Climate change adaptation and mitigation in Zambia: An examination of policy and institutional response to environmental and human security
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Changing climatic conditions have had devastating effects on Zambia with impacts to physical and biological systems already being felt. The Climate induced changes are exerting considerable stress on the Zambia’s already vulnerable sectors mostly the agriculture and food security others being the human health, water, energy, wildlife, and forestry. It is significantly affecting the economic, social and environmental dimensions of national development. With a potential of making the current agricultural practices used to be unsustainable in the face of the limitations imposed by climate change, and a situation calling for an urgent need for adaptation to avoid worsened food insecurity, malnutrition diseases and worsening poverty situation. Despite the tremendous impacts of climate change, the government response seems to fall short of seeing the various scales to which these impacts occur, as well as of identifying the gaps that may help generate well-informed decisions and policies. At the heart of this malfunctioning are the public policies and key institutions involved in adaptation and mitigation of the impact of changing climate. Through this case study, which employed a qualitative approach, the attempt was to answer the question of whether national policies addressing adaptation and mitigation measures have been responsive to the environmental and human insecurity caused by climate change in Zambia. The research findings conclude that government policies and priorities have been largely ineffective at addressing agricultural difficulties, especially linking them to climate change adaptation and mitigation, including the proposed programmes under National Adaptation Programme Action. The failures are largely due to the fragmented and disparate policy community concerned with environmental change. The study proposes a policy and institutional framework for a response that promotes people’s access to much needed natural resources to support their livelihood and adaptability to climate change and climate variability.