Zambia launched its eighth 4-year National Development Plan in 2022 with an aim to build a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030 with desired socio-economic transformation for better Zambian lives. The formulation of the Plan used both the top-down and bottom-up approaches. On the one hand, the top-down approach entailed analysing the cause-effect of the country’s developmental challenges and opportunities through research and extensive consultations. It also involved the setting, by policymakers, of the strategic direction for the attainment of the country’s development aspirations as well as the implementation of regional and international commitments. On the other hand, the bottom-up approach involved the provision of input by the public and private sectors, civil society organisations, including the youth, women, the aged, persons with disabilities and ordinary citizens into the strategic direction provided by policymakers.
The 8th National Development Plan of Zambia is a comprehensive plan that covers the period from 2022 to 2026. The plan focuses on three main pillars: economic diversification and job creation, reducing poverty and inequality, and building resilient infrastructure and sustainable communities.To achieve these goals, the plan emphasizes the need to promote private sector-led growth, increase investment in infrastructure, and improve human development outcomes, such as education and healthcare. It also seeks to enhance environmental sustainability and reduce the country’s vulnerability to climate change. The plan outlines specific strategies and targets for each of these pillars, such as increasing access to electricity and improving road networks. It also includes a framework for monitoring and evaluating progress towards these targets.
Overall, the 8th National Development Plan is a roadmap for Zambia’s development over the next five years, with a focus on achieving sustainable, inclusive, and equitable growth. Designed within the plan involves the environmental sustainability which enables development plans to have climate sensitivity at all stages. The Plan recognizes the importance of environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the country’s long-term development and includes several strategies and targets to address these issues. Zambia’s 8th National Development Plan aims to enhance environmental sustainability and climate resilience through the following provisions. To promote renewable energy, Zambia will increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix by developing hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass resources. This will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security. The plan recognizes the importance of sustainable management of natural resources, such as forests, wildlife, and water resources, for ecological, social, and economic sustainability. It includes strategies to strengthen institutional and legal frameworks, improve monitoring and evaluation systems, and enhance community participation in natural resource management. Zambia recognizes the vulnerability of its economy and society to the impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and extreme weather events. Hence, the plan includes strategies to strengthen climate adaptation measures, such as improving early warning systems, enhancing water management practices, promoting drought-resistant crops, and improving disaster risk management.
In line with UN SDG’s climate goals, the plan highlights the importance of promoting sustainable urbanization to address environmental, social, and economic challenges associated with rapid urban growth. It includes strategies to promote compact and connected urban areas, improve access to basic services, and enhance environmental sustainability in urban areas.
However, there are challenges major challenges to be overcome. Starting from lack of diversity of income sources in the country, a host of other issues include unsustainable agricultural practices, inadequate literacy, unavailability of laws to adequately protect the environment, low levels of technical and technological capacities, funding handicaps, insufficient data on climate, lack of early warning systems, etc.
The report identifies this aptly as it divides the timeline into three states: current, transition and desired. The current state that was 2021 consisted of the low diversification, unemployed, high poverty and slow decentralization era. With the implementation of the strategic interventions, Zambia hopes to transition to a stage of job creation, economic transformation and good governance and sustainable environment. Climate can’t be viewed in seclusion of social-economic goals for any country including Zambia. Achieving prosperity of common people through development will go hand-in-hand with environment sustainability.
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