i. Climate change context
Zambia is a resource-rich and land-locked southern African country that borders eight countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Angola, Tanzania, and Namibia. According to the World Bank, Zambia is a sparsely populated country with 18.4 million people (as of 2020) living in 752,617 km2.
The World Bank indicates that Zambia is highly dependent on its natural resources, primarily mining and forestry. The country is also vulnerable to climate change. Over the past few decades Zambia has experienced increased magnitude of climate-induced extremes such as droughts, seasonal and flash floods, and extreme temperatures, which stress the most vulnerable sectors, especially agriculture. Zambia’s 3rd National Communication (2020) indicates that the country has experienced an increase of 1.3 °C since 1960, an average of 0.29 °C per decade. Its water availability is expected to decrease by 13% by 2100.
The Global Carbon Atlas (2020) states that Zambia is a low-emitting country, with 0.4 t CO2 per person in greenhouse gas emissions. The 3rd National Communication (2020) shows agriculture, forestry, and other land use as the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions at 95% in total. The remaining 5% is contributed by energy (2.6%), industrial processes and product use (1.3%), and waste (1.1%).
Zambia is a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Non-Annex I country that ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2006 and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, and submitted instruments of acceptance of the Doha Amendment in 2019.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is Zambia’s lead climate change institution, responsible for all climate change activities. In 2018, the Ministry established the Department of Climate Change and Natural Resources to formulate climate change legislation and policy. The Department reviews, sets standards, and conducts education and public awareness of climate change to foster community participation in climate change adaptability programs. The Department also coordinates implementation and evaluation of climate change projects and programs in the country. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Zambia is actively involved in climate change education. In 2021 the Ministry launched the National Climate Change Learning Strategy in collaboration with other agencies, including the Zambia Environmental Management Authority and the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn ) to raise climate change awareness, strengthen climate change knowledge, and mainstream climate change learning into national priority sector policies and systems. The Ministry is the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point for UNFCCC in Zambia and reports climate change activities to the UNFCCC.
Zambia has established the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment to formulate and review legislation on green economy and climate change, promote climate resilience and green economy methods through investments in low-carbon economic activities, and coordinate and collaborate with sector ministries. The Ministry aims to develop and implement climate-resilient projects and initiatives and to promote and coordinate bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the natural green economy and climate change to meet international obligations.
The Ministry of Tourism and Arts is also involved in Zambia’s climate change-related activities. The Ministry’s Master Plan (2018–2038) indicates that it participates in locating tourism facilities that observe climate change and shields them from climatic forces and events such as extreme temperatures and rain. Other Ministry activities include environmental awareness, water protection, tree planting, and improving energy conservation through environmentally sensitive materials and energy efficiency by using renewable energy in all tourist facilities.
The Ministry of National Development Planning participates in planning and implementing climate change-related projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment. For instance, the Ministry participates in the Zambia Strengthening Climate Resilience project (Pilot Program for Climate Resilience Phase II). The project aims to strengthen climate resilience and improve the adaptive capacity of Zambia’s most vulnerable communities in 16 districts in the three northern regions of Luapula, Northern, and Muchinga.
The Zambian Environmental Management Agency is involved in environmental and climate change activities. The Agency provides environmental and climate change awareness programs to encourage public environmental protection, provides input on the environment and climate change policy and legislation, conducts environmental assessments, and enforces environmental regulations and standards in Zambia.
In 1994, Zambia created the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit under the Vice President’s office. The Unit coordinates and monitors disaster risk management programs in the country to minimize loss of life and property from environmental factors. The Unit is tasked with strengthening disaster risk management and response activities to implement appropriate measures against climate change.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia develops and implements policies that support climate change adaptation and mitigation and other environmentally friendly agricultural systems. These policies support crop diversification, increased crop and livestock productivity, and water management practices and fisheries production.
The Ministry of Energy aims to ensure increased access to sustainable energy. It published the Integrated Resource Plan, a power sector plan for the next 30 years that will transform the sector to become climate resilient.
The Department of Planning and Information of the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation aims to “mainstream cross-cutting issues such gender mainstreaming, HIV/AIDS, environment and Climate Change into Ministerial Programs.”
Education and communication
The Ministry of General Education in Zambia coordinates education programs from pre-primary to secondary levels. The Ministry coordinates the development of education curricula in the country, such as the Zambia Education Curriculum Framework (2013), which acknowledges that Zambia faces environmental challenges including water pollution and deforestation. The Framework also recognizes climate change, education for sustainable development, and environmental education as cross-cutting features that must be taught in Zambia from early childhood development to secondary schools.
Zambia’s Ministry of Higher Education regulates the country’s universities and vocational education and training. The Ministry is responsible for transforming Zambia into a knowledge-based country by promoting research and innovation in the education system. The Ministry collaborated with the UN CC:Learn platform and other agencies in developing the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021). The Ministry aims to implement climate change learning into technical education, vocational training, entrepreneurship, and higher education in Zambia.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
Zambia has developed policies on the environment and climate change. Specifically on climate change, the Zambian Constitution (1991, last amendment 2016) Article 257(g) provides that the State will “establish and implement mechanisms that address climate change” (p. 78).
Zambia developed its National Adaptation Programme of Action (2007) “by evaluating the impacts of climate change on the relevant sectors and using Multi-Criteria Analysis, has ranked the identified most urgent needs to prioritize ten immediate adaptation interventions. The sectors that were analyzed are agriculture and food security (livestock, fisheries and crops), energy and water, human health, natural resources and wildlife.” (p. v).
The Water Resources Management Act (2011) mandates Zambia’s Water Resources Management Authority to act on climate change. Section 8(2)(b)(iii) states that the Authority will perform activities that include “measuring, minimizing and managing the impacts of climate change on water resources using effective adaptation approaches and on climate change” (p. 283). Section 8(2)(b)(v) also states that the Authority will ensure “extensive participation in interagency and interagency research planning related to climate change” (p. 140).
Zambia enacted the Environmental Management Act (2011) to ensure environmental protection and actions against climate change in the country. Section 402)(d) of the Act directs the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection to prepare guidelines for managing environmental emergencies, including “Natural and climate change-related to disaster such as floods, cyclones, droughts and major pest infestations or the introduction and spread of invasive alien species” (p. 127).
The Forest Act (2015) of Zambia includes climate in its definition of forest resources: “vegetation, wood and non-wood products and forest ecological services, including the maintenance of soil quality, control of erosion, provision of organic materials and modulating climate.” Section 2(i) of the Act states that the Forestry Department will “undertake and support adaptive research and development of forest resource management, farm forestry, agroforestry and forest products at national, regional and local levels” (p. 92).
Section 40 of the Act’s management plan states that the Department will ensure
Use of traditional knowledge and practices conducive to the rational utilisation of forest resources and the conservation of biological diversity and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such knowledge with the affected local communities (p. 139)
Zambia’s National Policy on Climate Change (2016) is the overall policy for coordinating climate change actions in Zambia. The specific objectives of the Policy include promoting and strengthening implementation of adaptation and risk reduction measures, mainstreaming climate change into policies and plans, promoting communication and dissemination of climate change information, and fostering climate change research and development. On climate education, the Policy suggests that the Government of Zambia “strengthen climate change education, training and public awareness at all levels” (p. 15). It also states that the government should “support higher learning and research institutions on climate-related applied research” (p. 15).
Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan (2017–2021) aims to achieve the country’s broader Vision 2030 on climate change. According to the Plan, Zambia’s government recognizes climate-related challenges such as vulnerability to external shocks and intends to implement strategies to help communities affected by climate change to adapt to these effects.
Zambia developed a National Strategy to Reduce Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+; 2018–2022) to create a “prosperous climate change resilient economy by 2030 anchored upon sustainable management and utilization of Zambia’s natural resources towards improved livelihood” (p. 23). The Strategy outlines interventions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including enhancing participatory approaches to local forest management, encouraging farmers to adopt climate-smart agriculture through enhanced farmer awareness, and promoting energy-efficient wood fuel utilization technologies and alternative renewable energy sources.
Zambia developed the National Energy Policy (2019) partly as a response to climate change and environmental concerns. The Policy was developed due to dynamics in the energy market and effects of climate change. The overall objective of Plan is to “achieve optimal energy resources utilization to meet Zambia’s domestic and non-domestic needs at the lowest total economic, financial, social, environmental and opportunity cost and establish Zambia as a net exporter of energy.” The Policy also promotes scaling up clean energy technologies and energy efficiency.
The Integrated Resource Plan (2021) aims to “transform the resource sector to become diverse, climate resilient, financially stable and capable of providing high quality and affordable service to customers countrywide” over the next 30 years.
Education and communication
The Zambia Education Curriculum Framework (2013) is the country’s National Curriculum Framework for all levels, from early childhood education to tertiary and adult education. The Framework recognizes the effects of climate change on society and ecology and suggests that learners be taught about climate change to be aware of the ecological aspects of climate crisis and learn how to contribute toward addressing climate change (p. 23). The Framework further indicates that teachers at all education levels should teach aspects of education for sustainable development and environmental education to impart knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes.
Zambia developed an Education and Skills Sector Plan (2017–2021) as the overall Education Sector Plan to guide implementation of education programs in the country. The Plan does not include climate change or the environment as a core area of interest. However, the Plan mentions the lack of environmental awareness as the major employability challenge for higher education graduates in the labor market.
Zambia has a Climate Change Gender Action Plan (2018) that was developed to “ensure that Zambia’s climate change processes mainstream gender considerations to guarantee that women and men can have access to, participate in, and benefit equally from climate change initiatives” (p. iv). According to the Plan, in Zambia women comprise over 60% of small-scale farmers at the production level, which is the level most affected by changing weather patterns. The Plan seeks to build their capacity and ensure their access to agricultural products and assets. These products include inputs to grow off-season crops more resilient to drought and floods and promotion of gender-responsive climate-smart agricultural technologies, particularly for women farmers.
Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan (2017–2021) is to implement action plans to achieve the broader national long-term Vision 2030. On climate change, the Plan identifies challenges, including vulnerability to external shocks and climate-induced effects. The Plan states that the government will implement strategies to help communities affected by climate change to adapt to these effects. These include integrating climate-smart techniques to “buffer against natural shocks, such as droughts and the weakening of seed and animal varieties due to the impact of climate change” (p. 62). In the agricultural sector, the government will promote the adoption of climate-friendly practices (including climate-smart and organic techniques) “such as conservation farming, crop rotation, less use of chemical fertiliser and creating public awareness on the adverse effects of climate change” (p. 62). The Plan also aims to improve use of climate data and information.
Zambia has developed the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) to promote and strengthen climate change education in formal and informal education and training systems across all sectors. The Strategy outlines the country’s commitments to mainstreaming climate change education in early childhood education, primary and secondary school, teacher training, and tertiary education, including technical education, vocational training, and entrepreneurship. The Strategy calls for realigning what is taught in teacher training colleges with school curricula and for teacher education programs in higher learning institutions to teach climate change as full courses.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
Climate change communication and education in Zambia are embraced in the National Policy on Climate (2016) on education and action levels. The terms used for climate change communication and education in national policies and laws are diverse and include ‘climate change education,’ ‘awareness,’ ‘environmental education,’ ‘capacity building,’ and ‘training.’
For instance, the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) objective for education and awareness is to “promote communication and dissemination of climate change information to enhance awareness and understanding of its opportunities and impacts” (p. 12). The Climate Change Gender Action Plan (2018) notes the need to broaden gender and climate change training to the provincial level, especially for staff in the Ministry of Gender, other key partners, and women’s organizations and networks.
The National Policy on Climate Change (2016) uses these terms to indicate that the government will “strengthen climate change education, training, and public awareness at all levels” (p. 15). One of the Policy’s strategic objectives for climate communication is to “promote communication and dissemination of climate change information to enhance awareness and understanding of its impacts” (p. 11).
The country’s 3rd National Communication (2020) also uses the terms ‘climate change education,’ ‘capacity building,’ ‘training,’ and ‘awareness’ around climate change communication and education. According to The Zambian Education Curriculum Framework (2013), climate change is a social and ecological problem.
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
According to the 2022 fiscal year National Budget (2022), Zambia has allocated US$ 19 million (ZMW 330 million) to the Green Economy and Climate Change sub-program to coordinate the implementation of climate change-related activities. An extra US$ 1,287,400 (ZMW 22 million) was allocated to the Disaster Risk Management Programme to put in place measures to “reduce vulnerability, exposure to disasters and climate risks” (p. 235). The Ministry of Education (from early childhood development to university education and adult literacy, including management and support services) was allocated US$ 829,408, 997 (ZMW 14,173,396,102). However, no amount was explicitly allocated to climate change communication and education.
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) indicates that the Government of Zambia has allocated funds for sensitization and awareness of climate change learning for 3 years (2021–2024). These funds are allocated to the sectors of energy (US$ 1.5 million), agriculture (US$ 580,000), forestry (US$ 250.000), health (US$ 200.000), general education (US$ 200.000), and higher education (US$ 200.000). Another US$ 1.5 million was allocated to these sectors to mainstream climate change learning into national priority sector policies and systems such as reviewing curricula. The Zambia Development Agency Act (2006) was developed to provide for trade, industrial development, and investment in Zambia. According to the country’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021), the Act supports the Strategy by promoting climate change-resilient trade and investment.
The Government of Zambia launched a 4-year climate change project in 2020 called Building the Resilience of Local Communities in Zambia through the Introduction of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) into Priority Ecosystems, including Wetlands and Forests. The Global Environment Facility approved US$ 27 million for the project to enable Zambia to strengthen the capacity of government and rural communities living around wetlands and forests to adapt to climate change using EbA. However, the amount allocated to climate change communication and education is not indicated.
Between 2017 and 2020, the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Programme indicates that over US$ 300,000 was spent in Zambia on a Ministry of Energy forest regeneration project to conduct training and awareness on the production and use of fixed stoves and improved cook stoves and making of charcoal briquettes.
The 3rd National Communication (2020) indicates financial requirements to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation actions. These include US$ 1.1 million for capacity building for specialists in the health sector on climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation measures. They also include a 5-year (2017–2021) budget for capacity building to implement Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (2008–2030): charcoal US$ 2,242,000, transport US$ 35 million, and waste US$ 3 million. The National Communication indicates an additional US$ 110,000 requirement for training and public awareness on climate change.
Zambia is participating in the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, an African Development Bank Group program collaboratively working with the government and other partners to develop an investment strategy in line with the national development priorities, including strengthening early warning weather systems, integrating climate resilience in infrastructure planning and investments, and strengthening the adaptive capacity and livelihood of farmers and natural ecosystems. Zambia has received a Pilot Program development grant of US$ 1.5 million to support preparation of its investment strategy.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
A recent study by Mubanga et al. (2022), provided an insight into provision of education on climate change. The study reviewed that teachers and pupils' knowledge on climate change was not significantly low. This was because of tertiary level qualification and subject combinations among the educators. It was recommended that tertiary institutions should have a deliberate course or platforms to discuss climate change issues and their effect on the health of populations as well as on the economy of a country. This can also be emphasized to pupils at all levels in Zambian schools.
The Zambian Education Curriculum Framework (2013) is the latest curriculum framework used in Zambia’s schools, from early childhood to secondary schools. The Framework includes climate change as an ecological and social problem that schools should integrate into their curricula to teach students about climate change aspects and how to contribute toward addressing it. The Framework also calls for developing student knowledge and attitudes by adopting an educative attitude to sustainability issues to “improve the capacity of learners to comprehend, participate in and become better at resolving the contentious clash of ecological, social and economic interests in our environments” (p. 22). A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
As a result, climate change has been mainstreamed in some secondary school learning materials. For instance, in the Geography syllabus (2013) for Grades 10 to 12, students study the environment and climate change to learn about climate-induced hazards such as droughts, global warming, deforestation, and desertification. They also learn to understand the impact of climate change on the environment, describe the effects of hazards on people and the environment, and suggest possible solutions.
The Agricultural Science Syllabus (2013) teaches students in Grades 8 and 9 about climate change and the factors influencing agricultural development. The Agricultural Science Syllabus (2013) for Grades 10 to12 in Zambia also includes aspects of climate change. Students are taught about the climate within the crop production topic, to be able to “explain the difficulties limiting the growth of certain crops in some parts of Zambia,” “compare the climatic requirements of various Crops,” and “describe the characteristics of soil suitable to produce crops” among others (p. 8). Students also learn about climate change within the forestry topic, relating to the effects of deforestation on agriculture and climate change. Students are expected to develop knowledge of the causes and consequences of deforestation and climate cycles. Students work in groups to formulate measures for preventing and controlling deforestation.
In the Biology Syllabus (2013) for Grades 10 to 12, students learn about effects of agricultural practices on climate and about deforestation and its effects on soil stability and climate, to be aware of the effects of agriculture and the ecosystem.
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) states that Zambia is committed to delivering a seamless process for learners from early childhood and primary and secondary levels to learn about climate change. The Strategy states that although the Zambia Education Curriculum Framework (2013) for early childhood education to secondary levels includes climate change aspects, schools lack learning and teaching materials and teachers lack knowledge and skills to handle climate issues in the classroom. The Strategy calls for integrating climate change in learning and teaching materials for levels from early childhood education to secondary school levels.
The Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia is implementing the Climate Smart Action Zambia project to improve livelihoods and mitigate climate change in Zambia. The project is implemented in schools through student environmental conservation clubs and provides training on climate change topics such as carbon sequestration. School-going children learn climate-smart techniques such as cocoon tree planting technology and conservation agriculture. The Conservation Society developed a Smart Climate Action Toolkit: From Data to Action (2019) to support climate action in Zambia.
Another initiative promoting climate change education at the primary level in Zambia is the Classroom Africa program implemented in 2017 by the Africa Wild Life Foundation. Working with the community of Lupani Community School, the project teaches students conservation techniques. In agreement with the community, over 200,000 hectares were aside for conservation.
Zambia’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) aligns with Zambia’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) in viewing education and training as an essential element to enhance the country’s capacity to undertake climate change actions moving forward.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) indicates that the Zambian government aspires to deliver a “seamless process for the learner from inception, early childhood education, primary school, secondary school, teacher education to tertiary level” (p. 14). This also includes technical education and vocational and entrepreneurship training. The Strategy seeks to realign “what is taught in teacher training colleges with school curricula” (p. 14). The Strategy also indicates that some teacher education programs in higher learning institutions teach climate change as full courses, electives, or at the postgraduate level.
A report (2021) published by Sustainability Starts with Teachers, a capacity building program for teacher educators on education for sustainable development, indicates that Zambia is integrating education for sustainable development and includes it in the Seventh National Development Plan (2017–2021). The second outcome of the Plan aspires to create improved education and skills development through two pathways: by enhancing access to 1) quality, equitable, and inclusive education (consistent with Sustainable Development Goal 4) and 2) to skills development (consistent with technical education and vocational and entrepreneurship training aspirations). The Sustainability Starts with Teachers brief indicates that a climate change project at the University of Zambia is reorienting pedagogy, contents, and assessments to address sustainability concerns, targeting integrating sustainable development into course content and assessment practices. It also states that Copperbelt University seeks to develop 21st century competencies among teachers, both pre-service and in-service.
The Zambia Family South Central Activity, a project that improves the care and resilience of vulnerable children in Zambia, has developed a training manual for school teachers with youth clubs that involve students in climate change and environmental activities. The program engages youth clubs in schools to learn about climate change through extracurricular activities such as nursey garden preparation, tree planting, and innovation of new energy-saving techniques such as woodlots to reduce use of firewood and reduce deforestation. Teachers manage the youth clubs in schools, using pictures and practical lessons to give youth knowledge about the local experience of damage caused by climate change and how to share the knowledge on protecting the environment with their families and friends.
Climate change has been integrated in the school curriculum and would be taught in all primary schools from the beginning 2019/2020 academic year and extended to junior and senior secondary schools in subsequent years. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to train teachers across the country on teaching and learning materials ahead of the commencement of the academic year. In addition, climate change courses have been introduced in four public universities to help promote climate-related research and policy analysis. The objective of this initiative is to improve the knowledge of pupils and help change the behavior of both children and adults towards the environment and thereby help in the fight against climate change in the country. (p. 63)
iii. Climate change in higher education
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) states that climate change in higher education is emphasized. According to the Strategy, the University of Zambia and Chalimbana University have developed undergraduate and postgraduate programs covering climate change and environmental issues. The University of Zambia offers Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in Environment and Natural Resource Management. Students learn about climate change and environmental topics such as natural resources, water and forestry, and sustainable land management. The Master’s program aims to provide knowledge and skills relevant to the environment and natural resource industry in Zambia, produce environmental experts who can identify environmental problems and possible solutions, and create environmental experts with an awareness of society including social and legal issues.
Chalimbana University offers Bachelor’s in Food Science and Nutrition, Agriculture science and Environmental Health where climate change issues are emphasized and their effects on food security, the environment and public health. The university intends to engage in more research and engagement with the local people on issues of climate change such as deforestation, which include disturbance to the natural habitats. Forest foods are among the most nutritious foods because they are not affected by genetically modified organisms.
Mulungusi University has developed and offers certified short courses on climate change, such as Designing Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies. That course teaches participants basic concepts of climate change, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and designing climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Learning objectives are for participants to be able to
- explain and understand climate change and adaptation and mitigation;
- critically evaluate the relative threats and opportunities for mitigation and adaptation (including vulnerability assessment) in a variety of sectorial contexts;
- Design sector-specific mitigation and/or adaptation strategies for real-life cases;
- Effectively communicate, negotiate and defend a designed climate change mitigation and/or adaptation strategies. (Website, n.d.)
The University also offers a two-week short course in Climate Change and Social Justice, covering topics including Intersectional Justice and Climate Change, Social Justice and Mitigation, and Social Justice and Adaptation. After the course, students will have a special climate justice lens to see the issues caused by climate change among marginalized and vulnerable groups.
The National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research conducts research on climate change, environment, and water management projects. The Institute also engages in other research activities in food security and agriculture, plant development, and energy to improve the capacity of national programs and climate resilience.
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) suggests that a comprehensive and holistic approach needs to integrate climate change learning in formal and informal education systems.
The 3rd National Communication (2020) discusses climate change education in higher institutions in Zambia, including Copperbelt University, University of Zambia, Mulungushi University and Chalimbana University. However, the Communication identifies barriers to full implementation of climate change in education and training. These include “inadequate mainstreaming of climate change into education and training curricula and limited resource centers and equipment to promote learning and field demonstration on climate change” (p. 190).
Promoting training on tools for developing climate scenarios and analysis; Researching and developing more early-maturing seed varieties; Conservation of genetic resources; Contribution of Indigenous genetic resources, protecting them and put them into practice through traditional knowledge; Availing equipment and tools for irrigation to farmers; and combining “traditional, Community and scientific knowledge in finding solutions to food security such as producing, preservation and preparation of food.”(p. 113)
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) aims to strengthen the national training sector. Technical education and vocational and entrepreneurship training is an important component in the Strategy. Zambia aims to mainstream climate change education into technical colleges by developing resources and collecting data on how many colleges offer climate change courses.
The Zambian government is implementing projects that facilitate community learning about climate change. For instance, the Zambia Family South Central Activity aims to increase the resilience of youth, families, caregivers, community groups, and government structures in farming projects such as vegetable gardens, by teaching climate change components like drought, rising temperatures, and global warming.
The Community Markets for Conservation is a non-governmental organization involved in training smallholder farmers on climate-smart agriculture and other sustainable practices such as energy-saving, agroforestry, and beekeeping. The organization has provided 97,463 energy-saving stoves that are monitored annually for maintenance and efficient use, and has worked with local chiefs in Zambia to establish community conservation areas to safeguard the country’s forests and wildlife. Zambia also provides weather index insurance through the Farmer Input Support Programme to help reduce farmers’ risk and vulnerability to climate change.
In line with the Seventh National Development Plan (2017–2021), the Zambia Sustainable Development Goals Voluntary National Review 2020 identifies the required actions to increase technical capacity to construct climate-smart infrastructure, which include “Facilitating peer learning among actors with varying competencies in designing locally appropriate and climate-smart infrastructure” (p. 58).
i. Climate change and public awareness
Public climate change awareness in Zambia is emphasized in the country’s laws, policies, and strategies. For instance, Zambia’s Environmental Management Act 86(1)(f) states that the Zambian Environmental Management Agency will “carry out public information and education campaigns in the field of the environment” (p. 151).
The country’s National Policy on Climate Change (2016) objective for education and awareness is “to promote communication and dissemination of climate change information to enhance awareness and understanding of its opportunities and impacts” (p. 15). This will be implemented through measures like facilitating climate change advocacy; strengthening climate change education, training, and awareness; and promoting the dissemination of research findings at all levels. The Policy states that the Green Economy and Climate Change Department will “promote public education and awareness to enhance the capacity to address climate change” (p. 14).
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) indicates a gap in public awareness of climate change in Zambia, partly due to minimal climate change stories in print and electronic media and inadequate specialist training for journalists and media personnel on climate change issues. The Strategy recognizes the influential role in increasing outreach of community media, which has remained untapped through lack of resources for comprehensive reporting of climate change issues. The Strategy proposes ways to increase public awareness of climate change, including forming radio listening groups, conducting farm field days to undertake climate-smart agriculture projects, and developing and disseminating promotional materials on climate change.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has engaged in a climate change initiative in Zambia to involve youth age 11–17 years in raising climate change awareness in the country. The initiative has trained over 1000 young people as climate change ambassadors to engage in advocacy and communication. They have reached over 1 million people in the country, providing information on climate change motivation and adaptation actions to realize environmental sustainability.
The 3rd National Communication (2020) states that the Government of Zambia received support from the Climate Change Capacity Development under the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to “facilitate climate change learning as a tool to create awareness of climate change” (p. x). The government has also implemented initiatives to enhance climate change awareness among the public:
1. Establish climate information and early warning systems such as SMS and email alert systems that have enhanced the levels of information dissemination and awareness on climate-related parameters.
2. Enhanced capacity of the media, schools, scientists, researchers, Government Departments, and other organizations involved in climate change to effectively engage and disseminate climate change information through training and provision of information.
3. Up scaling implementation of media programs which included trainings, awards presentations to deserving climate change champions, radio and television programs, field trips, and spot adverts. (p. 191)
However, the National Communication indicates limited dissemination of Indigenous knowledge and technologies due to little documentation.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
Zambia recognizes some limitations to the public’s access to climate change information. Among these is limited capacity and expertise among “specialised agencies such as Zambia Environmental Management Authority, Zambia Meteorological Department and other public and private stakeholders to collaborate effectively in the dissemination of climate risk information” (p. 14). The Zambia Country Climate Risk Assessment Report (2018) indicates that the Department is essential in providing climate and weather information to over 70% of the Zambian population who depend on agriculture and other climate-sensitive sectors. The Department nevertheless faces severe challenges in providing access to climate change information, including a lack of locally generated climate projections, inadequate station data network density for country coverage, and some telecommunication and meteorological equipment that are declared obsolete.
The Zambia Sustainable Development Goals Voluntary National Review 2020 sets the objective to “strengthen links with the private sector and also raise community awareness on climate change matters. Collection of data on climate change impacts, and capacity in the analysis of the same should be prioritised.” (p. XVI)
The Community Markets for Conservation has introduced a group listening initiative in Zambia to encourage poachers to become conservationists. The organization has supported the Farm Talk radio program on Breeze FM to convince poachers to start an alternative source of income, and provides support in the form of farm inputs like seeds and beehives to start farming. Farmers are taught sustainable farming practices through on- and off-radio programs, including conservation farming and climate-smart agriculture.
The 3rd National Communication (2020) includes the actions the government has undertaken to strengthen public access to climate change information. Actions include establishing a portal called the ‘Strengthening Information and Documentation Centre’ at the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to provide climate-related information to stakeholders and the public. and producing education materials on climate change targeting different stakeholders (p. 191) Zambia has also created the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) as a tool to develop sustainable individual and institutional capacities to plan and implement practical climate change actions.
iii. Climate change and public participation
The Government of Zambia has included climate public participation in climate change activities in national policies and strategies. For instance, the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) includes provisions for promoting the involvement of local authorities and traditional leaders in climate change education, public awareness, and the use of Indigenous knowledge to promote the participation of the public in climate change. The National Policy on Climate Change (2016) suggests that the government “promote stakeholders’ participation and partnerships that integrate climate change in natural resources management at all levels” (p. 14).
The One United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC: Learn) has partnered with agencies in Zambia, such as the Zambia Environmental Management Agency, to train stakeholders on climate change. For instance, in May 2020, UN: CC learn launched a nationwide climate change learning project to develop knowledge on climate change. Discussions at the launch included representatives from the private sector, government agencies, youth representatives, academia, media, and non-governmental organizations to discuss how a National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) can support implementation of the National Adaptation planning and Nationally Determined Contribution.
Since 2010, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has involved young people as climate change ambassadors, and by 2016 over 1325 had received training in Zambia. During preparation for the 21st Conference of the Parties in France in 2015, district consultations engaged over 50 climate change ambassadors to provide input to Zambia’s country position paper.
The Climate change and development learning platform (2014) report indicates that Irish Aid, in partnership with the Government of Zambia and other stakeholders, participated in a climate change workshop in August 2014. The workshop’s primary focus was smallholder farming and household energy systems, with the aim of introducing proper climate mitigation and green energy access and contributing to development programming and climate-smart agriculture.
The 3rd National Communication (2020) indicates that the Government of Zambia has implemented activities to enhance public participation in climate change initiatives. These include government commemoration of significant environmental days, which have provided a platform for government and other stakeholders to share information related to climate change; promotion of collaboration and networking among stakeholders for sharing information and lessons; hosting of national consultative meetings to promote dialogue and stakeholder participation; and enhancing the capacity of the media, schools, scientists, researchers, government departments, and other organizations involved in climate change to effectively engage and disseminate climate change information through training and provision of information (p. 191).
i. Country monitoring
Zambia has established a climate change monitoring, evaluation, and feedback mechanism to help the country monitor climate change adaptation and mitigation actions. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Zambia is the lead agency for monitoring climate change communication and education. The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) indicates that the Ministry will coordinate all climate change monitoring and evaluation activities across sectors and partners. The Department of Climate Change and Natural Resources Management under the Ministry will monitor, evaluate, and present a timely report to the technical committee on climate change, which will present strategic results and recommendations to the council of permanent secretaries and then to the council of ministers on climate change. Moreover, the new dawn government created a Ministry of Green Economy And Environment in order to also emphasize the importance of a green economy to citizens by increasing their access to clean and safe environments.
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021) has developed a monitoring and evaluation framework with indicators. For instance, for objective 3 on mainstreaming climate change learning into education systems, the various indicators are:
- Number of individuals (segregated by sex) with improved capacity to mainstream climate change learning in the energy sector
- Number of universities and research institutes with enhanced capacity as centers of excellence in climate change
- Number of training workshops conducted on mainstreaming of climate change learning into the energy sector, continuing professional development programs
- Number of individuals from agriculture training colleges/institutes (segregated by sex) trained on materials development in climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Number of training programs developed on mainstreaming climate change learning into health training programs
- Number of teaching and learning materials infused with climate change messages developed
The Zambia Sustainable Development Goals Voluntary National Review (2020) indicates that Zambia monitors the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate change. The Review indicates that Zambia
has implemented interventions to mitigate against the adverse effects of climate change. These include integration of climate change in the school curriculum; improvement of early warning Systems; provision of weather index insurance through the Farmer Input Support Programme; promotion of alternative sources of livelihoods; promotion of climate-smart agricultural practices, such as minimum tillage and residue retention, agroforestry, diversification of crops and crop rotation; Climate proofing of infrastructure; and development of renewable energy. (p. xvi)
Zambia participated in the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to measure students’ proficiency in reading, mathematics, and science. Results indicate that 5% of students achieved a minimum level of proficiency in reading and 2% in math. Girls performed better than boys by 16 points in reading and 4 points in mathematics.
The 3rd National Communication (2020) outlines the metrics for monitoring nationally appropriate mitigation actions for climate change in Zambia. Various scenarios project the likely greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration, with the base year set at 2010 and the terminal year at 2050.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Change Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the Zambia Curriculum Framework (2013) and the Education and Skills Sector Plan (2017–2021) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’
In the Zambia Curriculum Framework (2013), climate change was referenced 4 times, environment 19 times, sustainability 10 times, and biodiversity not mentioned.
Zambia’s overall strategy for education is the Education and Skills Sector Plan (2017–2021). In this Plan, climate change and biodiversity were not referenced, environment was referenced 4 times, and sustainability was referenced 14.
This profile was reviewed by Rabecca Kayumba Piyo.