REDD+ projects 1
Other readiness initiatives 7
Forest cover High
Deforestation rate Low


REDD in Zambia

Zambia is located at an altitude of between 2,164 and 350m above sea level, largely on the Central African Plateau, with four major biomes consisting of forest, woodland, grassland and aquatic systems (GRZ, 2005). Zambia is one of the most forested countries in Africa and approximately 67% (49,468,000 ha) of Zambia’s land surface is covered by forest (FAO, 2011). The most common forest type is Miombo woodland, which covers 42% of the land area (Vinya et. al. 2011). Above- and below-ground carbon stored in biomass is estimated to be 2.5 billion tonnes and a further 204 million tonnes stored in dead wood (FAO, 2011). At the global level Zambia has been identified as one of the top 10 greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting countries as a result of deforestation and degradation (EIA, 2008). REDD+ is therefore seen as an important mitigation option for Zambia (Estrada et. al., 2012). Estimated rates of deforestation vary depending on the methods of measurements used. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO, 2011) estimates average annual rates of deforestation to be 167,000 ha per annum or 0.33% of total forest cover between 2000 and 2010, however, the most commonly quoted figure is 250,000-300,000 ha per annum (approx. 0.50-0.60% of total forest cover) based on 1965-2005 data (see Vinya et. al., 2012 and UN-REDD, 2010). Deforestation rates vary between different provinces. A study from 2012 found the highest rates of deforestation to be in Luapula- (2.47%), Eastern- (0.85%) and Copperbelt provinces (0.84%), while the lowest rates were found in Southern and Western provinces (Chidumayo, 2012).

The main drivers of deforestation in Zambia have been identified as charcoal and wood fuel production, logging for timber, expansion of small scale agriculture and unsustainable agricultural practices (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010). Charcoal and wood fuel production (for domestic, commercial and industrial uses) is a main driver of deforestation. However, there is some uncertainty as to how much of deforestation is a direct cause of charcoal production and how much is due to agriculture expansion, as clearing for one is often interlinked with the other; much of the woodland converted to small-scale agriculture actually shows up in charcoal statistics, making it difficult to disaggregate the two. The impact of charcoal production on deforestation is closely interlinked with access to and the nature of the energy supply. Nearly 75% of the population lives without access to electricity, and charcoal and wood-fuel constitute the main source of energy for the majority of the population (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010). Although there is little data available on the impact of mining on deforestation this is likely to become a more prominent issue in future. This is especially the case in the North Western Province, which is experiencing a mining-boom. It is also one of the provinces with the highest forest carbon potential.

Studies conducted in the mid 2000s show that the forestry sector contributed up to 5.2% of GDP to the national economy (Kokwe and Mickels-Kokwe, 2012). However, this is a debated topic and the actual value of the forestry sector is likely to be higher than what is currently being accounted for (FAO, 2012 a&b). For example, the contribution of illegal or unregulated activities such as charcoal production is not included in these estimates, which significantly affects the way opportunity costs are calculated.  The charcoal industry is thought to informally employ about 500,000 individuals (Mwitwa and Makano, 2012) and though no official figures exist in terms of its contribution to GDP it is estimated to be at least 3% (Kalinda et. al., 2008). The high value of wood fuel and charcoal significantly increases the opportunity cost of REDD+, which needs to be accounted for in a future national REDD+ Strategy (Bond et. al., 2010).

REDD+ in Zambia has evolved in the context of a national development agenda that seeks to achieve sustained economic growth that is compatible with environmental and ultimately social sustainability. Notably, reducing the dependence on wood fuel for energy in order to tackle deforestation and degradation is a priority in a number of national policies and plans. For example, the National Policy on Environment (2005) recognises forests as important carbon sinks that should be enhanced, and promotes the development of alternative energy sources to wood fuel in order to reduce pressures on forests. Furthermore, the long-term development strategy, as promoted in the Vision 2030, has as a target to reduce the share of wood fuel in the energy sector by 40% in 2030. These policies have evolved in a wider governance context that seeks to achieve a decentralised approach to governance and public administration.

The Decentralisation Policy of 2002 aims to devolve authority, functions and responsibilities to the district level in order to improve the quality of service delivery at the sub-national level, including management of natural resources. Although the process of decentralisation was stagnant for some years it is now fully supported by the current Patriotic Front government, building on the Sixth National Development Plan (2011-2015) and the Revised Decentralisation Implementation Plan (2009-2013). A national REDD+ mechanism is currently evolving in the context of this decentralised approach, and the aim is to develop a strategy that corresponds to the jurisdictional requirements of this type of governance structure (Mason-Case, 2011). The devolution of responsibilities and rights, however, has not yet reached to the level of forest dependent communities. The forestry sector has maintained a central approach to forest management that is largely exclusive of local community involvement.

The national legal framework governing the forestry sector dates back to 1973 and does not recognise participatory approaches to forest management as a way of achieving overall goals of sustainability or poverty reduction. Several attempts at modernising the legislation have been made. For example, the Local Forests (Control and Management) Regulations (Statutory Instrument No. 47 of 2006) was created to enable the implementation of Joint Forest Management (JFM) in government reserves. Although this did allow communities to have a role in forest management, their right to receive a share of forest-generated income was highly constrained by the underlying legal framework. The lack of clarity on benefit-sharing arrangements significantly reduced the incentive for communities to engage with JFM. Reforming the current legal framework and creating incentives and benefit-sharing measures for local communities and the private/NGO sector to become involved in forest management is therefore seen as a priority for improving management of forest resources and to facilitate REDD+ implementation in Zambia.

In early 2013 the legal and regulatory framework for the forestry sector was under review, with a new Forest Bill and Forestry Policy expected to be approved in 2013. The proposed Bill will provide for three forms of participation in the management of the country’s forestry resources: private or farm forestry (on titled land); community forestry (on customary land); and JFM (in a protected local forest, or on customary land).

In 2010 Zambia was selected as one of the pilot countries for the UN-REDD Programme. The same year planning for REDD+ started and a National Joint Programme (NJP) was established between the Forestry Department, of the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, and the implementing bodies of the UN-REDD Programme, which are the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Zambia is currently in the first phase of preparing for REDD+ and a national REDD+ Strategy is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2013. In order to achieve the expected outcomes of the NJP and to support the national REDD+ Strategy GRZ has developed a set of pathways. These have been developed to complement one another and consist of: a) analytical studies to inform REDD+ Strategy development; b) finding entry points for REDD+ into the wider policy framework (e.g. agriculture) by building on on-going national processes related to land-use and natural resource management, such as the Integrated Land Use Assessment phase II (ILUA II) programme; and c) stakeholder engagement and partnership building for REDD+.

The first pathway includes a series of in-depth studies focusing on: i) assessment of previous, on-going and planned forest management activities with potential for REDD+; ii) assessing and analysing direct and indirect drivers of deforestation; iii) formulating a stakeholder engagement plan; iv) assessing financing, incentives and benefit sharing options for REDD+; v) assessing the Role of Safeguards in REDD+; enhancing private sector engagement in REDD+; and vi) assessment of REDD+ institutional capacity and capacity needs. At the subnational level, with the exception of forest and carbon monitoring activities and stakeholder engagements at the provincial level, there is limited readiness activity. In early 2013 only one REDD+ project was active, developed by a private sector company according to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard. However, this is likely to change with the revision of the current forestry law and policy, which should include incentives for stakeholders, such as local communities and the private sector, to engage with REDD+.

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Institutional arrangements

The institutional arrangements for public administration in Zambia can be divided into Central Government and a Local Government. There are 10 Provinces and 73 Districts, and within these there are Councils dispersed across 4 City Councils, 16 Municipality Councils and 54 District Councils (Mason-Case, 2011). At independence Zambia inherited a dual system of Local Government, comprising central government field administration and elected local government administration (Chikulo, 2009). This system is still in place today. The Provincial and District Administration provide extension services for central government coordination and monitoring at the sub-national level. The Councils are headed by democratically elected officials and are the focal points for wider participation and delivery of social services to communities at the local level (Chikulo, 2009). Councils operate under the supervision of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and are the primary actors for on-the-ground implementation of national policies. At the sub-district level Area Development Committees have been set-up to provide a link from the village level to local government, and these report local community concerns to the Council through ward councillors. However, these committees are still in the process of being set-up and are not yet functional in all districts.

In addition to State-led political administration Zambia has a strong traditional system, consisting of tribal chiefdoms, governed by Chiefs who delegate rights and responsibilities within their jurisdictions. Areas under traditional management (customary lands) is occupied by approximately 73 tribes, headed by 240 chiefs, 8 senior chiefs  and 4 paramount chiefs (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010). The traditional system is recognised in the Constitution as a formal arm of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, but since independence the traditional authorities have been effectively separated from government administration (Chikulo, 2009). In 2011 a new Ministry - the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs - was set up to strengthen the role of traditional authorities and the House of Chiefs, who were in early 2013 in the process of preparing a plan for how to re-integrate the traditional authorities into local government structures.

The management and coordination of REDD+ in Zambia is still under development. The Forestry Department has been tasked with the overall implementation of REDD+ activities, but new structures have been set up to manage and coordinate the national REDD+ process. The current structure consists of a REDD Coordination Unit (RCU), which sits within the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, a REDD+ Secretariat, and a REDD+ Steering Committee. The RCU comprises a National REDD+ Coordinator and two technical advisers from UN-REDD agencies, UNDP and the FAO. They provide overall support to the REDD+ readiness process, including development of the National REDD+ Strategy. More specifically they provide technical advice on governance and capacity building, and the development of a national forest and Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) system respectively. The role of the RCU is to administrate the daily functioning of the UN-REDD National Joint Programme (NJP), to coordinate workshops and consultants, and to carry out monitoring and evaluation. It is supported by a REDD+ Secretariat, which is based in the Forestry Department and provides administrative assistance in day-to-day activities and coordination. A REDD+ Steering Committee oversees the activities of the RCU in terms of formulation of plans and policy to ensure these are consistent with national plans and on-going efforts. The Committee comprises both government and non-governmental stakeholders, such as civil society and private sector actors. In the future it is envisioned that a multi-sectoral technical committee will be set up to provide technical input and advice to the RCU. This will be an independent body that is expected to include key line Ministries and non-governmental representatives from academia, civil society and the private sector. In the past a similar structure has existed for both ILUA (I&II) and the UN-REDD Programme and this is now being revisited by the government through re-appointments.  Additionally, a multi-sectoral technical committee also exists for the Interim Climate Change Secretariat and this is likely to become part of the REDD+ management and coordination structure in the future. . Further advice and oversight of the UN-REDD NJP is provided by the UN Resident Coordinator whose role is to ensure that the relevant UN organisations are meeting their obligations towards the NJP and to provide an overall assessment of NJP progress and results.

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Stakeholder engagement and participation

Stakeholder engagement in Zambia has mainly been carried out during the development of the UN-REDD National Joint Programme (NJP) document through a series of meetings held in Lusaka throughout 2009 (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010). These involved both government and non-governmental stakeholders (civil society, NGOs, community based organisations and the private sector) involved in the natural resource management sector. Additional stakeholder meetings were held in all of the 9 provinces (now 10) across the country, involving a broad range of stakeholders, to discuss current trends and challenges for sustainable forest management and to inform the draft Forestry Policy. In June 2011 the first REDD+ orientation workshop was held over a period of three consecutive days involving stakeholders from both the government and non-governmental sectors, with a purpose to foster multi-stakeholder engagement, awareness and dialogue about REDD+ (UN-REDD, 2011). Between October and December 2011 the UN-REDD Programme carried out stakeholder analyses at the provincial, district and village levels across all the 10 provinces, for the purpose of  developing a Stakeholder Assessment and Engagement Plan (SAEP) for REDD+. This involved consultations with civil society organisations, villages in the different chiefdoms, and local government. The engagement process focused on REDD+ in the context of sustainable forest management, and avoided deforestation. 

However, overall there has been limited involvement and participation of other government sectors outside of the Forestry Department and non-governmental stakeholders report feeling largely excluded from the national REDD+ process. The REDD+ Secretariat within the REDD Coordination Unit (RCU) has conducted trainings of trainers for civil society on REDD+, but due to financial constraints this has not been carried forward by civil society on the ground. Financial constraints to carry out stakeholder engagement have also been identified as an issue in relation to information sharing on the Integrated Land Use Assessment programme (ILUA phase I&II) (FAO, 2012b). ILUA is a collaborative programme between the Forestry Department and the FAO that has been collecting forest and land-use data in Zambia since 2005. Overall, lack of access to information both within and between government agencies, let alone to the public, is reported as an issue in Zambia (Mason-Case, 2011; FAO, 2012 a&b). However, at least for the national REDD+ process this might be changing. In April 2013 the Government of Zambia reported that it is stepping up its stakeholder engagement process and increasing its efforts at implementing the SAEP which was developed in 2012. This involves setting up a 'partners forum on REDD+' to facilitate information exchange and knowledge management on REDD+.

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Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights

The Lands Act of 1995 and the national Constitution (1996) recognises two types of land tenure systems which are customary land and state land. All land in Zambia is vested in the President of the Republic, held on behalf of the Zambian people (GRZ, 1995). Leasehold land is a form of private land ownership that applies to both customary and state land. On state land leasehold property can be leased by an individual or private entity for a period of 99 years, with possibility of contract renewal. On customary land the contract period starts at 14 years, with the possibility of renewal subject to the Chief’s approval. Customary lands account for 61% of the total land in Zambia, which is managed de facto by village headmen. Above the headmen are the Chiefs, who are custodians of the land on behalf of the people (Forestry Department & FAO, 2010 and FAO, 2011). Chiefs make decisions on land-use and allocation, but the state maintains de jure ownership. The majority of forest resources (31 million ha or 63%) are found on customary land, with only 12 million ha located on state land (24%), and about 5 million ha on leasehold land (ibid).

The Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection is the main governing body for land surveying, identification, processing applications for leasehold tenure, registering of title and land dispute resolution. Leasehold land titles are available to Zambian nationals on the President’s discretion, and in some cases to non-Zambians (Mason-Case, 2011). Leasehold land titles cannot be sold or transferred without obtaining the consent from the President (GRZ, 1995). According to the Lands Act (1995) leasehold titles can be issued on customary lands, but not without taking into account customary laws and obtaining the approval of the Chief and then the approval and support of the relevant district council. In the case of Game Management Areas the Director General of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) must be consulted and approve.

In accordance with the Constitution (1996), the Wildlife Act (1998) and the Forests Act (1973) stipulate that the right to wildlife and trees, including all forest produce, is vested in the President. There is currently no legal framework in place for recognising carbon tenure and carbon rights (Chundama, 2009; Mason-Case, 2011).  However, since “ownership”, in the absolute sense of the term, of all trees is vested in the President this is also likely to include carbon. The right to use and benefit from natural resources (subsistence use) for the general population are enshrined in the national Constitution and are bestowed in both statutory and customary law (Chundama, 2009). However, the right to commercial exploitation of forest resources is subject to permits and licenses from the forestry department.

Tenure rights on customary lands are dependent on use and occupation, not title, and land is passed on through inheritance. The law recognises the Chief as a custodian of customary land on behalf of the people, but de facto ownership rights are not vested in him solely but collectively with the rest of the communities living within the chiefdom. Although ownership and use-rights are collective the Lands Act (1995) does not require the approval from anyone else but the Chief and the Local Authority prior to the transfer of customary tenure into state land and leasehold property. Land disputes and grievances have taken place when land is acquired by the state, either for government interest purposes, or to be transferred as leasehold property to an individual or private entity, without proper consultation with local occupants. It has been suggested that one way of making customary land tenure more secure is by converting it into leasehold tenure, as official land titles (Certificates of Title) cannot be obtained unless land is first converted to leasehold. However, this is a process that is highly bureaucratic and that requires resources that poor rural households often do not have. In addition, by transferring customary land to leasehold property, tenants will be subject to statutory regulations and procedures, which may incur additional costs (e.g. payment of land rents or land tax) and intervention that the poor majority cannot afford (Mason-Case, 2011). In early 2013 the Land Act (1995) and the Constitution were both under review, and it is expected that key issues related to tenure security and ownership rights will be addressed in a new Land Act and Constitution.

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Forest management

The institutional arrangement for managing forestlands in Zambia falls under the authority of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. Where gazetted forests exist in national parks or game management areas (GMAs) the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) of the Ministry of Tourism and Arts also has responsibility. The Forestry Department has a central office in the capital, Lusaka, and an office in each of the 10 provinces and within each of the 72 districts. However, following a restructuring process in 1997 the Forestry Department no longer has field extension workers to patrol forest reserves. It has the mandate to manage forest resources and enforce regulations in state reserves, classified as National Forests and Local Forests, and on plantations (which are classified under one or other forest category). Whilst the management of open-access forests and woodland on customary lands fall outside of the jurisdiction of the Forestry Department it has the authority to issue timber and charcoal harvesting licenses on these lands. Wildlife management falls under the jurisdiction of ZAWA whose mandate is to manage protected areas such as National Parks and GMAs, wildlife sanctuaries and, despite their private ownership, private wildlife sanctuaries and conservancies (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010).

The legal framework for wildlife protected areas has been discussed as a potential model to inform benefit sharing and incentive mechanisms for national REDD+ implementation involving local communities. Whilst the national parks and bird and wildlife sanctuaries under ZAWA’s authority are restricted access, adjacent GMAs are customary lands, inhabited by local people. In order to address issues of poaching and conflict with local communities the Wildlife Act of 1998 and the Policy on National Parks and Wildlife of 1998 have provided incentives for local communities to be actively involved in wildlife management through Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) in GMAs. By establishing a Community Resource Board (CRB) local communities are able to enter into a management and benefit sharing agreement with ZAWA. Under the Wildlife Act (1998) local scouts from the community, called “village scouts” have the right to exercise duties as wildlife police officers, including arresting offenders. In order to manage finances and benefit sharing within the community, CRBs must set up a fund through which they receive revenue generated from licenses, concessions, and wildlife management services. The current benefits sharing arrangement, as stipulated in the Wildlife Act (1998), entitles CRBs (communities) to 50% of all hunting fees (from which Chiefs take 5%), and 20% of all concession fees (again Chiefs take 5%) (Mason-Case, 2011). The experience of CBNRM has been mixed, but with more positive results than the JFM model. Forest management has also been piloted in CBNRM areas. However, these efforts have largely been unsuccessful in stopping illegal harvesting for charcoal and timber. This is in part due to the fact that benefits in the wildlife sector, where the CBNRM concept was initiated, are better developed than in the forestry sector. Consequently, there is less incentive to protect and manage the forests (Mason-Case, 2011).  In early 2013 the institutional arrangement of ZAWA and between ZAWA and the CRBs was under review, and it is intended that the delegated authorities, incentives and enforcement mechanisms under the current model will be improved.

Whilst the Forestry Department and ZAWA hold the jurisdictions over forest resources on state lands, the majority of forest resources can be found on customary lands, which more generally fall under customary law and management systems. Here the authority in charge is the Chief and village headmen. There is no systematic plan for how forests and woodlands on customary land should be managed, but customary institutional arrangements vary across the different chiefdoms (Kokwe and Mickels-Kokwe, 2012). The Forests Act of 1973 stipulates that forest use on Customary Lands should be for subsistence use where clearing land for agriculture and wood fuel is permitted, but charcoal production and timber harvesting requires a license from the Forestry Department (Mason-Case, 2011). No timber may be harvested and transported across customary lands without a license (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010). In reality illegal timber harvesting and charcoal production is most severe on customary lands. Areas close to urban centres experience the highest rates of deforestation and degradation, for the most part due to the high demand for charcoal. Although the Chief may allocate land for agriculture purposes, there is little control over how land is actually used and in many cases land is cleared purely for the purpose of charcoal production and then left barren after one or two seasons of cultivation when nutrient supply diminishes.

According to the Forests Act (1973) forestry offences can be charged through a fine or they can be prosecuted at court level, which can lead to imprisonment of up to two years (part X:i). There are two ways in which forest offences can be prosecuted. The first is via the Forests Act (1973) which provides for the forest officer to apprehend (arrest) a forest offender and take the case to court for prosecution. In the event that the offender pleads guilty and agrees to pay a fine the forest officer may decide to surrender the case to the police and the case will end there instead of being taken to court. This circumstance typically applies to minor forestry offences. The second is when the public or a police officer arrests a forestry offender under the provisions of the Penal Code. The Penal Code provides for the public to use citizen arrest, and this applies to any offence, not just within forestry. In this case the person may be charged under the Forests Act or any other applicable law to prosecute the case. Also here, for minor forestry offences, the offender may opt to plead guilty and pay a fine in order to avoid prosecution at court level.

Although the law provides clear directions for the prosecution of forestry offences the reality is that there is very limited on-the-ground presence of the Forestry Department to enforce forestry regulations. Since charcoal production constitutes a core livelihood income and source of energy, not just in rural but also urban areas, the practice is quite widespread across the country. Given the limited institutional and especially logistical capacity of the Forestry Department to maintain oversight over its protected estates and customary lands, law enforcement is weak and constitutes a key barrier to effective control of illegal harvesting activities. A new Forest Policy and Forest Bill (2012) were in early 2013 in the Parliament for approval, and it is expected that this bill will address the need for elaborate procedures and possibly stiffer penalties for punishing forest crime in national courts.

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Reference levels

The establishment of a national forest cover Reference Level (RL) and forest carbon Reference Emissions Levels (REL) in Zambia is being carried out by the Forestry Department, with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), as part of the Integrated Land Use Assessment phase II (ILUA II) programme. Additional support is provided by the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development in Nairobi, which is working together with the UN-REDD National Joint Programme (NJP) to clarify land cover classifications. National RL/RELs will be developed using historical data, available through satellite remote sensing since 1990, and will be adjusted to national circumstances. Historical forest area will be assessed for the period 1990-2010 using land cover analysis and land cover classifications available for 1990, 2000, and 2010. Although ILUA phase I has generated some significant datasets for the period 2005-2008, there have been a number of forest assessments in the past e.g. the 1952-1967  large-scale inventory for District Forest Management Books and the 2002-2003 national-scale assessment under the Forestry Support Programme (Forestry Department & FAO, 2010). National baselines and reference scenarios are being established through a mix of ground-based assessments and satellite remote sensing data. For example, in 2012 the ILUA II programme had established over 4000 sampling sites across Zambia. These are used to gather biophysical data on forest conditions for a National Forest Inventory (NFI). The sampling sites are also used to gather data on socio-economic conditions of communities living in and adjacent to forests.  The establishment of national reference levels will build on these efforts and include both biophysical and socio-economic components in order to measure co-benefits. There is currently no specific method in place for measuring and monitoring forest governance as part of the overall baseline structure.

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Zambia is looking to establish a decentralised national forest monitoring system. To fulfil this goal ten provincial forest monitoring laboratories have been established, equipped with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS) technology, to monitor and report on national changes in forest and forest carbon stocks. These measurements will be complemented by a database comprising field-based and remote sensing data compiled by the Integrated Land Use Assessment phase II (ILUA II) programme, which has been technically synchronised with the NJP to feed into a national Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) system. The national MRV system will contain both bio-physical and socio-economic components (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010). The main implementing partners are the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the FAO, which provides technical support and assistance. At the district level the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR), supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is implementing a community MRV project in the Eastern Province. This is also expected to gather information and deliver lessons for the national REDD+ process. In addition, a National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), housed by the Ministry of Science and Technology at the National Institute for Scientific Research (NISR), has been tasked with coordinating activities in remote sensing, providing a one-stop-shop for remotely sensed data that can be accessed and used by the public and private sector. The NRSC is likely to play a more prominent role in the future in terms of providing a central point for remotely sensed data collection and analysis not only for Zambia but also for the region (GRZ & UN-REDD, 2010). This initiative has also been promoted as a way of improving forest governance monitoring, as it provides a tool for addressing issues of transparency and accountability (FAO, 2012b). 

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Zambia is in the process of developing a national system for addressing safeguards in regards to REDD+. For example, in early 2013 an in-depth study on Safeguards, Governance and Enforcement was commissioned by the government to assess existing REDD+ safeguards, identify gaps and propose recommendations to inform the development of the national REDD+ strategy and its subsequent implementation. Whilst a system for REDD+ safeguards is under development there are already procedures in place for implementing safeguards in the various sectors that impact on the environment and natural resources. The National Policy on the Environment of 2007 provides overall guidance on environmental and natural resource management, including the requirement to conduct and make public Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and socio-economic assessments (GRZ, 2007). This policy is supported by the Environmental Management Act of 2011, which makes EIAs and Environmental Project Briefs (EPBs) a legal requirement enforceable by law (Mason-Case, 2011). Under this Act the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA – formerly the Environmental Council of Zambia) has the authority to carry out audit controls and to monitor and evaluate public and private sector compliance. EIAs are published on ZEMA’s homepage and audit reports are channelled to the Auditor General’s Office, the national focal point for audits.

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Gender Equality

In its 2010 UN-REDD National Joint Programme (NJP) document, Zambia identifies gender inequality as a major barrier to the implementation of the programme and aims to ensure women are better informed about REDD+, and participate in decision-making processes and interventions.

Other policy documents which are relevant to consider include Zambia’s National Gender Policy, enacted in 2000, which emphasizes the relationship between gender inequality and poverty. The National Policy was accompanied by a Strategic Plan of Action (2003-2007), which was developed subsequent to the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on women’s empowerment and equality, and creates a link between gender, the environment and natural resources. Gender is also presented as a cross-cutting issue in the country’s Sixth National Development Plan (2011-2015) which states that mainstreaming gender is crucial in achieving social-economic development (Section 3.1). In 2010, a draft Forestry Policy was developed. The draft policy mentions the need to implement legal frameworks which would allow women to secure forest ownership rights, and to improve their participation in management processes and policy formulation (chapter 3.6).

Projects contributing to improving gender equality in REDD+ processes in Zambia include the Nyimba Forest Project which stimulated dialogue between all stakeholders including women and for which the District Women’s Association was identified as a major stakeholder (CIFOR 2013).

A common issue in efforts towards gender mainstreaming includes ensuring adequate methods to monitor success, as numerical data (such as presence of women in meetings) is very often not enough to indicate changes in gender equality (CIFOR 2015).


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Community Based Natural Resource Management Forum (CBNRMF) Zambia
Adam Pope
Kasanka Trust
Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia
Rose Makano
Independent Reviewer
Misail Kokwe
Independent Reviewer