THE ZAMBIAN government has charged that until the African region embraces appropriate climate resilience and adaptation measures, the region’s development trajectory will continue to decline.
Transport and Communications Minister Kapembwa Simbao feared that the situation would result in perpetual poverty especially in rural areas.
Speaking during the official opening of the United Nations Development Programme “UNDP”, ‘Last Mile’ workshop to Strengthen Climate Information Systems Across 11 Sub Saharan African, Mr. Simbao said that paramount among the needed measures was the generation of tailored weather and climate information and its application in planning and decision making process at national, community and personal levels.
“African countries must invest in sustainable systems that are reliable and capable of producing well packaged weather and climate information that is required to save lives and improve livelihoods,” he said.
Mr Simbao noted that there was always a gap in funding national Meteorological Services and hence it was economic imperative to invest in sustainable systems that were reliable.
He said due to competing demands on the national treasury ,most African countries including Zambia had inadequate budgetary resources to the Meteorological Department.
He said the poor rainfall performance of the 2014/2015 rainy season and the current 2015/2016 rainy season in the SADC region had underscored the vulnerability of the economies and livelihoods of their people to climate variability and climate change.
“The infamous power load shedding associated with low water levels in our hydro-power dams attributed to the poor rainfall has literally extricated the economic vibrancy of the country. “Consequently, productive man-hours at all levels of production have fallen, further compounding the situation,” Mr Simbao said.
He said climate change was a reality and countries were encouraged to embrace appropriate climate resilience and adaptation measures.
“If we are not careful, our development trajectory will continue
declining and this will result in perpetual poverty for our people, especially the most vulnerable in rural areas. And Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD) director Jacob Nkomoki said floods and droughts had cost Zambia US$ 13.8 billion over the past three decades, which was equivalent to a 0.4 per cent loss in annual economic growth. Mr Nkomoki said it was estimated that rainfall variability alone would keep an additional 300,000 Zambians below the poverty line and cost Zambia US$ 4.3 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product over the next decade.