Policy Brief on Inclusion of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Zambia`s Nationally Determined Contributions

  • Ronnie James Murungu WaterAid East Africa, Kigali, Rwanda
  • Olutayo Bankole-Bolawole WaterAid East Africa, Kigali, Rwanda
  • Collins Otieno Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Charles Mwangi Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: WASH, Zambia, Sanitation, Hygiene, NDC


The Paris Agreement aims to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, thus contributing to sustainable development goals through building climate-resilient communities and industries. Water is the primary medium through which climate change influences the earth’s ecosystem and thus the livelihood and well-being of societies. Extreme weather conditions impact many sectors such as health, tourism, agriculture, and industry where water plays a key role. The climate effect is first and foremost through water systems as highlighted by the World Economic Forum (2016) Global Risks Report. Hence the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector plays a pivotal role in addressing climate change.

In the last decade, Zambia has experienced the impacts of climate change in the form of extreme weather conditions and rising temperatures. In light of this, the Zambian government developed NDCs in accordance with the Paris agreement that aims to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and develop sustainable climate-resilient communities and industries. The impacts of climate change are felt through its influence on water. WASH is not only affected by climate change, but also a contributing factor to GHG emissions. Therefore, the WASH sector should play a pivotal role in contributing to the climate change targets.

There are gaps among state and non-state actors and with affected communities in acknowledging the critical role of WASH in making real the NDC that need bridging. These include awareness and knowledge of WASH in contributing to NDC; the need to go beyond water to include sanitation and hygiene elements in the NDCs as holistic approach; inclusive participation of civil society and other non-state actors in addressing the gaps; integration of sectors and programmes in the NDCs; and enhanced governance and accountability mechanisms.