Friday, June 15, 2012
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:24 CAT
ZAMBIA'S social, economic and environmental development indicators have failed to tally and resonate with realities in communities, says the Zambia Institute of Environmental Management.
ZIEM chief executive officer Morgan Katati said this was because the economic and social output over the last 20 years had failed to reflect the real situation at household, community, district, provincial and national level.
Katati said the current economic growth had failed to result in improved human well-being in communities, social inclusion and equity, and significantly reduce environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
"The developmental strategies and programmes have not resulted in low carbon emission looking at the current green house gas levels, pollution and land degradation in the country resulting from land use. Resource inefficiency focusing on forestry, mining and water sectors and social inequality as regards the gaps between the rich and the poor people in the country continue to persist. This is an indication that 'business as usual' is not working any more. Zambians need to be encouraged and inspired to creatively think of solutions that will meet the developmental aspirations of Zambia by linking people, natural resources and prosperity at all levels of development," he said.
He said the citizenry had not been involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of programmes at community, district and national levels and this had resulted in the mismatch between what was planned and what was implemented on the ground, income disparities and high unemployment levels.
"All this is driven by policies that have a tendency to promote inequality in the society," he said.
Katati said some of the people on the Copperbelt, North Western and Lusaka provinces who had been retrenched from the mines were still grappling with abject poverty.
"One of the key lessons we can draw from this experience is that running economies the way we have always done, doing business as usual, is clearly not an option. Sustainable development, therefore, is an alternative approach and a smarter way of doing business and foster development that trickles down to individuals in the communities," he said.
Katati said sustainable development could be viewed as one whose growth in income and employment was driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy consumption and resource efficiency, prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
He said development priorities in the nation should therefore be structured to embrace changes that would propel effective implementation of programmes and activities in the provinces.
"Zambia therefore, should use its rich forest water and mineral resources as a comparative advantage to foster sustainable development. Districts should therefore engage a wide range of institutions, ranging from communities, individuals, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisation and business and in implementing the sustainable development initiatives," said Katati.