Updates from the Field: Zambia November 2020

By: Kaala B. Moombe (Corresponding/Lead Author), Davison J. Gumbo, Bravedo M. Mwaanga, Esnelly Katongo, Mercy M. Kandulu, Lubomba Bwembelo, Rays C. Mwansa, Likando A. Masheke.

Forest foods in Zambia are diverse and nutrient rich. Photo by Joe Nkadaani/CIFOR

Despite the constraints associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, COLANDS activities have continued since mid-year in its field sites in Zambia. There, the team has supported stakeholder meetings that have yielded plans to continue to monitor and restore contentious forest areas, improve governance in others and continue consultations.

Highlights include:

  • Supported a participatory resource mapping exercise during which village boundaries in Siachitema, Chikanta and Sipatunyana chiefdoms were mapped. This involved an analysis of the social and biophysical transformation of the village landscapes, involving 37 local residents 21 to 31 July 2020. One month later, meetings involving 35 local residents validated the participatory maps.
  • Established assisted natural regeneration (ANR) demonstration plots or sites on both state and cultural landscapes. In addition to monitoring the restoration, social and biophysical dynamics, the ANR plots are meant to serve as instruments for engaging with communities in managing forests landscape. and proposing policy options for their sustainable management.
  • Organised a series of stakeholder engagement events with a focus on the Kalomo Hills Local Forest Reserve No. P.13 (KFR13). The reserve, measuring 152,200 hectares, protects a water recharge system and provides forest products and services to local communities.
  • In the first such event on1 September 2020, stakeholders made a field visit to KFR13, the Nanzhila River, and Bbilili Hot Springs cultural landscape to familiarize themselves with issues concerning the KFR13, ahead of a dialogue workshop on 3-4 October 2020.
  • A stakeholder dialogue meeting 3-4 September 2020 in Kalomo brought participants from province, district, ward, village levels and included the District Commissioner for Kalomo, the Chairman for the Kalomo Town Council, three Chiefs (Chikanta, Siachitema, Sipatunyana), and representatives from government offices of Forestry, Wildlife, Agriculture and Water Resources. While the spatial focus was on KFR13, themes during the event included finding a model to manage the highly contested KFR13 and other similar areas, resulting in these key messages:
    • The enormous social and biophysical transformation of the KFR13 landscape has degraded its natural resources, including water bodies, cultural heritage sites of ecological significance, grazing areas and general livelihoods of the communities within and downstream of KFR13.
    • Serious decline and lapses, in governance of KFR13; this is largely attributed to limited cooperation among key stakeholder institutions.
    • Local communities and traditional leadership now more aware of the impacts of human activities on KFR13 and are seeking ways and guidance regarding how to co-exist with the natural environment within and around KFR13.
    • In collaboration with other stakeholders, especially the Forestry Department, traditional leadership is willing to identify and implement a model to manage the KFR13 landscape and its environs e.g. through restoration activities.
    • Strategic actions are needed to develop integrated land use plans addressing deforestation and land degradation, claims and counter-claims over access to land and other resources in KFR13.
  • A district-level stakeholder meeting 27 October 2020 involved the COLANDS platform “Consultative Working Group” established soon after the launch of the COLANDS initiative in May 2018. Major outcomes included:
    • Agreement that a new land use zonation1 process must begin, based on current use and conditions (mainly conservation) for each zone. Process should be accommodative and participatory.
    • CIFOR, Forestry Department and the Kalomo Town Council should facilitate similar dialogue meetings at provincial and national levels to share the zonation idea, inform policy-makers and support decision-makers regarding such an approach.
    • Relevant institutions must facilitate engagement of communities living in the forest reserves in the dialogue processes and results; community members should participate in tracing of territorial boundaries that relate to the KFR13.
  • A provincial-level stakeholder meeting on 30 October 2020 in Choma included 22 participants from provincial administration, forestry, water resources management, agriculture, livestock and fisheries management, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, National Heritage, Lands Management, physical planning, national planning and the Provincial Permanent Secretary. Key messages included:
    • Agreement with the district that action regarding KFR13 was needed, including a fresh start concerning issues related to the forest reserve (as suggested at the district-level meeting);
    • Government cannot “move” people out of the reserve, as it would be difficult to find land for them
    • Normal formalization of settlements (and use) should be organized through the Ministry of Lands.

Upcoming activities in 2020 in Zambia:

  • The National Stakeholder Dialogue is tentatively planned for the second week of December 2020 in Lusaka. Dialogue (or multilogue) is expected on the key messages concerning KFR13, and it is hoped that policy proposals that could be upscaled over time will be discussed. The event will focus on sharing of key findings from field work and previous meetings.

1 This is not rezoning

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