Integrating climate change aspects in protected areas management planning in Zambia

Published: 13 March 2019
Last edited: 01 April 2019
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Climate change is increasingly being recognized as a major threat that will not only present new risks and threats to Protected Areas (PAs) but also will exacerbate existing threats and vulnerabilities. For many PAs, current conservation objectives, strategies and actions will need to be revised to best meet the challenges posed by climate change.


The above withstanding, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife with technical support from IUCN undertook to integrate climate change aspects in the Nsumbu National Park (Zambia) General Management Planning. This involved the design of climate change adaptation measures aimed at improving park resilience to climate change.


One of the immediate impacts of the solution include improved capacity of park managers to address climate change and increased public awareness on the impacts of climate change on ecological and social systems. Full scale implementation of the solution will result into improved park resilience to climate change.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Grassland ecosystems
Pool, lake, pond
River, stream
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical grassland, savanna, shrubland
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Ecosystem services
Fisheries and aquaculture
Forest Management
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Invasive species
Lack of technical capacity
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected areas


Sumbu, Northern Province, Zambia | Nsumbu National Park, Nsama and Mpulungu Districts, Zambia
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The challenges addressed are both technical and social:

  • Lack of recognition of the role of protected areas in achieving adaptation and mitigation goals by key actors
  • Limited access to climate and biodiversity data for conservation and development planning
  • Technical capabilities: low technical capacity to integrate climate change considerations into protected area management planning






Beneficiaries of this solution include:

  1. Planners and conservation managers from the Department of National Parks and Wildlide
  2. Park Managers of Nsumbu National Park
  3. Conservationists working in / around Nsumbu National Park and Lake Tanganyika

How do the building blocks interact?

 The six building blocks are closely related.


Capacity building  on climate change resilience (BB1): Improved stakeholder capacity clearly enhanced their participation in the assessment of climate change vulnerability and land use (BB2), development of climate change strategy (BB 3), revision of the GMP

(BB 4) and communication of the climater smart GMP (BB 5)


Likewise, knowledge and skills gained, and information generated,  during the assessment of land use and climate change vulnerability (BB2)  is critical for the development of the climate change strategy (BB 3) and the review of the GMP (BB 4). The development of the park climate change strategy (BB 3) and review of the GMP (BB 4) contributes to improved capacity on climate change resilience (BB 1) and consequently enhanced skills on the assessment of vulnerability and land use  (BB 2 ).

Communication of the climate smart GMP (BB 5) contributes to better capacity on park climate resilience  (BB 1), climate change vulnerability and land use assessment (BB 2), development of a park climate change strategy (BB 3) and also revision of the GMP (BB 4).












The solution is anticipated to deliver social and environmental benefits - both short term and long term.


The short term benefits include:

  1. Improved understanding by park managers and the general public about climate change impacts on and vulnerability of of biodiversity and ecosystems and adjacent communities
  2. Enhanced capacity of park managers and other stakeholders to design and implement priority strategies for adaptating to and mitigating climate change.
  3. increased recognition of the role that protected areas can play in supporting the adaptation of eocystems and local communities to changing climatic conditions by maintaining the flow of ecosystem services and mitigating the impacts of climate change by sequestering carbon.

Following the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures, the key anticipated long term positive impact of the solution is the reduction of vulnerability to climate change impacts hence improved climate resilience of park biodiversity and ecosystems and of adjacent communities.



Contributed by

doyi mazenzele