This brief explores how certain ideas and framing potentially shape state action in Zambia. The analysis is based on a review of five key policy documents from Zambian institutions, with a special focus on Lusaka, the nation’s capital. The brief highlights key findings from discourse analysis, which involves understanding the discourse in one political arena in relation to other discourses in other political arenas and against the social, economic and political background. Discourse can reveal how “the words and concepts of development both express and form the mindsets and values of dominant linguistic groups, disciplines and professions, and organisations”. The findings show that climate change discourse is weakly integrated into institutional discourse on development planning. However, a sustainable resource-management approach has stronger resonance in development planning, largely because the sustainability framing fits neatly within an ecological modernisation (or green growth) discourse, in which economic growth and environmental protection are portrayed as working together.