An interview with Mr. Hartley Walimwipi, NDC Project Manager, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) & UNDP 


Mr. Hartley Walimwipi (right) during a stakeholder consultation in the province of Kolomo.



When it comes to implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement within local development priorities, having a good stakeholder engagement strategy is critical. Zambia is one of the countries in the lead, having developed multi-stakeholder networks on climate action years before the Paris Agreement through UNDP’s Low Emission Capacity Building Programme . We talked with Hartley Walimwipi, the project manager for UNDP’s NDC Support Programme, about Zambia’s experience with institutional capacity building and integrated climate and development planning.

Years ahead of the Paris Agreement, Zambia had already been working on creating a national stakeholder network to work on emission reduction measures. Zambia then embarked on engaging stakeholders at the sub-national level in all 10 of Zambia’s provinces to get buy-in before the Paris Agreement. Could you tell me more about the process?

Several years ago, we started planning our transition to a low-carbon pathway for five key sectors. The first step was to raise awareness and train people. We worked with the locally hired consultants to build local capacity to understand and design emission reduction plans or “Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action Plans – NAMAs”. From there, we created multi-sectoral stakeholder groups to identify, prioritize and design mitigation actions. So, we already had a network in place at the national level before the Paris Agreement. We followed a similar strategy for the creation of a transparency network to establish a greenhouse-gas (GHG) inventory.

Before the Paris Agreement, our project team and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, traveled to all ten provinces to raise awareness about the impending global agreement on climate change and the formulation of our national climate plan or (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions - (I)NDC. After Paris, the Ministry did another round across the provinces, explaining provincial leaders the meaning of our NDC in the context of the Paris Agreement and explaining how existing national mitigation and adaptation plans fit into our NDC.

How did you manage to explain abstract concepts such as the Paris Agreement, the NDC and the linkages with various adaptation and mitigation measures in a way it was understood?

There was already an understanding of the national mitigation and adaptation plans (NAPAs, NAMAs) and other climate plans thanks to the awareness and information work we had been undertaking for the last few years [under LECB]. For the Paris Agreement, we tried to bring specific, local examples when we spoke with the provincial leaders and technical officers.

The Machinga province, for example, is home to a 1,700km oil pipeline which supplies crude oil from Tanzania into Zambia, but also hosts a rail line which is co-owned by Tanzania and Zambia. In an effort to raise awareness, we illustrated how oil usage contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and explained how farmers could use the railway to transport their agricultural produce instead of driving them in trucks. Switching to this transportation mode would lower emissions in the province.

You have to use concrete, locally relevant examples because if you explain it in abstract terms, it is difficult to understand. I also give people a thinking exercise, so it keeps sticking in people’s minds. This is why I organize these awareness and education workshops in an interactive format.



Zambia is one of ten countries pioneering the integration of gender-responsive action at the whole-economy level in the NDC process? How can capacity for climate & gender be enhanced?

We will build a multi-stakeholder group similar to what we did for the national mitigation actions and the greenhouse gas inventory. Pre-Paris, I brought all stakeholders across relevant ministries together to form working groups. These cross-ministerial groups helped sensitizing key stakeholders to the issues at hand and get their inputs.

For gender, we may do the same. I had between 3-5 people from each ministry join the group to ensure enough capacity is built, even with attrition and turn-over. Going forward, we will merge the existing groups into an “NDC Platform” and bring in gender focal points for each ministry. This model could facilitate a better exchange among ministries and infuse gender issues into the discussions.


How would this play out for the subnational level?

For NDC outreach, we can already build on networks from earlier trainings such as for the national mitigation actions. On the subnational level, the groups are cross-sectoral. They each have a focal point who is linked into the national platform.

Before the Paris Agreement, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) and later Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) were driving awareness around the I/NDC. The ministry called upon the UNDP Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Project (now NDC Support Programme) as experts to support these sensitizing efforts.

We handle all coordinating activities for stakeholder engagement from ZEMA and develop an NDC Platform, which will then be hosted by the newly established Climate Change Department. We will ensure that the NDC platform is institutionalized and integrated into formal institutional arrangements right from the start.

This integrated approach can also offer important lessons for the new National Development Plan, which is trying to integrate the Zambia’s objectives under the Paris Agreement, Sendai and Agenda 2030. How were NDC actions integrated in the new plan?

As the Government of Zambia realized that they wanted to strengthen the climate angle in the new, 7th National Development Plan, we were part of an expert team to offer input on integrating climate change, the NDC and the Paris Agreement. I ensured that both adaptation and mitigation were reflected. I also ensured that indicators for the NDC were integrated, and that the national mitigation actions, which the government developed under the UNDP Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) project, were reflected.


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