No. 9 May 1997 Supplement

Country Study News

The Newsletter of the UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment


Zambia is a land­locked country in Southern Africa lying between Zaire, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. With a population of about 8 million, over 40% of whom live in urban areas, it is the most urbanised country in sub­Saharan Africa. The economy is based to a very large extent on the mining of copper which generates 90% of the country's foreign exchange earnings.

The country has suffered economic decline since the mid­1970s attributable to a number of causes such as the international oil crises, depressed copper prices, recurring drought and the general instability in the region until relatively recently. After the introduction of multi­party democracy and the ensuing programme of economic restructuring and liberalisation, the country can now be said to be in a state of transition.

GHG Inventory and Climate Change Mitigation studies for Zambia have been carried out under GTZ and USCSP projects. In the former case the studies were conducted by the Centre for Energy, Environment, Engineering (Zambia) Ltd (CEEEZ), Lusaka on behalf of the Ministry of Energy and Water Development and with assistance from the UNEP Centre through Phase I of the Danida activity. Preliminary results were included in the Phase I report of the Danida activity and the final reports were published recently.

The US Country Study Program supported inventory, vulnerability and adaptation, and mitigation studies, through the Environmental Council of Zambia, though these studies so far remain unpublished.

The inventory studies have confirmed that Zambia is a net sink of carbon. Uptake of carbon dioxide by forest regrowth leads to a net absorption of 60 million tonnes per annum.

There is nevertheless an interest in promoting mitigation options which can both further enhance the net uptake of CO2 and provide other environmental and developmental advantages, such as reducing local deforestation, reducing indoor air pollution, saving foreign currency for fuel purchases and increasing standards of living.

In the power sector, Zambia has abundant hydropower resources, both shared with neighbours (the Zambezi) and purely domestic, mainly on the Kafue River. At the present time the excess generating capacity is about 500 MW. This capacity is already being exported to neighbouring countries avoiding CO2 emissions from coal­fired generation.

Phase II of the Danida­funded project, running in parallel with the UNEP/GEF project "Economics of GHG Limitations", builds on the studies conducted by CEEEZ, and in particular aims at elaborating the mitigation potential and cost of the identified options. Several of the options involve substituting charcoal as a household cooking fuel, or improving the efficiency of the production and use of the fuel. Although inventory studies indicate that Zambia is a net sink of carbon, reduction of deforestation for charcoal production would offer a mitigation potential. The Phase II study will include an integrated assessment of the various household fuel options, such as electrification, improved charcoal kilns, improved stoves and coal briquetting.

The study is being carried out by CEEEZ, as in Phase I, but now on behalf of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources which is the climate change focal point for Zambia. Close connection is maintained with the Ministry of Energy and Water Development through the participation of the Department of Energy, as well as other government bodies and the electricity utility, ZESCO.

The first national workshop was held in Livingstone from 23 to 26 September 1996 and was attended by stakeholders from government, industry and NGOs. The main purposes of the national workshop were to create awareness of the project (and general climate change issues) among stakeholders, to solicit the views of stakeholders with regard to mitigation options and to identify the issues involved in establishing the baseline scenario for Zambia. The workshop was judged to be highly successful in achieving these goals.

Project Coordinator: Prof. Francis Yamba, CEEEZ, Zambia

Local Project Manager: Beston Chitala, CEEEZ

UNEP Centre Project Manager: Gordon Mackenzie


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Last updated: 30 July 1997
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