The Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, the Right Honourable Madam Nelly B K Mutti, MP has stated that climate change has posed to be the world’ s greatest challenge of the 21st Century. She said that, the poorest communities around the world are particularly the most vulnerable who are experiencing the devastating and pernicious effects of climate change.

The Right Honourable Mutti said this on Monday 22nd March 2022 when she addressed the 144th Assembly of the Inter – Parliamentary Union and Related Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.  
‘As a woman from a developing country, climate change is close to my heart. This is because I have witnessed its devastating impacts in my country, which sadly, has disproportionately affected women and girls, and worsened their socio-economic status’, said the Right Honourable Mutti, MP. 

She noted that, while recognising several interventions at global, regional and national levels, climate change challenges and its effects remain complex. She urged the Parliamentarians to ensure that plans to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, are on-going, in order to embrace and adopt ‘healthy and green recovery’ strategies and interventions. 

She added that it was imperative that parliaments are mobilized to spearhead ambitious climate actions, owing to their centrality by virtue of being representative institutions. She noted that, through their entrenched legislative, oversight, budget and representative functions, Parliaments with their strategic mandate can be mobilised to provide legislative framework on climate change and also influence and monitor the implementation of climate change legislation and budgets.
The Right Honourable Mutti, MP, further added that Parliaments can be mobilised to provide effective oversight by ensuring that the legislation it enacts is sufficiently funded and implemented; and guarantee that the citizens it represents are consulted and included in climate change decision-making processes. 

She however noted that structural and policy issues, such as limited financial support, inadequate technical capacity, overlapping sectoral objectives of synergy between the diverse sectors and insufficient relevant information and data to support MPs in addressing climate change issues, are the most prominent challenges. She further mentioned that, as people’s representatives, and beyond the confines of legislation and oversight in Parliament, parliamentarians should be mobilised to act on climate change. 

Speaker Mutti informed the gathering that in Zambia, the had Parliamentarians felt the need to address the effects of climate change in their constituencies and therefore established the Zambian Parliamentary Conservation Caucus, which is a cross-party voluntary grouping for parliamentarians with a mandate to work towards prioritising and building consensus on issues that affect conservation, natural resources management and climate change. The Honourable Madam Speaker further said that in 2015, the ZPCC, in partnership with various stakeholders that work towards climate resilient communities, such as the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), advocated for legislation on forest protection and management. 

The Right Honourable Speaker also said that the Caucus made a submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Environment and Tourism which led to the enactment of the current Forest Act No. 4 of 2015 which provides for, inter alia, the sustainable management and protection of wildlife, including forest ecosystems in the wake of climate change. She also disclosed that parliamentarians have partnered with the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s Forestry Department to plant 1000 trees in each of their constituencies, as one of the measures to mitigate against the impact of climate change at community level.

The 114th IPU Assembly is being held in Bali, Indonesia from 20th to 24th March 2022 under theme “Getting to Zero: Mobilising Parliaments to Act on Climate Change”.  The meeting has attracted over 25 Speakers from across the world and over 1200 delegates are in attendance. The Honourable Madam Speaker is accompanied by Members of Parliament from the ruling party, the opposition and an Independent Member of Parliament.