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Community Engagement Vital for Sustainable Forestry

Mrs. Peggy Chirwa, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, highlighted the pivotal role of community involvement in sustainable forestry management during the launch of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre GDP – UNDP – HQ Project. 

Mrs. Chirwa emphasized the challenges faced by forests due to deforestation, climate change, and unsustainable land use practices.

The UNDP Seoul Policy Centre GDP – UNDP – HQ Project aims to empower and support community forestry in Zambia’s North-western and Southern Provinces. 

Focusing on Kasempa and Kazungula districts, the initiative strives for a sustainable future where forests thrive, communities prosper, and biodiversity flourishes.

The project’s primary objective is to contribute to reducing deforestation and forest degradation by enhancing community involvement through the Community Forestry Management Initiative. Capacity-building programs and awareness campaigns will inform communities about existing legal frameworks supporting community forestry.

Mrs. Chirwa emphasized the government’s commitment to sustainable forestry, citing enabling policies and legislation such as the National Forestry Policy of 2014, the Forests Act No. 4 of 2015, and the Community Forestry Management Statutory Instrument No. 11 of 2018. 

Acknowledging 227 recognized community forests covering 5.7 million hectares, she stressed the importance of community participation in maintaining forest integrity.

James Wakiaga, UNDP Resident Representative, commended the project’s timeliness in alignment with the government’s efforts to establish Community Forest Management Groups. 

Key activities include strengthening regulations, developing forest fire protection plans, community empowerment, gender mainstreaming, knowledge sharing, and enhancing forest governance and leadership.

Arnaud Debauge, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC) Green Recovery and Transition Policy Specialist, called for increased collaboration in forestry management and emphasized learning from forestry projects in Korea.

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