As Tanzania continues to experience extreme weather events impacting on the livelihoods of rural communities, a European Union funded climate change adaptation conference launched into action.
Representatives from the State Ministry in the Vice President's Office (Union and Environment) and the European Union Delegation to Tanzania delivered opening speeches and outlined why climate change adaptation measures are essential for Tanzania's development strategy.
Presentations on measures being taken in Tanzania were given by other climate change stakeholders including ForumCC and the UNCDF project, LoCAL (Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility). Other eco-village projects funded by the European Union also made presentations about lessons learned and provided recommendations to support local authorities to continue with activities to ensure sustainability as projects are now coming to an end. The eco-village approach is holistic and targets multiple interventions at community level to assist people to become more resilient to climate change and reduce poverty.
During his speech the Guest of Honour, Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environment), Hon. George Simbachawene (MP), stated that "The Government of Tanzania is committed to the implementation of the National Climate Change Strategy and Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action – to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts."
“We recognize the valuable work of the Eco-ACT project, implemented by IRDP and its partners, as well as the other four GCCA Tanzania projects situated in different parts of Tanzania, which have all successfully introduced multiple activities into communities in Chamwino District and Dodoma City Council and worked alongside relevant local authorities to become more resilient to climate change” added Hon. Simbachawene.
"As Tanzania faces an increasing number of unpredictable weather patterns, it is more important than ever to support local authorities to work with communities in their efforts to adapt to climate change. This conference is an opportunity to bring climate change practitioners together for a meaningful dialogue to ensure everyone can contribute, take responsibility and take action," said Mrs Jenny Correia Nunes, European Union Head of Sector for Natural Resources.
Climate Change is an international priority and falls under Sustainable Development Goal 13, CLIMATE ACTION. It also forms part of Tanzania's poverty reduction strategies, and the country is bound by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
"Tanzania’s economic growth depends on the environment and natural resources, with more than 80 per cent of the population dependent on these factors for income generation. The Eco ACT project has empowered Local Government Authorities to mainstream climate change adaptation strategies into the District Development Plans as well as empowering rural communities in semi-arid central Tanzania in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change in the sectors of Agriculture, Livestock, Water, Forest and Energy, ", said Dr. Francis Njau, Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP).
Delegates were entertained by the Gogo drama group, who portrayed climate change adaptation practices carried out in their own villages.
The GCCA Tanzania programme is part of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA+), a flagship initiative of the European Union helping the world's most vulnerable countries, mainly Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) to increase their resilience to climate change.
The overall objective of the GCCA Tanzania programme is to support five projects in Tanzania to increase the capacity of vulnerable Tanzanian communities to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and contribute to poverty reduction in rural areas. The programme consists of five eco-village projects implemented in different agro-ecological zones in the country. These include Eco ACT in Dodoma Region, ECOBOMA in Arusha Region, Community Forests Pemba in Zanzibar, Igunga Eco-Village in Tabora Region and the Integrated Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation in East Usambara in Tanga Region.
The first GCCA programme was initiated in Tanzania in 2010-2013 to support the Government of Tanzania in strengthening the capacity of some of the most affected communities against the adverse impacts of climate change. The Second GCCA national initiative started in 2015 and has built on the results of the first phase to enhance environmental sustainability and food security by strengthening the management of natural resources at the local level (eco-villages). Essential to all projects have been to support new technologies and low cost culturally acceptable and gender-oriented solutions, and increasing the potential for scaling-up and replication.