The need for Environmental Education (EE) is identified as a major requirement
for the success of the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) through which government recognises the need to promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting appropriate policies in environmental management for current and future sustainable development. This need has also been expressed in many other government related policy policies.
EE promotes behavioural change by motivating people to act in a responsible way that does not exploit the resource base. Environmental Education helps create a sense of empathy for the environment.
Zambia has made considerable progress in addressing some of the various environmental issues that have been highlighted in the NEAP. However most of the efforts to conserve the environment are fragmented and in some instances overlapping especially issues related to Environmental Education.
The initial steps towards establishing a network for Environmental Education practioners was made through a workshop held in October 1999, organised by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency and supported by SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme (SADC-REEP). This workshop was attended by institutions, civil society and individuals involved in environmental management in one way or the other, through either initiating or supporting projects, programmes or activities that affect natural resources. The group therefore comprised, for instance, conservation educators working on environmental projects, government officials who can put a resource management plan into action, extension agents who teach conservation agriculture to farmers or teachers running school environmental clubs and NGOs advocating for better environmental practices.
It was resolved at this workshop was that ECZ, being the focal national point, should spearhead the establishment of a national network for Environmental Education.
The Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act Cap 204 of 1990, which established the Zambia Environmental Management Agency recognises the need for public awareness and education to facilitate information exchange and transmission of such information into practice. Therefore, one of the major responsibilities that the Zambia Environmental Law places on the Zambia Environmental Management Agency is Environmental Education and public awareness creation through different channels. These channels include activities such as networking.
In December 2001 a follow-up meeting of stakeholders, supported by the World Bank through the Environmental Support Programme (ESP) was held in Siavonga. The main goal of this meeting was to formalise critical elements related to formation of a network such as agreeing on some form of memorandum of understanding, co-ordination and membership issues.
The 2001 meeting in saw the establishment of a national steering committee, which comprised people from university, NGOs, media and government charged with the responsibilities of turning the resolutions of the meeting into reality.
The activities and work of this steering committee culminated in the establishment and successful registration of the Zambia Network for Environmental Educators and Practitioners (ZANEEP ) as an association. Symbolically, ZANEEP was registered on 5 th June 2002, which is World Environment Day.
ZANEEP was launched in December 2002 and held its first Annual General Meeting at which a national Executive Committee was voted into office.