Government acts to safeguard wildlife and timber

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The Zambian Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (ZPCC) has reiterated its commitment to fighting wildlife crime and illegal timber trade. ZPCC Secretary Nickson Chilangwa says Zambia is determined to meet aspirations of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation ICCF group of protecting natural resources.

Mr. Chilangwa who is also Luapula Provincial Minister commended the ICCF group for organizing the Global Legislative Summit on National Parks and protected areas in Washington D.C. He said Government has put in place legislation to ensure that natural resources are protected.

He said the Parliamentary Caucus has lobbied and influenced the adoption of three important pieces of legislation namely; The new Forest Policy Act, The National Parks Policy and The Wetland Policy.

“Yes indeed threats are real on our wildlife in Zambia, as pressure on the Wildlife keeps depleting due to commercial and domestic reasons, and also as the locals keep harvesting the resources for survival. There is also pressure on the habitats and population growth generating a growing need for more land for agricultural use and settlement,” Mr. Chilangwa noted.

The Minister further said parliamentarians uphold the vision to influence Policy and Legislation for environment sustainability as contained in the 2015 – 2020 strategic plan. Mr. Chilangwa said ZPCC has achieved a lot of success in the last five years such as the launch of the strategic plan and hosted similar caucuses in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Other field trips taken have been to Kafue wetlands, Bangweulu wetlands, and Sioma National Park.

Mr. Chilangwa said this in Washington D.C during a four day summit organised by ICCF group. Mbabala Member of Parliament Ephraim Belemu, ICCF Group-Zambia Country Director Mulima Wamunyima were also part of the delegation.

And Mr. Belemu also commended Government for measures being undertaken to accelerate efforts of protecting natural resources particularly wildlife and forest. He said in the face of increased threats to national resources, parliamentarians are working at ensuring Zambia takes a leading role both at regional and global level in fighting the illegal timber trade and wildlife trafficking.

Meanwhile, legislator members of the Conservation Caucuses of Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Gabon, Botswana, Namibia, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, celebrated the First World Summit of Legislative Conservation Caucuses at an event held at the historic home of George Washington in Washington D.C.

Leaders of the International Conservation Caucus (ICC) of the U.S Congress and the ICCF also exchanged experiences regarding the most important issues in countries on nature conservation, biodiversity, wildlife trafficking, natural parks and protected areas, community management, adaptation and mitigation to climate change, and the importance of good management of natural resources to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of each member country.

They recognize that good management of natural resources is of vital importance for sustainable development, for long-term economic growth and for improving the quality of life of present and future generations.