The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is the first, and currently the only Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) project in Zambia. It was also the first project in Africa, and second in the world, to achieve “triple” gold level validation with the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) Standard for its community level impact.
The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is the first pilot REDD+ project in Zambia, protecting 39,000 hectares (100,000 acres) of primary Miombo forest that borders the Lower Zambezi National Park (4,092 km sq). Known as the Rufunsa Conservancy, this area strategically protects 60 kilometres of the National Park’s boundary, providing a buffer zone between the park and communities.
This area has a growing human population and a thriving charcoal trade. The Lower Zambezi National Park is also part of a globally significant trans-frontier conservation area that includes Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to 23,000 elephants—one of Africa’s largest populations. The Lower Zambezi National Park area also provides valuable habitat for lions, wild dogs, and locally threatened species such as sables, elands and roan antelopes.
We work with approximately 1,200 households and 8,300 community residents in the area. Prior to the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project, deforestation rates were estimated to be eleven times higher than Zambia’s national rate, which is already one of the highest in the world, at an estimated 250-300,000 hectares lost per year. Soaring poverty rates, as high as 88%, meant many families in the area turned to charcoal production as a source of income – this area alone was estimated to be supplying 53% of Lusaka’s charcoal demand. Now, as a result of the project, this is rapidly changing.
As the first and currently only example of VCS verifiable REDD+ activities taking place “on the ground” in Zambia, it is envisioned that the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project will serve as a model for the implementation of additional community-based REDD+ projects in the country.
Key partners in this project include: the Soli Shamifwi Royal Establishment, the traditional leaders (Headmen) and Cooperatives of Ndubulula, Mweeshang’ombe, Namanongo and Chilimba community zones, Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) implementing partners such as the Zambia Forestry Department and Department of National Parks, Rufunsa District Council, Chongwe District Council, as well as other partners including Sable Transport Limited and Musika Development Initiatives.
Validation and Verification against International Standards:
CCB: BCP has achieved REDD+ validation of the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard. The project has been validated to the Gold level of the CCB Standards Second Edition for climate change adaptation and exceptional community and biodiversity benefits.
VCS: The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project has achieved VCS verification.