Promotion of accountable actions essential to address climate change

27Apr 2019
Gerald Kitabu
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Promotion of accountable actions essential to address climate change

From a distance, the main theme ‘Achieving policy coherence, Inspiring Accountable Climate Actions’ displayed outside the main entrance of a hotel in Dodoma was enough charm to beacon and retain stakeholders of the just ended 5th climate change Symposium and Expo 2019.

A cross section of participants of the 5th Climate Change Symposium (CCS5) in jovial mood after successful ending of the two-day symposium held recently in Dodoma. Photo: Gerald Kitabu

During the Symposium, stakeholders including women and youth from all walks of life had different message but the main one was to call on the government and relevant authorities to harmonise policies between sectors and promote accountable climate actions both at local and national level.

Some of the most victims of climate change including women, farmers and pastoralists urged the central government,  local government authorities, development partners and the CSO’s to take deliberate and concerted efforts that include provision of education, raising awareness and allocating enough financial and human resources to address climate change.  

Earlier on, Board Chairperson of Tanzania Civil Society Forum on Climate Change, Euster Kibona commended the government’s efforts in the fight against climate change. She also advised that there are many important issues that should be implemented to help address climate change. Such issues are like the national determined contributions and the sustainable development goals (SDG’s).

“We want to see local government ensures the policy plans and budget are translated and brings change at grassroots level,” she said.

 “This two day symposium will have plenary and breakout sessions focusing on sub-themes. The main plenary session will specifically address Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) implementations,” she added.

Campaigns Manager for Oxfam, Jovitha Mlay emphasized the need for appropriate technologies, to ensure gender and the need to enact friendly and implementable policies.

“We need to mobilise resources and allocate adequate budget to protect and develop women who, to a large extend are affected differently by climate change. We look at women because they are main producers, they serve the family, they constitute a big number of small holder farmers especially in rural areas, as such, they are the most affected,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the Executive Director for Tanzania Traditional Energy Development  Organisation (TaTEDO) Estomiah Sawe, project manager Mary Lema said that Tanzania’s rapid economic expansions creates a daunting energy challenge, combined with rising expectations of improved resilience and sustainability. Finding a sustainable way to meet growing energy needs is one of the core development challenges for the country. Tanzania is rich in renewable energy sources, including hydro, sun, wind, and others, and the time is right for sound planning to ensure the right energy mix.

Executive Director for Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) Zakaria Faustin said that it is clear evidence that climate change is a challenge in Tanzania especially at community level. Adaptive capacity is very low as well as mitigation measures.

“One of the areas that should be given priority is that local government should build capacity for the staff to support the ongoing programmes on agriculture, forest, livestock and other sectors to ensure they mainstream climate change in the implementation process,” he said. 

At the symposium, the government assured Tanzanians and the International Community that it is working on several measures such as policy and strategic plans on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Ministry of Environment and Union Affairs in the Vice President’s Office said that climate change is another threat to people livelihood, economic development as it affects all key sectors such as agriculture, Livestocks, Fisheries and Tourism.

As such, the Ministry is reviewing the National Environmental Policy 1997 because most of the issues are outdated and don’t even mention Climate change.  

In 1997, climate change was not a big thing, so the government is writing the new Environment policy to address among other things, the issue of climate change.

Besides, the need for the new policy, the government is also writing the new National climate change adaptation strategy which expired last year in 2018.  

The ministry is also looking for funds for the national adaptation plan such as droughts and floods, and as members of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change it is also working very closely with the International Community.

Tanzania like any other country is also experiencing the effects of climate change such as human displacement (climate change refugees), land use conflicts, droughts, floods and increased human diseases such as Malaria in areas that had no such diseases like Lushoto.

The European Union (EU) has as part of its commitment to reduce the impact of Climate Change in Tanzania supported the event through its funding to ForumCC for two consecutive years now.

European Union Deputy Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC, Charg’e d’Affaires, his Excellency Charles Stuart who also attended the symposium said that it was a very good decision to have a discussion on climate change and hopping that the recommendation that come out of the symposium will be shared with wide audience.

He explained that climate change affects lives of so many people and continues to damage the environment in many ways. “We need to address the consequences of climate change jointly. We recognize the commitment of the government of Tanzania in addressing the climate change and we are keen to supporting the country in meeting its targets in line with the Paris Agreement and sustainable development goals,” he stressed.

It is good this symposium will deliberate important issues on Tanzania’s national determined contributions for example energy in relation to climate change,” he added.

The energy sector plays a key role in Tanzania as far as climate change is concerned. Forinstance with regard to cooking, many households still depend on biomass energy such as fuel wood and charcoal. Harvesting of wood affects our forests but negative health impact of cooking with charcoal is devastating particularly for women and children who inhale the smoke.

Climate change is impacting other areas like female genital mutilation, child marriage and related issues too. Efforts to curb it must align with demand for cooking energy, reduction on dependency of biomass energy by improving alternative sources is a key part of mitigation efforts to climate change.

European Union is currently focusing a large share of development cooperation with Tanzania on energy sector and considerable funds have been attributed to renewable energy projects. We are also developing a clean and sustainable cooking programme that will address the charcoal challenge, he said.  

Another important sector that employs majority of Tanzanians is agriculture. The sector is hit hard by climate change and women with multiple roles are exceptionally vulnerable. If we teach people about climate smart agriculture practices, we can achieve a triple win of increasing yield, increasing resilience, and reducing emission of green house gases. Also here one of the European Union new programmes which was launched last year totaling over 100m Euros to Tanzania which is focusing specifically on coffee, tea and horticulture farmers will promote climate smart agriculture practices to enable small holder farmers to cope with climate change.

The aspect of climate financing is a challenging issue and I am glad that this symposium will discuss this topic especially the role of local authorities in enhancing resilience to climate change. Local authorities are in a good position to plan, allocate budget and implement climate actions in a way that address the pressing local needs in a more comprehensive way. But the capacity of local authorities is often a challenge in terms of financing and human resources and here stakeholders such as CSO’s, development partners and central government have a role to play, he added.

This symposium will assist to deliberate on the capacity building needs and importantly come up with recommendations. European Union is committed to climate change and has a strong track record on its own domestic emissions reductions and indeed, importantly the support to others.

At the end of the Climate Change Symposium, Executive Director for the ForumCC Rebecca Muna said that one of things that came out very clearly is the issue of awareness. There is a knowledge gap and misconception about climate change. People are confusing between environment issues and climate change.

“These are some of the areas that we should think how we can invest in addressing knowledge gap so that people are informed with the right information so that they can take measures which are really going to address climate change issues at all levels, at grassroots level where the communities are supposed to adapt but again policy and decision makers like parliamentarians who are also part of that process,” he said.

 The symposium themed Achieving policy coherence, Inspiring Accountable Climate Actions, is convened by FORUMCC, jointly with Tanzania Traditional Energy Development  Organisation (TaTEDO) and the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) with the Financial support of the European Union (EU) and Oxfam and attracted more than 100 stakeholders.

The Climate Change Symposium is an annual FORUMCC flagship event that brings together civil society organisation representatives from the government, development partners, academic institutions, youths, community, women and media to discuss and propose solutions to address climate change and its related issues.

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