Lands Minister arrives in Cancun for global environment meeting

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May 27, 2014 - Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Hon. Mwansa Kapeya arrived in Cancun, Mexico to lead a Zambian delegation to the 5th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly. He was met on arrival at Cancun International Airport by Minister Counselor at the Zambia Embassy in Washington DC, Mr. Ben Kangwa. The Embassy is accredited to Mexico on non residential basis.

Other officials from the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection who arrived in Cancun as advance party include the Permanent Secretary Ms. Inutu Suba and Director – Environment and Natural Resources Mr Godwin Fishani Gondwe, who is also the Operational Focal Point for GEF in Zambia. Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister, Hon. Gabriel Namulambe, in his capacity as alternate delegation leader at this particular Assembly, will join the delegation on 27th May, 2014. The meeting ends on 31st May, 2014.

The Minister will take part in roundtable discussions on a number of thematic topics including Legislation and Fiscal Policy in Support of Sustainable Forest Management and Climate Change, Sustainable and Resilient Cities, Mainstreaming Natural Capital in Decision Making and Financing Green Growth

GEF is one of the most important international financing mechanisms for Multilateral Environmental Convention and supports projects that are aimed at improving the environment and contribute to achieving global environmental benefits around the world.

Zambia is a member and chair of the GEF Southern Africa Constituency comprising the following countries – Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Nineteen (19) projects, most of which focus on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Land Degradation have benefitted from a total funding of just over US$11 billion from 2006.

On 25th May, 2014, the GEF Assembly kicked off with the 46th Council comprising Council Members representing 32 constituencies out of which 16 are from developing countries and 12 are from developed countries. Zambia, represented by Council Member Fishani Gondwe spoke on behalf of eight other countries in Sothern Africa.

In his initial submission during the 46th Council Meeting Co-chaired by the GEF Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Naokoi Ishii and Juha Pyykko, Council Member for Estonia, Finland and Sweden Constituency, Mr. Gondwe observed that Sustainable Land Management (SLM) "is a primary focus" In all Southern Africa countries and that land is the key factor on which all socio-economic activities take place. He added, "The Southern Africa region understands that SLM is the anchor in addressing Biodiversity, Climate Change and Land degradation in contribution to achieving Sustainable Development.

On the sidelines of the Assembly, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) also released its report titled Delivering Global Environmental Benefits for Sustainable Development. The report outlines specific recommendations for the GEF in advancing environmentally sustainable development in the next 6th GEF. Three messages that came out of this report to the Assembly are that environmental degradation must be tackled in a more holistic way, that sustainable development should be at the core of the GEF interventions and that the GEF should continue to be catalytic and innovative while actively seeking to effect permanent and transformational change. The report also highlights STAP's numerous accomplishments in the period between 2010 -2014.

Meanwhile, Lands Permanent Secretary, Ms. Inutu Suba attended a side event co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and an organization known as CLASP. The event highlighted efforts that are paving the way to accelerate energy efficiency benefits for other lighting sectors.

In her intervention to the panel discussion, Ms Suba stated that there was a low understanding from energy consumers in Africa of the need to observe and implement energy conservation measures due to insufficient and or lack of proper information packaging. She further stated that energy and environmental sectorial objectives go hand in hand such as measures that aim to use resources in a more efficient way which in turn yields savings that help to satisfy the rising energy demand.

Issued by
Patricia Littiya
First Secretary (Press and Public Relations)
Embassy of the Republic of Zambia
2419 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington DC 20008
Phone: +1 202 265 9717
Fax: +1 202 332 0826