Obed Kawanga & Tsoka Phiri, Network for Environmental Concerns & Solutions (NECOS), Lusaka, Zambia

Presentation Title: Urban adaptation to climate change: A case of Madimba settlement, Lusaka, Zambia




There are many vulnerabilities and anticipated impacts of climate change on various water and sanitation technologies in the peri-urban area of Madimba in Lusaka, Zambia.  This study was based on a methodology of longitudinal action-oriented adaptive field work for a period of six years (2008 to 2013), which brought out three distinctive climate adaptive sustainable improvement strategies: ecosystem, economical and socio-cultural. 

Embarking on climate change adaptation and resilience, it is necessary for any city to develop appropriate urban adaptation options that work with the given ecosystem. Perspectives on the requirement for the peri-urban settlements were shared by stakeholders such as the Lusaka City Council, the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company, water trusts, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Key Lessons Learned

The residents of Madimba and other similar peri-urban settlements not legally recognized by their governments, face challenges in implementing climate change adaptation initiatives, such as tree planting, construction of drainages, access to safe water and the introduction of the early maturing crops, etc.

Policy/Practice Implications of Research

  • Climate change adaptation initiatives need to be spearheaded by experienced and knowledgeable individuals with input from local residents. When creating policies concerned with climate change, the government should incorporate the knowledge appropriate to local conditions. This may help in the formation and implementation of long-lasting working policies. 
  • Climate change should be a crosscutting issue in all development programs. Increasing awareness of new farming techniques can also improve adaptation initiatives as well as enhance food security.
  • The government should increase funding to authorities, such as environmental health experts, in order to widen the coverage of climate change initiatives and their implementation.
  • Abolish the construction of septic tanks (except polythene-lined) and soak-ways in areas with high water tables or that are prone to flooding.
  • Each and every school and educational institution should have a minimum of ten trees. This policy will help increase the nation’s carbon sink base.

Knowledge Gaps and Needs

  • The absence of the local authority in Madimba is a missing link between the grassroots level and the central government.
  • The impacts of climate change adaptation initiatives needs to be monitored, in order to determine their effectiveness.


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