PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has said that the nation is expected to face serious effects of climate change and adaptation to the current and anticipated effects is a priority of the Government.
Speaking at State House when students from the European Union (EU) member countries paid a courtesy call on him yesterday, Mr Banda said that the effects of climate change on Zambia were severe and would be worsened by the country's geographical location.
The students from 27 EU member countries were the winners of the 2007 development youth prize, a competition that involved highlighting the impact of environmental change on developing countries.
The visit to Zambia was chosen as a prize because the country offers an ideal environment to help people appreciate climate change and sustainable development.
"The poor suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change. Deforestation and stripped land exacerbates flooding and drought, which in turn makes survival harder.
"A national climate change response strategy has been prepared to coordinate all the various efforts aimed at addressing the impacts of climate change," Mr Banda said.
Currently, he said that the Government was considering the role that the forests could play to mitigate the effects of climate change by ensuring that important carbons were sunk.
President Banda said that Zambia was chosen as one of the pilot countries under the United Nations Initiative of Reducing Degradation in developing countries.
President Banda said that the Government would this year review the forestry policy to improve the management of forest resources.
The president said that the Government was also scaling up awareness programmes. He further said that Zambia was preparing to attend climate change talks in Denmark this year.
Mr Banda also said that his Government had put tourism as a priority sector because it has the potential of mitigating the effects of the global economic meltdown, which has affected the country's economy.
He said that the Government would continue facilitating growth in the tourism sectors.
Speaking at the same occasion, EU head of delegation, Derek Fee thanked President Banda for accepting to meet the students and teachers from EU member countries.
He said that with the opportunity of meeting Mr Banda and undertaking visits to tourism attractions, the students would have best memories of Zambia
Dr Fee said that the students and the teachers would visit the tourist attractions in the country before returning to their respective countries on Saturday.
Copyright © 2009 The Times of Zambia [5 March 2009]