The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Zambia Branch has officially launched a new project to ‘Plant a CPC Forest’ with a tree planting ceremony at the Parliament Buildings in Lusaka. The project was an outcome of the workshop on climate change held at the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in Kampala, Uganda in September 2019.  The CPA Zambia Branch is the first CPA Branch to undertake this initiative, with support from the Forestry Department of Zambia.

Rt Hon. Dr Patrick Matibini, SC, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, planted the first tree at the opening ceremony, followed by a group of Zambian Parliamentarians. A tree was then planted on behalf of the CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg, by Mr Stephen Kawimbe, Principal Clerk for Public and International Relations at the National Assembly of Zambia.

Speaker Matibini said: "We need to recognise that one of the global challenges that we are facing is climate change. We should all be actively engaged in reforestation as an effective panacea to climate change. This is just the beginning. We hope that we can engage Parliamentarians to ensure that they take this challenge seriously."

The Speaker of the Zambia National Assembly was joined at the ceremony by Mr Ignatius Makumba, Director of the Forestry Department at the Zambian Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources who said: “This is a very good initiative and the Department will be available to work with Parliamentarians at any time when we are called. We believe that this partnership with Parliamentarians will go a long way in reaching out to the people of Zambia and telling them about the importance of tree planting."

At the CPC workshop in Uganda, delegates recognised the critical role of Parliamentarians in raising awareness of climate change and developing policies and legislation to protect the environment and human rights. The workshop also recognised the adverse and disproportionate impact of climate change on the smallest states in the Commonwealth.