Govt on right track on sustainable land plan awareness

THE government is on the right track regarding land planning and awareness-raising among stakeholders, so as to maintain peace and harmony.

Through the National Land Use Planning Commission (NLUPC), it targets to have sustainable land management systems that address issues of land degradation and conflicts in the country.

NLUPC Director of Research, Land Compliance and Information in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement, Dr Joseph Paul, said in Dodoma recently that capacity building among stakeholders is pertinent as it is the main task. This is done in order to manage sustainably scarce resources against increasing demand for them.

“The main task is awareness raising and capacity building. We liaise with the public and private sectors on land planning and conservation for daily activities in accordance with the National Land Use Framework at different scales – zonal framework, district land use plan and village land planning, where we have in place village land use management team,” said Dr Paul.

He expounded that it is because of sustainable land use plans vegetation and wild animals have tremendously increased in conserved area, calling on villagers living near national parks and conserved areas to avoid blocking wildlife corridors.

He was speaking to journalists who were on a trip organized by Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Tuhifadhi Maliasili project.

Dr Paul noted that stakeholders should see the importance of conserving even more forests and engage in economic activities such as beekeeping. He added that at village levels, there are detailed management plans.

Sustainable land use can be achieved through co-ordinated participation of all stakeholders in land resources management at all levels such as national sectors (ministries, non-governmental organisations, and companies), regions, districts and villages.

“Henceforth, there is immense need of the Commission as a central body to perform the roles of co-ordination, policy and law formulation and build capacity of land use planning at local levels,” he said.

Dr Paul noted that costs on land use planning depend on parameters – size of villages, the weather (if it is raining the more the costs), participation and number of committee members and conflicts. He added that the number of members ranges between six and eight people.

He said plans are set for all villages in Tanzania. In regard to pace, Dr Paul said the government always sets aside budget for that, but giving priority to strategic areas, such as where there are projects like Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project.

Dr Paul expounded further that every district and town council should set aside budget for that activity, at least for six villages annually.  He added that if all stakeholders can be serious on that, the exercise will be successful.

However, he noted that there are challenges in that there are plans that are implemented by different sectors. One of them is government splitting villages, wards and divisions after areas have been measured and land plans set.

“We have to invest on land use plan awareness – agriculture and livestock keeping to avoid conflicts. We should also know some success stories, such as conservation of water sources and see the tangible outputs like in Southern Highlands villages,” he said.

He said that even villagers relocating to Msomera village in Handeni district of Tanga Region is a result of good land use plan. He noted that land use by-laws should conform with laws of the land.

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