GOVERNMENT’S high reliance on development partners to fund high relevance climate change programmes is risky and will adversely impact the performance of key productive sectors such as agriculture, a report has shown.
According to a report released by the Ministry of National Development Planning, government has been advised to allocate more funds towards climate change to ensure sustainability of its key productive sectors.
“The share of high relevance projects which primarily consists of projects funded by development partners indicates government’s heavy reliance on funding from donors such as AfDB, USAID, GEF, SIDA, EU and German government among others. Such heavy reliance on donor funds could be very risky to key sectors and to the whole country in general, as lack of donor funding support will mean that climate change effects could result in a serious adverse impact on the performance sustainability of Zambia’s productive areas such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries, energy, tourism, etc. A dedicated approach towards maintaining sustainable relationships with multiple donor partners to ensure a consistent flow of funds is inevitable. In a move to ensure the sustainability of its key productive sectors with manageable risk, government should consider allocating more funds towards climate change interventions instead of placing heavy reliance on donor support,” the report read.
The report further revealed that majority of high relevance climate change related expenditure were funded by development partners.
“The majority of climate change-related expenditure is spent on programmes with high climate change relevance. For the period under review, approximately 47 percent of all climate-related expenditure in Zambia was noted to be of high relevance, meaning that government funded activities with a clear primary objective of delivering specific outcomes that improve climate resilience or contribute to mitigation during the period under review. It is important to also note that the share of high relevance projects primarily consists of government projects which received funding from development partners,” it read.
“Meanwhile, 45 percent of climate related expenditure in Zambia was noted to be of medium relevance which means that government also funded climate change activities with secondary objectives such as biodiversity and conservation, water storage, water efficiency and irrigation that is motivated by the need to see improved livelihoods as this also protects communities against drought. Only eight percent of climate change expenditure was noted to be of low relevance as this was motivated primarily by poverty reduction but at the same time, building household reserves and assets and reducing vulnerability in areas of low relevance in climate change.”
The report highlighted that in 2018, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was only allocated three percent of climate change budget with 0.9 percent disbursed while the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection was allocated 31 percent with no disbursements done.
“Ministry of lands and natural resources was allocated only three percent of the total climate change budget in 2018, and of this allocation, 0.9 percent was disbursed for spending. There was 100 percent utilisation of funds disbursed as shown in the actual expenditure vs disbursement variance. In contrast to this, Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection was allocated 31 percent of the total climate change budget, a higher portion compared to Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources but nothing was disbursed to fund climate change initiatives of that ministry in 2018,” it read.
The report further stated that the reduced climate change allocation in the national budgets is a source of concern and needs to be investigated to ensure adherence to the National Policy on Climate Change.
“The budgeting on climate change activities is consistent with the 2016 national policy on climate change and the revised seventh national development plan, 2017 to 2021, aimed at allocating more funding resources towards climate change intervention and this is evidenced by an upward trend over the three years under review. On the contrary, we observed that, whilst government is allocating funds for climate change, the releases to fund the climate change programmes and activities and the actual expenditure has been progressively going on and is far from matching with that budgeted allocations over the three years. This is a cause for concern which should be investigated and rectified such that measures are taken to ensure adherence to the national policy on climate change strategy for Zambia,” read the report.