“It’s exciting to see that traditional leadership is supporting and actively participating in climate change initiatives as this will help target climate action from the local level as well.” This was the sentiment shared by Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema as he interacted with Hivos’ Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) during the Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF).
The VCA program uses an inclusive and rights-based approach to create widespread societal support for locally-shaped climate solutions. It was exhibiting at the ZITF in partnership with Zambia’s Ministry of Green Economy and Environment.
The ZITF is the biggest trade and commercial exhibition at in Zambia, hosting both local and foreign exhibitors from all sectors of the economy. It provided an opportunity for exhibitors and participants to identify and co-create new local climate solutions. Hivos and local partners were joined by climate activist Chief Bunda Bunda. Together, they showcased the VCA program and held climate awareness sessions with visitors.
The President made a point of engaging with the VCA team at the stand. Mr. Hichilema has often highlighted the need to address climate change in Zambia. His keen interest in the climate action conversation therefore bodes well for meaningful steps towards climate justice in the country.
Paying his respects to Chief Bunda Bunda at the Hivos stand, the President was impressed by the strong connection between the local traditional leader and Hivos.
“Thank you [Hivos] for the effort you have made [towards climate action]. Hivos is a key actor in civil society development programming,” President Hichilema said.
Local leadership in support of climate action
While talking with the President, Chief Bunda Bunda stressed the importance of local leadership in addressing climate causes.
“It is important for my people, and for other communities, to get involved in climate action. The local voice has to be heard and respected as they are the ones that are most affected by climate change,” Chief Bunda Bunda said.
The VCA program works closely with local communities in establishing climate change solutions that are tailor-made for the affected areas.