ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) for Anglophone and Lusophone Africa has supported about 40 community-led environmental projects in Zambia totalling US$1.7 million in the last seven years.
The GEF-SGP has environmental projects running in North-Western, Western, Luapula, Lusaka, Central, Southern and Eastern Provinces.
GEF is a partnership for international cooperation with a membership of 183 formed in 1991 with an objective of addressing global environmental issues.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) GEF-SGP steering committee chairperson Patrick Matakala said the programme is aimed at empowering the grassroots communities to engage in viable environmental partnerships.
During a GEF-SGP workshop on Monday, Professor Matakala said the environmental projects are designed to help generate sustainable livelihoods in the project areas.
â€œWe all need to join forces to sustainably manage our worldâ€™s natural resources. If the soils that grow our food, the water we drink, and ecological processes that we depend on are not preserved through sound management efforts, then countless livelihoods are in danger, especially those of the marginalised and the poor,â€ he said.
Earlier, Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Christabel Ngimbu said the programme has so far benefited over 13,170 households.
Ms Ngimbu said Zambia joined the GEF-SGP during the third operational phase (OP3) in 2006 though operations started during the fourth (OP4) in 2008.
â€œThrough its small grants programme, GEF has provided more than 20,000 grants to civil-society organisations (CSOs) and community-based organisations with an aim of securing global environmental benefits through sustainable use and conservation of natural resources, poverty reduction and local empowerment of communities,â€ she said.
And United Nations (UN) resident coordinator and UNDP representative Janet Rogan said the programme has been strategically positioned to target its operations towards poor and vulnerable communities to help
strengthen their resilience by providing financial and technical support to CSOs.
â€œDuring the past operational phase of 2011/14, the SGP delivered US$42 million in grant resources coupled with almost US$40 million in co-financing to 1,256 projects led by CSOs in 25 countries in Anglophone and Lusophone countries,â€ Ms Rogan said.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka