Zambia’s climate change negotiators, lawyers to be trained

Zambian negotiators at the international climate change talks will take part in a training workshop in Lusaka, along with ministry and lead agency officials, on 14-15 May.

The training comes ahead of the next session of UN climate change talks, which will take place in Germany in June.
The workshop will take place at Sandy’s Creations.

The workshop will provide participants with the legal skills they need to not only influence the global climate change agreement that all nations are set to sign in 2015, but also to understand what that UN agreement will mean for the law at home in Zambia.

The training will be run by the Legal Response Initiative (LRI) and the Climate Focus Network Zambia. It is not open to the public but interested journalists may attend the first session on 14 May from 9.30 to 11 am.

“Legal knowledge and skills will play an increasingly important role in the story of climate change thanks to both the negotiations towards a global treaty and new national legislation to address the problem,” says Christoph Schwarte, executive director of LRI.

“But because few of Zambia’s lawyers and government officials have the knowledge and skills they need to work in this new arena, there is a risk that people will not benefit from the potential of law to protect lives and livelihoods.”

The 2015 UN agreement and domestic legislation will both have profound effects on people’s lives and the national economy as they create legal frameworks to limit pollution, protect forests, improve energy supplies and limit the impacts of extreme events on vulnerable people.

Shula Mwamba, coordinator of the Climate Focus Network, says the workshop is a rare opportunity to strengthen the knowledge and skills of Zambian negotiators, lawyers and policymakers.

“This training is well-timed,” says Mwamba. “It means Zambia’s representatives will to go to the UN climate change talks in Germany next month better-equipped to negotiate for a strong outcome for our country and our people.”

Participants at the workshop will learn about international law and the UN climate change negotiations specifically. They will gain skills in drafting legal text that will be necessary to shape the global legal agreement that parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are due to adopt in 2015.

“Zambian lawyers and government officials need to understand the international legal framework and how it will affect law in their own jurisdiction,” says Schwarte. “It is also important for journalists to become familiar with the legal aspects of climate change as this will become an important area for reporting in the years ahead.”

On Friday 16 May, a smaller event will be held for young lawyers to help ensure that these members of the next generation of the legal community also understand the legal aspects of international and national efforts to tackle climate change.

The work shops are funded by the UK based Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)

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