Climate change is a global phenomenon whose impacts are now being felt across all regions of the world. However, these impacts are unequally distributed and depend, in part, on the economic and technological capacity of each country. Climate change predictions indicate that Africa south of the Sahara is the region that will be impacted most (IPCC, 2010). In this region, the increase in intensity, magnitude and frequency of climate variability is already causing concern for both national governments and the international community.
Climate finance is central to global efforts that aim to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). At the international level, climate finance has dominated much of the UNFCCC negotiations, reflecting a divergence in position between developed and developing countries. At the national level, particularly for the least developed countries and African countries , available funding represents one of the key limiting factors holding back the delivery of national obligations.
Developing country governments are rightly concerned about potential tensions between sustaining the economic growth needed to generate jobs and reduce poverty, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. International climate finance has the potential to support the policies that can build resilience against the threats posed by a changing climate. However, delivering public financial resources for climate change-relevant actions depends critically on the strength of the public finance management system. The long-term nature of climate change investments places particular demands on this system. Considerable investments in system strengthening will therefore continue to be necessary to allow for an effective national response to climate change.
As for Zambia, much progress has been made, over a relatively short period of time, on developing an overarching policy for climate change. The national climate change strategy provides guidance for both the coordination and implementation challenges that confront the country’s response to climate change. In many respects, the trajectory of government’s delivery programme has now been set.
More challenges remain in securing the clarity needed in this new area of public policy over institutional mandates, roles and responsibilities. The intent to establish new structures needs to be balanced with the need for established parts of government such Ministry of Lands & Natural resources, Ministry of Finance and Office of the Vice President to build strengthened capacity.