English  |  Español  |  Français

Zambia - Main Details

Show map

Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Savanna (woodland and grassland type vegetation) is the major terrestrial biome and lies between the rain forest conditions in the northwest of the country and semi-desert conditions in the southwest. Zambia also has freshwater ecosystems made up of natural and man-made lakes as well as perennial rivers and agricultural land. A country study showed that Zambia has a total of 8,017 species of organisms of which plants and fauna constitute 47% and 45% respectively. A total of 316 species of plants and animals are endemic, 174 are rare and 31 are endangered/vulnerable. The mungo and miombo woodlands and grasslands are the ecosystems with the highest biodiversity, while the montane forest has the highest number of endemic woody plants. Agricultural ecosystems harbour about 100 cultivated plant species of which 15% are classified as indigenous and 7% naturalized. There are also about 16 species of domesticated animals, mainly cattle and chickens. The major threats to biodiversity conservation in Zambia are mainly caused by human activities. These include deforestation, wildfires, population growth, pollution and invasive species.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

In addition to the 19 National Parks and 34 Game Management Areas, Zambia has 2 national bird sanctuaries.

Percentage of Forest Cover

Miombo woodlands cover about 50% of the country. Man made lakes cover about 9,000 sq. km.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Six strategic goals with objectives, strategies and actions have been derived based on the synthesis and analysis of the results of the biodiversity assessment. The goals are as follows: ensure the conservation of a full range of Zambia’s natural ecosystems through a network of protected areas of viable size; conservation of the genetic diversity of Zambia’s crops and livestock; improve the legal and institutional framework and human resources to implement the strategies for conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use and equitable sharing of benefits from biodiversity; sustainable use and management of biological resources; develop an appropriate legal and institutional framework and the needed human resources to minimize the risks of GMOs; and ensure the equitable sharing of benefits from the use of Zambia’s biological resources.

Implementation of the Convention

Initiatives in Protected Areas

Zambia is addressing issues of protected areas through the implementation of a project namely, ‘Reclassification and Effective Management of National Protected Areas Systems’. The main objective of the project is to strengthen the enabling frameworks and capacities for managing the National Protected Areas System of PA that have biodiversity conservation as a principle objective. The project aims to develop and put in place appropriate policy, regulatory and governance frameworks in order to provide new tools for public/ community/ private/ civil society Protected Area management partnerships. It also aims at strengthening and enhancing the existing institutional capacities for improved Protected Areas representation, monitoring and evaluation and business and investment planning as well as expanding the available options for private-public-community-civil society management partnerships through field testing. Ultimately, the project envisages to make Zambia a tourism destination of choice based on a National Protected Areas System comprising a representative sample of Zambia’s ecosystems that are effectively safeguarded from human-induced pressures through management partnerships that contribute not only to economic development, but similarly, rural development. The project has gone through the 1st phase of concept and proposal development and is now in the final phase of implementation in selected pilot areas. The implementation phase will last for a period of 6 years up to 2011. It is envisaged that the outcome of the project will be used to effect positive reforms in the management of protected areas in the other protected areas within the country.

Initiatives in Access and Benefit Sharing

In recognition of the pivotal role that genetic resources play in the economic and social development of the country, particularly, to the alleviation of poverty of the local communities, Zambia conducted a study on the status of implementation of ABS principles to identify gaps and draw lessons for improvement. The study revealed that ABS in Zambia has been implemented using sector based approach through CBNRM programmes and has been most successful in the Wildlife sector. The study also revealed that the country lacks a holistic enabling legal framework for the effective implementation of ABS in an integrated cross-sectoral manner. Zambia also conducted another study on capacity development for Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing arising from their utilization. The study revealed that there is need to develop community capacity in order to implement the ABS concepts. Further, Zambia has formed a functional National Expert Working Group on ABS to provide guidance to the implementation of ABS principles in the country. The working group comprises membership from local communities, civil society, NGOs, academia institutions and government ministries.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Zambia recognizes and attaches great importance to the participation of indigenous and local communities in the management of natural resources in the country. Through the implementation of Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) programmes, the community is empowered to effectively participate in the decision-making process. Indigenous and local communities are represented in national committees, working groups and other similar bodies that are formed to preside over natural resource issues. For instance, the House of Chiefs comprising chiefs who represent indigenous and local communities from all over the country meet to preside over many pertinent issues including those related to biodiversity management. The Natural Resources Consultative Forum (NRCF) that has been formed to provide a platform for various stakeholders to debate and discuss over natural resources issues has representation from the local communities. Zambia is yet to translate these efforts into specific national legislation so as to give legal impetus for the respect, preservation and maintenance of knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities. In the agricultural sector however, efforts to develop policies that would protect native land races is on going through a project namely, Genetic Resources Policy Initiative (GRPI).

Rate this page - 69 people have rated this page 
  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme