From Bwalya Nondo
Madrid – Spain
ZAMBIA has been elected vice chair of the Africa Working Group at the on-going United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) conference of the Parties eighth Session (COP8), in Madrid, Spain.
Zambian delegates have also been co-opted into sub-committees of the Africa Working Group whose core objective is to make follow-ups on the 10-year UNCCD strategic plan which spells out measures to be undertaken in reversing or mitigating the effects of desertification.
One of the critical issues that call for the attention of developed country Parties is increased funding to give added impetus to African countries’ capacity to respond adequately to the challenge of fighting desertification. Alternate Head of the Zambian delegation to the conference, Godwin Gondwe, is Vice Chairperson of the Africa Working Group.
Mr Gondwe who is also UNCCD focal point person for Zambia, expressed confidence that the African Group would make a break-through in convincing cooperating partners to consider increasing funding levels in aid of programmes and projects aimed at combating desertification and other environmental concerns across the continent.
Chairperson of the Africa Working Group, Ugandan Stephen Muwaya said implementation of the Convention on desertification would depend mostly on provision of adequate resources by the rich west. Mr Muwaya said Global Environmental Fund (GEF) had taken interest in supporting sustainable management of natural resources in developing countries.
He said this was critical in ensuring prevention of further desertification.
Mr Muyawa said addressing desertification concertedly was vital as this had a bearing on fighting poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and mitigating global warming.
Sub-committee working groups put in place include the Budget Group, Committee for Review of Implementation of the Convention on Desertification, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Science and Technology.
Others are working groups on Global Mechanism and Global Environmental Facility, and the Contact Group on the 10-year strategic plan. Zambian delegates who have been co-opted into the sub-committees are director of forestry in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Anna Masinja, chief accountant, Lawrence Mulama and public relations officer, Bwalya Nondo, both from the same Ministry.
Others are director of planning in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Gideon Lintini, ZAFFICO general manager Obote Siakachite, Nyambe Sishekanu from the Ministry of Agriculture and Nasilele Lubinda from the Ministry of Finance.