United Nations in Tanzania
United Nations Development Assistance Plan
Tanzania’s abundant natural resources are the main source of citizens’ livelihoods and form the backbone of productive sectors namely agriculture, land, forestry, fisheries, tourism and mining. These sectors, which are key for economic growth, are in turn heavily reliant on a healthy environment and negatively affected by its degradation. At the same time these industries are themselves responsible for pollution, land-use changes and loss of ecosystem services.
The key challenge for Tanzania is therefore ensuring that economic development does not compromise the environment and the sustainability of resources. Production and consumption patterns are increasingly becoming unsustainable and much of the forests and other terrestrial and marine habitats have been decimated due to population pressure and unplanned development.
In Tanzania, some of the root causes for environmental degradation are unsustainable farming and mining, overgrazing, uncontrolled forest clearing and wild fires. Other drivers include: inadequate alternative energy sources; a lack of financial institutions that provide credit to farmers to acquire or develop land; rapid population growth resulting in pressure on land resources; excessive use of agro-chemicals leading to soil and water pollution; cultivation on steep slopes and river banks; and unsustainable irrigation that leads to water loss and soil erosion. In Zanzibar, environmental challenges include severe beach and coastal erosion, diminishing renewable natural resources, declining fresh water resources, poor waste management and increased pollution.
The UN is assisting in the mainstreaming of environment and climate change adaptation to national development strategies and plans. Emphasis is on key sector ministries, departments, agencies and local government authorities. Support is also going to improving the enforcement of environment laws; protecting critical ecosystems for biodiversity conservation; disaster risk management; conservation agriculture and sustainable management of natural resources. The focus is on capacity building, the development of effective policies and strengthening of the institutional framework for environment and climate change governance.
UN agencies have been implementing projects that address unsustainable management as well as unsustainable consumption and production patterns. These include energy and resource use efficiency; design and material choices (considered among the root causes for resource depletion); waste generation and pollution. A number of projects are being implemented on the sustainable management of land, forest, fresh water and marine resources.
UN is facilitating the development of by-laws and other practical tools for the sustainable use of natural resources. The idea is to ensure timely enforcement of environmental laws and regulations for protecting ecosystems and the sustainable management of natural resources. The UN recognizes the role of protected areas in biodiversity conservation by supporting their development and effective management with a focus on coastal forest and wildlife corridors.
Increasingly, the UN is also involved in addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation in Tanzania, the majority of which relates to land use and forestry. Piloting the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiative has been one of the highlights of the UN work in this area.
UN is promoting the development of a national climate change strategy and the establishment of an investment fund for climate change in Tanzania. It is also assisting in the development of mitigation strategies through training and technical support to national institutions, including private sector, and promoting the use of renewable energy sources, improved energy standards, efficient technologies and clean practices.