ZAMBIA will this month be among the 55 countries to sign and ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change in New York, United States of America.
This follows the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the Conference of the Parties (COP).
The document will be deposited at the United Nations in New York and be opened for one year for signatures on April 22, 2016 which is the Mother Earth Day.
The agreement will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55 per cent of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification.
It is critical, therefore, that I look at some essential elements of this agreement and what Zambia contributed to the treaty.
The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the UN Climate Conference (COP21) covers all the crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion.
The essential land marks included mitigation which would ensure reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal of two degrees Celsius.
A transparency system and global stock-take that is accounting for climate action and adaptation are other issues the agreement seeks to address.
Other crucial areas include loss, damage and support. Support will include finance for nations to build clean, resilient futures as well as setting up a long-term direction.
This builds on the momentum of the unprecedented effort which has so far seen 188 countries contribute climate action plans to the new agreement, which will dramatically slow the pace of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The new agreement establishes the principle that future national plans would be no less ambitious than existing ones, which means that these 188 climate action plans will provide a firm floor and foundation for higher ambition.
Countries will submit updated climate plans – called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – every five years, thereby steadily increasing their ambition in the long-term.
Climate action will be taken forward in the period before 2020.
Countries will continue to engage in a process on mitigation opportunities and will put focus on adaptation opportunities.
Additionally, they will work to define a clear roadmap on racketing up climate finance to US$100 billion by 2020.
This is further underlined by the agreement’s robust transparency and accounting system, which will provide clarity on countries’ implementation efforts, with flexibility for countries’ differing capabilities.
The Paris Agreement sends a powerful signal to the many thousands of cities, regions, businesses and citizens across the world already committed to climate action that their vision of a low-carbon resilient future is now the chosen course for humanity this century.
The Agreement underwrites adequate support to developing nations and establishes a global goal to significantly strengthen adaptation to climate change through support and international cooperation.
The already broad and ambitious efforts of developing countries to build their own clean, climate-resilient futures will be supported by scaled-up finance from developed countries and voluntary contributions from other countries.
There have been unparalleled announcements of financial support for both mitigation and adaptation from a multitude of sources both before and during the COP.
Under the Paris Agreement, the provision of finance from multiple sources will clearly be taken to a new level, which is of critical importance to the most vulnerable.
International cooperation on climate-safe technologies and capacity building in the developing world to address climate change are significantly strengthened under the new agreement.
On the other hand, climate variability and change has become a major threat to sustainable development in Zambia.
The country is already experiencing climate induced hazards which include drought and dry spells, seasonal and flash floods and extreme temperature.
Some of these hazards, especially the droughts and floods have increased in frequency and intensity over the past few decades and have adversely impacted food and water security, water quality, energy
and livelihoods of the people, especially in rural communities.
Recent climate trends based on records from 1960 to 2003 indicate that mean annual temperature has increased by 1.3 Degrees Celsius, since 1960 an average rate of 0.34 degrees Celsius per decade.
On the other hand, the mean rainfall, over Zambia has decreased by an average rate of 1.9 millimeters per month (2.3 per cent) per decade since 1990.
The future trends in the country are towards a higher average temperature, a possible decrease in total rainfall and some indication of heavy events of rainfall.
So what were some of Zambia’s contributions to the Agreement?
Well, the country intends to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by implementing three programmes driven by the country’s climate Response Strategy and supported by national development policies.
The policies include energy, forestry, agriculture, water, town and country planning, sanitation, and transport.
The programmes have been developed based on Zambia’s plans and supported by various climate-related activities such as Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), National
Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and Technology Needs Assessment (TNA).
As a minimal contributor to global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, the country places significant importance and priority on adaptation to the effects of climate change in order to enhance the resilience of its population, ecosystems infrastructure, productive and health systems.
The key socio-economic sectors identified as most vulnerable to climate change impacts include; agriculture, water, forestry, energy, wildlife, infrastructure and health.
All the adaptation actions have strong synergies with mitigation actions. The mitigation and adaptation programmes elaborated in this Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) would be integrated in the Seventh National Development Plan (SeNDP) currently being developed.
Planning for adaptation and mitigation programs under Zambia’s INDC would be integrated in existing planning processes and supported by national budget allocation to sectors, ministries and sub–national authorities towards implementing of both the domestic and international supported efforts.
The planning process recognises the efforts being made to establish the national climate change development council for climate change coordination in the country as stipulated in the Draft National Policy on climate change.
Furthermore, the national adaptation planning process being undertaken by government provides a good basis for long term adaptation programming and mainstreaming of climate change adaptation into the existing national planning processes.
The National Designated Authority for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has already been designated and is expected to play a key role of a
clearing house or entry for climate change projects to be funded by the GCF in Zambia.
The process is on-going to select a National Implementation Entry (NIE) and establishing a National Climate Change Fund (NCCF).
The effectiveness of the INDC implementation programme will be through the development and strengthening of existing monitoring reporting and verification systems to track processes of implementation of both the mitigation and adaptation programmes.
Zambia’s contribution will be implemented with both domestic and international support.
It is established that over US$50 billion is required for both mitigation, US$ 35 billion for domestic efforts with substantial international support and adaptation US$ 20 billion for actions across the programs up to 2030.
Of this, US$ 15 billion will be unconditional support provided by the Zambian government and US$ 35 billion will be conditional support to be sourced externally.
The country will require international support in form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer, and capacity building to fully realise the intended contributions.
Further analysis will be necessary to refine the required investment cost and determine the domestic support as more data and results of studies become available.
During implementation of the programmes, Government will engage all stakeholders to achieve the emission reduction target as part of the country’s contribution to the attainment of the two degree goal.
Since the INDC is part of the national development and planning process for climate change issues, it will be monitored and evaluated according to the existing monitoring and evaluation framework.
Further, this will be done in wide consultative and participatory manner.
In addition, since INDC is the planning tool, it will be reviewed and updated as part of the national planning process.
Zambia considers her INDC fair and ambitious enough to contribute to law carbon and climate resilient economy by 2030 in accordance with its special national circumstances and desire to become a high middle income and prosperous nation by 2030.
The country is a low contributor to the global green -house gas emission. In developing the INDC, Zambia considered the general principles and provisions of the convention especially those related to common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities as well as equitable access atmospheric space.
In light of the above, Zambia would endeavour to make significant emission reduction through the implementation of this ambitious INDC and provide leadership in the region through a set target of 47 per cent emission reduction target, with 2010 being the base year.
The country’s INDC is guided by the country’s desire to reduce poverty, attainment of low carbon climate resilient economy, sustainable development and become a high middle income and prosperous nation by 2030 in line with its revised sixth Nation Development Plan and the country’s Vision 2030.
The successful implementation of the country’s INDC is conditional and dependent on the level of support to be provided through the convention and other multilateral and bilateral arrangements by implementing ambitious mitigation and adaptation programmes across the prioritised sectors.
This will support the well-being of the citizens and contribute to the attainment of the objective of the convention once adequate support is provided.
This is what constitutes fairness and ambition for Zambia’s INDC. With all this contribution and effort, my prayer is to see Zambia domesticate some of the conventions that she has ratified so that we can start enjoying and feeling the benefits.
That is all for today and have a blessed week.
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