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Photo of a man and a woman sitting under a tree in the shade

Zambian woman describes benefits of solar electrification of her home to inform development impact assessment. Photo by Nancy Serenje Ng’oma, Centre Coordinator, CEEEZ

June 2016

With support from the EC-LEDS program, the Government of the Republic of Zambia is leading stakeholder-driven efforts to explore synergies between development objectives and climate action. Zambia recently demonstrated leadership in this area through assessing development impacts of various mitigation options detailed in the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Zambia's leadership in assessing development impacts of mitigation actions started long before the INDC process. Beginning in 2014 via the EC-LEDS program, the Zambian Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with local technical institutions and stakeholders to assess and communicate development impacts of low emission development strategies (LEDS) actions. The partnership commenced with workshops and training sessions with the Zambian Center for Energy, Environment, and Engineering (CEEEZ) to champion a development impact assessment (DIA) process in the country.

Starting in late 2015, Zambia, the Rural Electric Authority, and CEEEZ also began developing a DIA framework to assess impacts of rural electrification projects.

According to Nancy Serenje Ng'oma, Centre Coordinator for CEEEZ, "The DIA framework has provided a broad view of impacts—both positive and negative, and even those not thought of initially—aided identification of linkages across sectors, assisted in identifying actors/stakeholders—old and new—and has facilitated the bringing together of information from various sources, thereby creating databases, especially in cases where there was a storage of information."


Zambia used the following DIA process to inform its INDC and prioritized mitigation actions:

  1. Partnership established between government of Zambia, USAID, and CEEEZ to lead analysis to inform climate action
  2. Capacity built within CEEEZ to lead the DIA process and to use other supporting analytical tools
  3. Zambia prioritized three key impacts for assessment based on national development goals
  4. CEEEZ performed initial impact analysis using available literature and drafted "concept notes" describing potential impacts
  5. Concept notes shared with key experts and stakeholders to inform stakeholder discussions
  6. CEEEZ built capacity of key stakeholders on use of the DIA framework and process
  7. DIA stakeholder workshops held to receive expert and stakeholder input and actions
  8. DIA prioritization validated during broader stakeholder workshops
  9. Prioritized climate actions approved by Minstry of Environment and incorporated with INDC.

Visual Tool

As part of the DIA process, Zambia used the DIA visual tool developed by the LEDS Global Partnership. The DIA visual tool provides an approach to identify, document, and communicate the potential impacts LEDS action have on a country's social, economic, and environmental development priorities. It can support decision-makers in exploring potential policy synergies and tradeoffs to achieve development goals and help build consensus for action among stakeholders.

Following the initial DIA trainings in 2014, CEEEZ used the DIA visual tool to assess development impacts of four Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action proposals, as well as monitoring and evaluation frameworks, for efficient charcoal production, sustainable agriculture, integrated waste management, and small hydro implementation.

"Zambia. . . will continue to employ and explore the DIA visual tool in all projects because the products of analysis with it ease presentation of results and decision making," Ng'oma said.

Co-Benefit Analysis

Zambia's DIA process and co-benefit analysis—supported through the EC-LEDS program—informed prioritization of key actions included in the mitigation component of Zambia's INDC under three areas: sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and sustainable forest management. For example, the co-benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency actions described in Zambia's INDC include:

  • Improved health impact due to child and maternal mortality, and retention of medical personnel
  • Improved food security due to increased agricultural production resulting from use of irrigation especially for women
  • Increased rural development impacts to increase economic activities through small and medium enterprises
  • Reduced indoor air pollution and load shedding
  • Reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts and improved air quality
  • Reduced energy deficits.

The U.S. government, via the State Department, also supported further analysis of the mitigation component of Zambia's INDC, illustrating that proposed mitigation actions have the potential by 2030 to reduce the country's GHGs by 25% to 47%.


Building on the successes of DIA activities in Zambia and other countries, the EC-LEDS program and the LEDS Global Partnership have developed a number of resources to support DIA globally. For more information, see Development Impact Assessment Tools.


Download success story fact sheet.

Learn more about EC-LEDS program activities in Zambia.