Quantifying Natural Capital Vital For Zambia’s Economic Growth, Sustainable Development – PS Chabala

The Ministry of National Development Planning says ascertaining and quantifying Zambia’s natural capital wealth in tourism, land, forest, water and other sectors is important in planning for the country’s economic growth and ensuring sustainable development.

Ministry of National Development Planning, Permanent Secretary in charge of Development Planning and Administration, Mr. Chola Chabala, said this when he officiated at the on-going workshop co-organized with the WWF Zambia on development of natural capital accounts for Zambia WAVES Accounts on tourism, forest, water and land at Chaminuka Lodge in Lusaka.

The Permanent Secretary said Zambia heavily relies on natural capital and human capital for income generation, hence it is important to recognise the value of natural capital and appropriately manage it.

“The Ministry of National Development Planning has been coordinating the implementation of the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) programme with the assistance from the World Bank and in collaboration with relevant ministries and stakeholders,” Mr. Chabala told a multi-sectoral group of participants.

“The programme’s objective is to promote sustainable development by mainstreaming natural capital in development planning and national economic accounting systems.”

Mr. Chabala said it was envisaged that data to be generated from natural capital accounting will enhance policy decision-making on allocation and use of natural resources.

He said the data collected would also be useful to the private sector in making investment decisions, climate change interventions, community resource management and poverty reduction strategies, among other beneficiary sectors.

He said the information from the accounts will greatly contribute to measuring how far Zambia has gone in attaining sustainable development goals.

On tourism account, Mr. Chabala said the global economy had been adversely affected by COVID-19 outbreak which has had negative impact on the tourism sector.

“As tourism progressively raises its profile in national economic planning, there is need to ensure that attention is paid to its long-term development potential to maintain market share and competitive advantage.

“This starts by taking stock of what the country has from wildlife, fauna to heritage sites and how these interact with other sectors in the conomy and the natural environment,” Mr. Chabala said.

“The ecosystem accounts concept will help Zambia, a biodiversity-rich country, to design a management strategy that balances trade-offs among what is obtained from the environment and what remains on the environment to ensure sustainability.”

The Permanent Secretary expressed optimism that the final report of the Tourism Account will improve the management of tourism resources in the country to achieve the aspirations of the Vision 2030 and attainment of SDGs.

WWF Zambia Country Director Ms. Nachilala Nkombo assured of her organisation’s continued close collaboration with the Government in the protection of the environment, tourism and other sectors for the benefit of the people.

Ms. Nkombo said Natural Capital Accounting will reveal the full economic value of natural resources in Zambia, enhance economy-wide and landscape level decisions making by providing rich information on natural capital stocks and ecosystem.

“We appeal to Government to fully utilise the natural capital accounting outputs to guide policy and investments decision to attain our SDGs ambitions while conserving our natural resources that our people and the economy depend on,” said Ms. Nkombo.

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