Team Europe supports integrated watershed management, following a landscape approach, in Zambia

On 6 March 2023, the Government of Zambia supported by Team Europe and WWF Zambia successfully launched the Magoye River Catchment Restoration and Protection Plan (2022-2030), an ambitious initiative resulting from a strong partnership with the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation (MoWDS), the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment (MoGEE), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zambia.

The Plan is the first of its kind in Zambia to pursue declaration of a river catchment as water resource protection area. Its implementation will follow a landscape approach to reverse degradation, restore and better protect the Magoye ecosystem, which is under threat as a result of unsustainable socio-economic activities and impact of climate change. Over 200,000 people and 400,000 livestock depend on the Magoye for agriculture, fisheries, energy and forest products.

The launch of the Plan was backed by high level representation from all stakeholders. The Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Hon. Mike Mposha as guest of honour, the European Union Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA H.E. Jacek Jankowski, the Minister for Ministry of Green Economy and Environment Hon. Collins Nzovu and the Minister for Southern Province Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa.

Magoye river catchment is one of the most important river systems in the country and an important tributary to the Kafue River, but it has over the years been degraded due to human activities along the river banks,” said Hon. Mposha. “The once perennial river has now become a seasonal river which merely drains rainwater - the reality of water scarcity has become clear to all of us.

H.E. Ambassador Jankowski informed those present that “climate change is at the heart of the European Union’s agenda and building partnerships for sustainable economic growth is our first priority for our cooperation with Zambia for years to come.” He added: “The sustainable management of water catchments are essential for people’s livelihoods and prosperity.”

In his speech, Hon. Nzovu highlighted the extent of the challenges facing Zambia today: “We are in a crisis, a climate crisis - our water, food and biodiversity security are at risk.” He added: “we need to do something, and we have to do it very quickly.”

The European Union has supported integrated watershed management in Zambia, including in the Magoye river catchment with EUR 13.5 million and will contribute EUR 8 million in the coming years to consolidate restoration and protection of catchment ecosystems.