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The banks of the Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Press release

New initiative taps into the power of nature to build resilience and protect biodiversity amid climate crisis

September 8, 2023

September 8, LUSAKA—The three-year Climate Adaptation and Protected Areas (CAPA) initiative, launching today in Zambia’s capital, will use nature-based solutions to support local communities in adapting to climate change while safeguarding critical ecosystems in and around protected areas in the Kavango-Zambezi and Greater Virunga landscapes in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Belize and Fiji.

“CAPA will bridge the gap between protected areas management and climate change adaptation planning, while involving women and marginalized groups at all stages to ensure an inclusive approach,” said Anne Hammill, Associate Vice President, Resilience, at IISD.

Through the CAPA initiative, IISD, along with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), with support from Global Affairs Canada, will work with local communities, traditionally marginalized groups, women, and national and local authorities to design and implement concrete gender-responsive, conflict-sensitive, nature-based solutions for adaptation that can be implemented right away.

WWF Zambia Country Director, Nachilala Nkombo, says “CAPA represents a valuable opportunity to enhance climate change adaptation measures in the Kavango-Zambezi landscapes. By working closely with local communities, we can develop solutions that not only address climate change impacts but also empower communities to actively participate in safeguarding Zambia’s natural heritage.”

CAPA will implement a wide range of activities in each site to achieve its objectives, such as

  • establishing native tree nurseries to support reforestation efforts, restocking community game ranches with native wildlife to restore ecological balance, and initiating the establishment of community forests in Zambia; 
  • supporting restoration activities of agricultural lands adjacent to protected areas, through soil and water conservation, in Uganda; 
  • promoting sustainable fisheries and establishing marine protected areas while supporting the development of climate-resilient alternative livelihood options in two communities in Fiji;
  • establishing financial protections for marine reserves in the event of natural hazards in Belize.

“Through the CAPA initiative, Canada reaffirms its commitment to climate action and supporting sustainable development in international contexts,” said Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development, at today’s launch event. “We are proud to partner with organizations like IISD, WWF, and WCS in implementing gender-responsive approaches that ensure inclusive and equitable outcomes for all.”

“CAPA aligns with Zambia’s commitment to sustainable tourism development and the conservation of our natural resources,” said Honourable Rodney Sikumba, Zambia’s Minister of Tourism. “By establishing community forests and engaging with traditionally marginalized groups, we can ensure that local communities are at the forefront to drive the climate adaptation agenda, fostering long-term resilience in line with our global goals on adaptation commitments.”

Media Contacts

For further information or interview requests, please contact:

Hazel Zulu

Senior Liaison Officer, Canadian High Commission


Mobile: +260 979 473 284                                   

Benetria Milambo

Communications Coordinator, WWF Zambia


Mobile: +260 772 099 733

Marie Royer

Communications Officer, IISD



About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.