BioCarbon Partners (BCP), supported through the USAID Community Forests Program (CFP), in partnership with the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), and Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), are proud to announce achieving the world’s first carbon neutral national park from operations in Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia. Following on the announcement of the global climate agreement at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015, this development illustrates commitment from the African tourism sector towards a carbon-conscious future that this global agreement heralds.

In Lower Zambezi National Park (NP), every single tourism concessionaire based in the NP participated in this initiative. Thirteen lodges participated, of which six lodges are located in the park: Chiawa Camp, Old Mondoro Bush Camp, Anabezi Camp, Mwambashi River Lodge, Sausage Tree and Potato Bush Camp. Impressively, lodges in the adjacent Chiawa Game Management Area, such asChongwe River Camp, Chongwe River House, Kasaka Lodge, and Tsika Island, Baines River Camp, Kanyemba Lodge, andRoyal Zambezi Lodge partnered in the effort, even though some are not directly dependent on the park on a commercial basis. This further highlights the emissions reductions and conservation commitment of these operators. Mr. Kampamba Kombe, the Acting Director General at ZAWA, added: “This innovative achievement not only supports conservation and poverty reduction activities around the Lower Zambezi National Park, but also aims to promote Lower Zambezi National Park as a world class wildlife tourism destination”.

A carbon neutral national park generates no greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations, those of its partners and concessionaires. Inspired by efforts to achieve carbon neutral national parks from operations in the USA and UK, this Zambian initiative aims to show Zambian private sector tourism leadership and their solidarity with those calling for global climate action. Tourism is the world’s largest service sector industry, so it is only fitting that powerful examples of tourism operators taking responsibility for the emissions they directly generate begin to emerge. Given that tourism energy, fuel and food production needs are significant, this announcement shows how this sector can become a force for change if more operators worldwide take incremental steps to reduce the emissions tourism activities generate.

Source : Atta

13 January 2016