Department for Energy Security & Net Zero
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UK protecting forests with £6 million boost for Zambia

Government backing to support Zambia's efforts to protect forests, cut emissions and reduce poverty.

  • £6 million new funding to protect forests and cut emissions in Zambia
  • coming on International Day of Forests, this UK government support will help farmers with innovative solutions to tackle deforestation
  • investment reinforces UK commitment to global climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts

The UK has today (21 March) pledged £6 million to bolster Zambia’s efforts to protect forests, reduce poverty and tackle climate change.

This funding boost will curb rapid agricultural expansion of uncultivated land, such as natural forests and woodlands, and support the rollout of climate-smart agriculture practices among smallholder farmers – helping them to strengthen food security.

Local farmers will learn the benefits of rotating and diversifying crops, efficient irrigation and agroforestry – the planting of trees alongside crops – to help improve skills and education.

This is part of the UK’s wider efforts to protect and restore nature around the world. It builds on the historic agreement at COP26 under the UK’s presidency, to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030 – covering 90% of the world’s forests. It also follows the £500 million announced by the government at COP28 to tackle deforestation and increase investment in sustainable land management.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said:

We can’t tackle climate change without protecting nature, which is why we are committed to helping other countries, such as Zambia.

The destruction of forests across the world accounts for around 10 times the emissions of the UK – so we must do everything we can to safeguard our environment for future generations.

The UK continues to lead the world in net zero, halving its emissions ahead of any other major economy. Tackling climate change is a global issue and the government works with other countries to address the related challenges of poverty, deforestation, and climate change.

Training will be provided to 100,000 farmers in 200 new Farmer Field Schools, enabling local farmers to share best practices and spread opportunity throughout their communities.

Farmers will also benefit from access to digital technologies to make better-informed agricultural decisions. This includes a new app which will provide targeted climate updates to help farmers adapt to changing weather conditions, suggesting optimum times for planting or harvesting crops.

Speaking on behalf of an impacted community, Chief Nyamphande of Nyamphande Chiefdom in Lusangazi District, Eastern Zambia said:

The programme has helped us diversify into new areas of farming, such as bee keeping and fish farming, enabling us to lessen our dependency on seasonal crops that are affected by droughts and other effects of climate change. 

It is gratifying that the programme is getting additional funding from the UK, as its continuation is vital for the sustainability of the progress we have made in adapting to smarter, climate sensitive agricultural practices in our province.

This investment is part of the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes, a global programme that supports projects to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable land use and forest conservation. This new funding comes on top of more than £115 million the government has already provided to the scheme since 2013.       

The initiatives backed by this funding could cut Zambia’s emissions by around 3 million tonnes, while increasing the resilience of communities to climate change.

This would also build on the successes of Zambia’s Sustainable Forest Landscape programme so far:

  • over 190,000 hectares now managed using climate-smart agriculture – the equivalent of almost 270,000 football pitches
  • the creation of 478 new Farmer Field Schools, which has trained 115,000 farmers
  • over 5 million agroforestry seedlings distributed – these trees have improved soil fertility, resulting in more crops being produced and in turn boosting farmers’ income
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