SREP), the Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Program, and the Zambia Climate Resilient Water Management Project. These projects have had a significant impact on Zambia’s efforts to tackle climate change, by promoting renewable energy, reducing deforestation, and improving water management practices.

The SREP, for example, has helped to promote the use of renewable energy in Zambia by supporting the development of solar and hydropower projects. The Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Program has helped to reduce deforestation by promoting sustainable forest management practices and supporting the establishment of community-based forest enterprises. The Zambia Climate Resilient Water Management Project has helped to improve water management practices and increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to the impacts of climate change.

Overall, the GCF’s funding has played a critical role in supporting Zambia’s efforts to tackle climate change and build resilience to its impacts. By promoting sustainable development pathways and supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation projects, the GCF is helping Zambia to transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

How to access the Fund

To access the Green Climate Fund, countries would need to submit a project proposal that meets the fund’s eligibility criteria. These criteria include the project’s potential to contribute to the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the country’s readiness to implement the project, and its potential to generate transformational impacts.

Once a proposal is submitted, it undergoes an initial assessment by the Green Climate Fund Secretariat to determine its eligibility. If the proposal is deemed eligible, it undergoes a more detailed review by independent technical experts, who provide recommendations to the Green Climate Fund Board.

If the Board approves the proposal, the project can move forward and receive funding from the Green Climate Fund. The fund provides a range of financial instruments, including grants, loans, and equity investments, to support climate change adaptation and mitigation projects in developing countries.

In conclusion, Zambia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which has had significant negative effects on the country’s economy in various sectors. There has been a rise in the number of organizations, including government agencies, NGOs, and international organizations, working to address climate change in Zambia. However, urgent action is needed to address the impacts of climate change in Zambia, and we all are called upon to be part of these efforts in changing our lifestyles in order to adapt. We remain committed to pushing for stronger policies and measures to realize adaptation and mitigation in order to deal with this climate crisis and environmental destruction. 

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