Government nods VCA as Chief Bunda bunda takes bull by its horns

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WHILE Climate Change and its effects are still text book theories for others, it is all too real for Chief Bunda bunda and his subjects in the Soli land of Rufunsa District.
Dry streams, delayed rains and unpredictable weather patterns that negatively affects agriculture and ultimately food security in his chiefdom is the price they have had to pay for environmental degradation emanating from deforestation or carbon emissions.
For the traditional leader, the situation must be corrected sooner or later.
However, he knows all too well that to win the Climate Change fight, all must be involved in the battle.
In walking his talk, Chief Bunda Bunda undertook a journey covering hundreds of kilometers from Rufunsa to Ndola at the invitation of HIVOS Southern Africa to grace a Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) project stand at the International Trade Fair last weekend.
The VCA is a five-year programme established to amplify the voice of local and national civil society for just climate action and is supported by the Dutch government under “Power of Voices”.
And the Trade Fare attracting more than 800 exhibitors as well crowds of ordinary people, HIVOS could not have picked a better ambassador than Chief Bunda Bunda.
The traditional leader captured the attention of President Hakainde Hichilema as he toured stands and the two leaders briefly discussed the devastating effects of climate change for Chief Bunda bunda’s people and the nation as whole at the Hivos Southern Africa stand in the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment.
He elaborately explained that it is important for his people and those of other communities to get involved in climate action and that the local voice has to be heard and respected as they are ones affected by it the most.
“We used to have predictable patterns of rainfall but now we don’t have predictable patterns of rainfall. If we receive rainfall maybe it will be more than expected and we have floods or maybe it goes before the time of maturity of crops. This means the people suffer because of climate change, he explained.
“Now this is mostly because we don’t have irrigation systems in our area, we depend on rainfall now if the rainfall comes and it’s not predictable, it affects the agriculture. That’s why it is important for the people to be involved in the Climate Action agenda”.
Chief Bunda Bunda said slow down climate change, he had banned charcoal burning in his chiefdom and wished that his fellow traditional leaders would do the same.
He noted if the cutting down of trees continued many places will become deserts that would not receive rainfall.
And speaking on the sidelines of the Zambia International Trade Fair minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu, said it is the ordinary people that lived amongst the natural resources and therefore needed to be educated on their preservation.
“If there are units of people that we should bring on board are the ordinary people because the ordinary people live among the natural resources. You can only reduce deforestation if you educate the people to start alternative livelihoods like farming” he said.
The minister said he found the VCA project exciting because it had a component of environmental justice.
Meanwhile, Hivos’ Voices for Just Climate Action Country Manager William Chilufya said the institution is lobbying and advocating for grassroots voices to be part of the National and Global development agenda hence the choice of working closely with local traditional leaders.
Chilufya expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment for its willingness to engage civil society on climate action saying it was the best way “we can begin reversing the climate change crisis”.

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