RCMRD Consults with Zambia on Creation of Geospatial Services for Societal Good

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resource for Development (RCMRD) held meetings with representatives from the Government of Zambia from March 22-26, 2021 to conduct a consultation and needs assessment exercise aimed at defining the developmental challenges facing the country, for which RCMRD can help to address using Earth observation and GIS  technologies. The RCMRD, through the SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa Project has adopted a consultations and service design process which helps partners to agree on key development challenges, the gaps which can be addressed with remote sensing and GIS technologies to spur efficient decision making. SERVIR, a Spanish word meaning “to serve”, is a partnership with USAID, NASA, RCMRD, where RCMRD is the hub for eastern and southern Africa. Zambia, as one of the RCMRD member States, is one of the countries targeted to benefit from SERVIR services. 

Through the Surveyor General’s Office, in the Ministry of Lands, Natural resources and Environmental Protection which is the focal point ministry for RCMRD’s liaison with the Government of Zambia, staff from RCMRD held consultations with representatives from the Ministry to understand developmental challenges. The first step of consultations was held with Zambia from October 21 to 25, 2019. The assessments were in line with the RCMRD strategic plan 2019-2022 which was approved at Kasane-Botswana in 2018 that stipulates the need to design products and services that address member States needs. In a follow up exercise, the RCMRD conducted step two of the assessment to understand details of the issues prioritized by the Ministry and RCMRD namely, the Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS), implementation and deforestation as well as forest degradation. Under land administration and management and agriculture and food security, the identified areas were crop suitability mapping and yield estimation. Vulnerability mapping and hotspot analysis were identified under the weather and climate thematic area. 

The key issues highlighted in the meetings with Zambia were: land use and land cover mapping, land administration, agriculture and food security, weather and climate. The identified developmental challenges included CORS implementation; deforestation and forest degradation; crop suitability mapping and yield estimation; and vulnerability mapping and hotspot analysis. 

Photo: Needs Assessment Zambia in Meeting with Mr. Kasero, Department of  Forestry

The exercise involved both physical and virtual meetings with officials of various institutions. Among the institutions that participated in the assessment were: Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Forestry Department under the Surveyor General’s Office), University of Zambia, Ministry of Agriculture, National Remote Sensing Centre, Zambia Met, Zambia Environment Management Authority and Fisheries Department.

A virtual meeting with USAID Zambia natural resources specialist, Dr. Catherine Tembo, was also held and helped in understanding the developmental problems in Zambia in the thematic areas that were being covered in the assessment. It also shed light on more stakeholders that are playing various roles in trying to address the identified challenges. 

In line with the SERVIR Service planning approach, prioritization will be done on the identified needs and further consultations and stakeholder engagements will be done in a bid to design services that will endeavour to address those needs.Following the successful consultations with Zambia, RCMRD is in the process of designing services that are geared towards solving the issues around the specific needs.  The RCMRD staff who participated in the step two assessment were Science and Data Lead  - Anastasia Wahome, LULC & Ecosystems Lead - Edward Ouko, LULC and GHG Inventories Lead- Phoebe Oduor  and User Engagement Lead - Kenneth Kasera.


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