Ségolène Royal paid an official visit to Zambia from 5 to 10 August to prepare COP21. It is the first visit by a French minister since the country’s independence in 1964: a very positive sign of the strengthening of relations between Zambia and France. (…)
Ségolène Royal signed a Declaration of Intent with her counterparts in the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Energy, with a view to developing a partnership on climate change and energy problems.
The Minister met numerous Zambian civil society players, cultural figures, NGOs and business leaders involved with issues of climate change, protecting biodiversity, and economic and social development. (…)
The following points emerged from the visit:
1. The Zambian President stated very clearly that Zambia, like the other countries in the region must now face up to the impact of climate change.
As the country in which 40% of southern Africa’s water resources are concentrated, Zambia has built its whole energy policy on hydroelectricity, which accounts for 95% of its electricity production. Climate change is weakening this energy system: the rainy season is shorter, which is leading to a lowering of river levels and therefore a slowdown in electricity production.
Given this situation, the Minister said that one of the major challenges of COP21 is to take better account of Africa and the considerable challenges it must take up. France attaches great importance to the African continent’s ability to put across its position during the Paris conference and help adopt an agreement satisfactory to all.
Ségolène Royal also handed a letter about COP21 from President François Hollande to his Zambian counterpart. The Zambian Head of State assured the Minister of his country’s wholehearted support to help make the Paris conference a success. (…)
2. The Zambian President, Vice-President and Energy Minister reiterated their determination to develop renewable energy such as solar and wind power. (…)
Ségolène Royal emphasized that the country has strong potential as far as renewable energy is concerned.
The Declaration of Intent’s objective is to launch dialogue and cooperation between France and Zambia on renewable energy to identify the obstacles, needs and applicable technology.
3. Deforestation and waste management are major environmental issues and challenges for Zambia.
The Vice-President emphasized that Zambia’s forests are losing between 200,000 and 300,000 hectares every year. Zambia’s forests are in danger today.
The issue of waste management was also discussed. (…)
As regards protecting biodiversity, the Minister said that France has banned the ivory trade, a step welcomed by the Zambian President.
The Minister was also keen to show her support for Zambia’s national parks policy. (…)./.