BRITISH High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley has disclosed that Zambia is set to benefit from the £100 million fund aimed at protecting some of the world’s biodiverse landscapes.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu, Monday, High Commissioner Woolley said six environmentally critical landscapes across the globe would receive funding to tackle biodiversity loss and combat climate change, adding that one of the areas was the KAZA Transfrontier border in Zambia.

‘UK Prime Minister has just announced a biodiverse landscape fund that will be going towards protecting some of the world’s most precious biodiverse landscapes and that is a fund of £100 million. One of those areas is the KAZA Transfrontier border, 25 percent of which is here in Zambia and so we look forward to working with your ministry and many others here. Six environmentally critical landscapes across the globe will receive funding to tackle biodiversity loss and combat climate change. The landscapes selected are each home to rare and endangered species, including elephants and rhinos in Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA),” he said.

“The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area spans five Southern African countries, with 25 percent of the KAZA region located in Zambia. This includes national parks of Kafue, Sioma-Ngwezi, Mosi-o-Tunya, and their adjourning game management areas and forest reserves. Conserving these areas of outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity are central for Zambia’s tourist industry and for ensuring sustainable local livelihoods. By driving action to protect these landscapes and habitats, the fund will protect wildlife in these areas, through conserving protected areas, improving connectivity between habitats for key species and combating the illegal wildlife trade.”

High Commissioner Woolley further disclosed that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson invited President Hakainde Hichilema to Glasgow for the COP26 UN climate change summit in November.

“I discussed with the minister the letters that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had sent to His Excellency President Hichilema following his appointment as President last month but included a letter of congratulations outlining various areas where we look to work in partner with the new Zambia administration in areas we have joined parity but increase very much sustainable economic development, green growth and addressing the effects and mitigate the impact of climate change,” he said.

“The second letter from my Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to invite President Hichilema to Glasgow for the world leaders summit next summer in the beginning of November and this will proceed the COP26 UN climate change summit which is bringing together not just governments but civil society activists, businesses from across the world to concrete climate action to address the climate emergency we now face as the world.”

The British High Commissioner commended the creation of the Green Economy Ministry, saying it spoke to the importance of government’s desire to address not only the effects of climate change in the environment but also bring about economic growth that is sustainable.

“Secondly I congratulated you honorable minister on the creation of the new Ministry of the Green Economy and environment. I think it speaks very much to the importance of which both of our governments see the importance of not just addressing the effects of climate change in the environment but also economic growth that is sustainable but mitigates the impact on the environment. So we very much welcome it. It is the process like the creation of the new ministry we look very much forward to continuing to engage in the weeks, months, and years ahead,” he said.

And High Commissioner Woolley said Zambians needed to be proud for once again showing how democratic the country is when huge numbers of people turned out to vote.

“We had a fruitful discussion honorable minister with you this morning where first of all I congratulated you and your party on your election victory, on your appointment as minister. Also to congratulate the people to turn up in numbers to vote in the elections last month and to regardless of which parties they supported. They have to be proud that once again Zambia has shown the way in upholding democracy integrity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nzovu assured the British High Commissioner that his ministry would utilise whatever funds allocated to it prudently.

“We want to assure you, Your Excellency, that any funds committed to us, to my government, will be prudently utilised. His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema has on several fora committed to operating on zero tolerance. All the funds will be utilized prudently, we will ensure there are quality projects being done and the projects are done timely,” he said.

Nzovu expressed optimism that the outcome of COP26 would see to it that sufficient financial resources would be put on the table to enable developing countries like Zambia make a meaningful contribution to addressing climate change.

“We are working on speeding up implementation of current programs under the NDC through the development of bankable projects to enable us to mobilize required resources. This is where we require your technical support. In terms of our expectations for the success of COP26, it is our hope that we will be able to resolve the issue of article six of the Paris agreement in terms of the applicable rules on the carbon market in order to send a strong signal to the market,” he said.

“We also hope sufficient financial resources will be put on the table to enable development in developing countries like ours to make a meaningful contribution to addressing climate change and to also safeguard the lives of our people. Your excellency, we are taking the issue of climate change very seriously, we are encouraging the media to see us as often as they can because we need to educate our population on the effects of climate change, climate change is with us.”

He also asked the UK government to relook Zambia’s status as one of the red list countries to the UK, arguing that this country had made advancements in addressing COVID-19.

“As you are aware your excellency, Zambia at the moment is on the red list in the UK as far as COVID-19 is concerned. We hope that with the recent advancement, slow down COVID cases, this can be re-looked at because right now I think we are only standing at 75 percent positivity cases with various reviews, with various interventions my government is making, we wish to request you review it in the coming days, in the coming months,” said Nzovu.

“We understand the limitations it’s giving because we really have to live within this pandemic. We also understand and appreciate the fact that you are taking up a certain course as our delegates land, that is commendable. It is important that COP26 succeeds.”