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Forest areas within Eastern Province are increasingly under threat of deforestation and forest degradation, contributing to the increased emissions of greenhouse gases in the Province and beyond. This is affecting our climate, specifically the rainfall patterns that we depend on as a country for our food security. An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions has indicated that more than 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere annually from Eastern Province alone.
The Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Project (ZIFLP) is a Government initiative in the Ministry of Green Economy & Environment, supported by the World Bank and partners. Its aim is to improve livelihoods of rural communities in Eastern Province while supporting them to sustainably manage land, forests and wildlife.
The Forestry Department with technical and financial assistance from ZIFLP is supporting the implementation of Community Forestry across the Province. This is being accomplished by engaging communities and their traditional leaders, identifying areas of forest of importance to the community, developing and implementing participatory land and resource use planning, forming Community Forest Management Groups (CFMG’s) who with the consent of their Chief will be responsible for protection and management including controlling access and use.
Following the legal transfer of rights to these communities by the Director of Forestry, the project is supporting the training of Honorary Forest Officers (HFOs), selected by the community, cleared by the Zambian Police and appointed by the Minister for Green Economy and Environment. A programme to train over 400 Honorary Forest Officers has commenced to enable them to effectively and efficiently execute their mandate in support of protection and management of forest areas in their respective communities.