The WWF is run at a local level by the following offices...
- WWF Global
- Central African Republic
- Central America
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- European Policy Office
Why Protecting the Kafue Flats is a big deal for Zambia
The above illustrates the losses that the Zambian people will face if this wetland is degraded and also shows us the scope of the challenges that will automatically arise if this natural asset is poorly managed. Wetlands are part of our natural environment and are critical natural assets that need protection and conservation. By definition, these are areas where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods during the year, including during the growing season.
The flats are home to two important national parks; The Blue Lagoon and the Lochinvar National parks. Its beautiful natural patterns of marshes, lagoons, and floodplain grasslands that characterize it provide ideal habitat for a wide variety of bird and wildlife species. Due to its global conservation value, the Kafue Flats was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1991. Despite its importance, the landscape faces several threats that include environmental degradation and climate change. Both trends negatively impact economic and livelihood activities that depend on the ecosystem. For example, the national load shedding we experience today, poor harvests in southern parts of Zambia, encroachments, and increased human-wildlife conflicts are directly due to drought-related water scarcity. As a result of repeated crop failures, some communities have experienced increased risks of hunger and undernutrition leading to wrong agriculture and fishing practices. Others have increased their dependency on protected species further driving loss of biodiversity to meet their food needs.
Some of the drivers to degradation and climate change in the Kafue flats include high abstraction of water for agriculture, water supply, and hydropower, overexploitation of wildlife, and unsustainable food production methods. Climate change has also led to greater competition for limited water and pasture between wildlife and livestock and an increase in invasive alien species that have threatened fish reproduction
It is evident that the core of the Kafue flats is changing and will not cope with the double forces on rapid population and climate change. We cannot wish away Kafue Flats climate-related risks we face nationally. If not managed proactively, climate change will be too costly to bear. As Climate change affects everyone, we need all on board to prevent and manage climate-related future deficits of water, power, and food that will result from poor or weak action. Our strong collective actions today can reverse the impact of climate change on the wetland and can help us build a secure and sustainable future for ourselves and our children.
Climate change provides the GRZ an opportunity to develop and implement economic policies that are climate-smart and build sustainable livelihoods and green local economies. Before the nation losses more time, they can immediately work on reducing its climate-related disaster management costs by leading stakeholders to develop sustainability standards for economic activities and s for large-scale solutions to climate impacts that don't leave anyone behind - especially communities and businesses who derive shared benefits and profits from the Kafue Flats. GRZ requires a Kafue wetlands management regime that will ensure water and other biodiversity resources held in the Kafue flats are monitored and are used efficiently and allocated equitably
For businesses, the fight against climate change is not about corporate social responsibility but about business survival and sustainability as direct and indirect beneficiaries of services from the wetland. Yesterday was the best time for them to have moved from the wayside in responding to climate impacts facing the economy. Today is not too late for them to invest in driving sustainability practices and climate-smart technologies needed to meet the water, energy, and food needs of our growing population. Lusaka citizens should know that 44% of the water supply comes from the Kafue river, responsible water use actions are needed in Lusaka and Kafue to protect water at the source and use water efficiently and sparingly at the destination.
On our part as WWF, we believe climate change is both a major environmental and economic problem that needs bold actions if livelihoods and the economy will be secured. Through the Power of Voices initiative to be launched in Kafue this week, WWF will join forces with HIVOS and Peoples Action Forum, Akina Mama, Womens’ Alliance Zambia to amplify voices of both rural and urban communities that offer innovative and nature positive solutions that will drive a just and climate-smart economy that benefits everyone. We will reach out to communities, women, and youth affected by climate change in Chirundu, Mazabuka, Luangwa, Kafue, Lusaka, Siavonga, Chikankata, Rufunsa, Chongwe, and Itezhi tezhi to provide solutions to climate change that both the government and private sector should invest in at scale to secure the flats and create a new green development model for the whole country.