The Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) has been lauded by the Zambian Government for spearheading the “Stop the Chop Campaign” in Mafinga District, Muchinga Province, a region critical as the source of the Luangwa River.
Mafinga District Commissioner, Boyd Kaonga, expressed his appreciation to the Department of State of the United States of America and the Zambia United States Alumni Association for their invaluable support in the Campaign.
Deforestation and land degradation are top priorities for the Zambian Government, given their detrimental impact on the environment, biodiversity, and citizen well-being.
Speaking at the official opening of the Traditional Leaders Dialogue, organized by CEJ in Mafinga District, Commissioner Kaonga emphasized that the region, blessed with abundant natural resources and biodiversity, faces significant challenges related to deforestation.
Illegal logging, unsustainable agricultural practices, and population pressure have exerted strain on the forests, posing a threat to their existence.
However, Commissioner Kaonga expressed confidence in the commitment of traditional leaders and communities to address deforestation issues. He praised the Chiefs and stakeholders present at the dialogue for their dedication to the welfare of the people and the preservation of the natural heritage.
Commissioner Kaonga emphasized the significance of traditional leaders in safeguarding the environment and promoting grassroots development. He encouraged a collaborative approach to tackle deforestation challenges and endorsed sustainable practices that protect natural resources for future generations.
The Traditional Leaders Dialogue served as a platform for collective action, fostering discussions on innovative and culturally-aligned solutions while promoting alternative livelihood activities that contribute to prosperity without harming forests.
Freeman Mubanga, the Head of Research and Studies at CEJ, expressed his organization’s delight in the positive reception of the “Stop The Chop Campaign” in Mafinga District, initiated last year.
He explained that the Campaign aimed to address the root causes of deforestation in the region and devise alternative solutions. The Traditional Leaders Dialogue provided a forum for stakeholders to identify key challenges and collaborate on an action plan for resource mobilization and implementing sustainable solutions.
The CEJ, along with the support of traditional leaders and communities, envisions a future where forests thrive, biodiversity flourishes, and sustainable livelihoods coexist with nature.