CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
THE Finnish Government has signed a €205,000 contract with the World Wide Fund (WWF) to host an environmental secretariat in Zambia.
Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Timo Olkkonen said the contract for the establishment of the environmental hub between WWF Zambia and the Finnish Government was signed in March this year.
Mr Olkkonen said this in Lusaka on Thursday during the launch of the commencement of the establishment of the civil society environment hub.
“The contract is for carrying out of activities during 2017 to 2019. The first implementation is considered a pilot project and the second year’s support will be determined by the success of this first year,” he said.
The Finnish Government has launched the process that will lead to the establishment of the secretariat.
Mr Olkkonen said Finland has set aside €4.6 million to be channelled to the Civil Society Environment Fund (CSEF) from 2015 to 2019.
He said the fund is aimed at supporting civil society organisations implementing environmental conservation projects.
He said the CSEF’s main objective is to enhance the role of civil society organisations to implement sound environmental management projects and promote sustainable and equitable development in Zambia.
“This project specifically targets civil society organisations implementing environmental projects and we recently included organisations whose work is based on social and environmental objectives in the project,” Mr Olkkonen said.
He said there is need for civil society organisations to have a stronger voice in the provision of evidence of environmental challenges from the local community’s perspective.
And Mr Olkkonen said Zambia will continue to be Finland’s long term partner in development cooperation.
“We have co-operated in various sectors such as environment and natural resources, especially forestry,” he said.
Mr Olkkonen said the challenges facing the environment in Zambia are serious and multi-faceted and call for collaboration between Government and civil society organisations.