President Edgar Lungu has called on nations to consider re-calibrating their relationship with nature by rebuilding a more environmentally responsible world in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
President Lungu said as the global population swelled there was not to be conscious of environmentally friendly ways of dealing with nature.
Addressing the 75th United Nations General Assembly during the Summit on Biodiversity Leadership Dialogue, President Lungu told world leaders that the covid-19 pandemic had acutely undermined economic activities across the globe, particularly the tourism and conservation sectors.
The Head of State delivered his address to the General Assembly through a pre-recorded statement on addressing biodiversity loss and mainstreaming biodiversity for sustainable development.
The theme of the Summit on Biodiversity is; “Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.”
He informed world leaders that the Covid-19 had completely altered human movement and activities hence the need for nations to address zoonotic disease that are emerging as a result of human activities.
President Lungu stated that Zambia’s abundant biodiversity in flora and fauna such as forestry fisheries, wildlife and aquatic biodiversity, which form the country’s socio-economic basis had been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has endangered wildlife species such as Rhinos that require constant protection and management. In many National Parks, Rangers prevent the decimation of wildlife by poachers and also implement other wildlife protection regulations. With COVID-19 cutbacks, the endangered animals might be at increased risk,” President Lungu said.
He cautioned that other consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic included the increased illegal logging, pollution of the ecosystems and the subsequent closure of ecotourism sites.
President Lungu said Zambia’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan of 2015 had estimated that the country had over 12,500 different species in flora and fauna but that this critical biodiversity was facing growing threat of loss because of human induced activities.
“In order to address this serious threat to biodiversity, my government has enacted policy and legislative frameworks to promote biodiversity conservation. Our national Vision 2030 and the Seventh National Development Plan have integrated environmental issues. We place emphasis on sectors such as agriculture, forestry, wildlife and wetlands,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State said Zambia had taken practical measures such as the promotion of Climate Smart Agriculture, the annual National Tree Planting Programme and the wildlife re-stocking in the effort of addressing biodiversity loss.
President Lungu reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to prioritizing sustainable management and conservation of the country’s biodiversity.
He said Zambia fully supported efforts on the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This statement has been issued by Mr. Wallen Simwaka, First Secretary for Press at Permanent Mission of Zambia at the United Nations.