As one of the century’s greatest challenges, climate change is a U.S. government priority in its diplomacy and development work. Climate change can compound pre-existing social stresses – including poverty, hunger, conflict, migration, and the spread of disease – and threatens to diminish the habitability of our planet. The economies of many developing countries are heavily dependent on climate-sensitive industries such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism. Poor communities are also more limited in their abilities to adapt to climate change.
Since 1991, USAID has spent over $3 billion on programs worldwide to mitigate climate change and help vulnerable communities build their capacity and resilience, while simultaneously meeting development objectives in the energy and water sectors, urban areas, forest conservation, agriculture, and disaster assistance. As the lead entity in the U.S. government for bilateral and regional assistance, USAID focuses on helping partner countries establish policy, improve governance, and develop financial incentives to set their economies on a low-emissions path of sustainable development and reduced vulnerability to climate impacts.
Addressing climate change means both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and coping with anticipated climate changes. Through the U. S. Global Climate Change Initiative and other climate-related programs, the United States will integrate climate change considerations into foreign assistance to foster low-carbon growth, promote sustainable and resilient societies, and reduce emissions from deforestation and land degradation. The U.S. government is working to make climate financing efficient, effective, and innovative, based on country-owned plans, and focused on achieving measurable results.
Zambia is one of nine developing countries in the world that is piloting the United Nations Collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (UN REDD). Climate change interventions in Zambia are vital. The current annual deforestation rate in Zambia is 250,000 to 300,000 hectares per year and estimates place Zambia fourth globally for having the largest deforested area.
As part of the Global Climate Change Initiative, USAID/Zambia is assisting in the development and implementation of a national strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. USAID/Zambia Climate Change activities will strengthen the overall Zambia UN-REDD strategy by field testing activities in Zambia’s Eastern Province designed to combat deforestation.