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Wealth, natural capital vital elements for sustainable development

MAY 6th marked an important day in Tanzania, when the Country Environmental Analysis (CEA) report findings, which took two tedious, but necessary years to organise, were made public.

Vice-President of Tanzania, Her Excellency Hon. Samia Suluhu presided over the event and gave her heartfelt concern on the state of the environment, thus Hon. Minster of State in the Vice- President’s Office -- Union Affairs and Environment, Mr January Makamba, witnessed the launch of the CEA as one of the main architects of CEA, alongside Ms. Bella Bird -- World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia.

It was an important day and a milestone marker in the collaborative efforts between the World Bank and Tanzania, in their efforts to foster and forge-healthy developmentrelations. The Tanzania CEA was a fruit brought to life by Environment and Natural resource Global Practice, World Bank and in with collaboration with the government of Tanzania, and University of Dar es Salaam- under the vital contribution of Prof Razack Lokina.

The CEA, exposed new concepts (such as Natural Resources Capital) for Tanzania to embrace and fished out the challenges and promising leads to maximise sustainable development efforts by capitalising on the natural capital resource stream for economic excellence, as Tanzania depletes natural resources faster than it can replenish them (for example 483,859ha of land loss/yearly).

CEA is coming forth as a mirror tool towards identifying the best solutions to complement the knowledge pool for combating pollution challenges in Tanzania, addressing the improvement on sustainable development, tackling: rural environmental and natural resources challenges, urban and industrial environment challenges and towards a cleaner, greener development.

According to the report findings, Tanzania population has significantly grown and outmatching the investment pace, whereby the renewable natural resource capital has reduced agricultural land, cropland, forest and forest products, whereby the physical capital has risen by 13 per cent, while the natural capital has shrunk by 30 per cent over 20 years, also non-land renewable resources have decreased by 47 per cent.

Tanzania can’t withstand again such drastic loss over the next decade. 70 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, but urbanisation is expanding in rural areas depend on natural capital for their livelihood, thus the CEA shows reconciliation with natural resources is imperative to meet the population and economy demands, as population is projected to grow to 138 million by 2050.

Daniel Mira-Salama, Senior Environmental Specialist for World Bank, stressed on the fact that, environmental pollution is undoubtedly taking shape in various forms, where it calls for anticipating impacts and combining stringent command and control measures of which align incentives to minimise the cost of the future as Tanzania is estimated to incur an economic cost of $28.7 billion on premature death attributed to pollution -ambient and household air pollution, and unsafe water and sanitation.

Thus, CEA came with five management activities to combat pollution: Multipronged approaches to curb air pollution, as detailed study shows 26,000 died prematurely in 2013 out of air pollution. Providing the population with access to sustainable clean water and sanitation services reduces the spread of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever.

Pollution regulations and enforcement today is an early and cost-effective investment in preventing higher pollution loads in the medium term. Managing waste effectively and in an environmentally sound manner is critical to minimising associated environmental and health impacts. Lastly, another issue to tackle is pesticide waste and mining pollution, of which Tanzania has been effective in handling.

The CEA didn’t throw in the bad stuff only, but also some promising leads came to the forefront, primarily on actions to be taken. Sustainable natural forest management is vital, as Tanzania is ranked to have high deforestation rates, while forest resources are of higher demands (agricultural land and fuel-mostly charcoal), this strikes imbalance in sustaining the economy and environment conservation, thus effective management is needed.

Land conservation and restoration for economic growth and conserving biodiversity/ ecosystem were urged to be looked at as land degradation is a critical problem to Tanzania, associated with a combination of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Improving the planning, management, and monitoring of water resources sustainability of Tanzania water resource can be endured as Tanzania recently became water stressed (according to a World Bank report) Protection of ecosystems, biodiversity conservation is vital in revitalising the tourism sector and its international renowned hotspots for realising its full potential.

Fisheries resources management and the post-harvest shift is urged as Tanzania hosts 10 million people depending on the coastal and marine ecosystem, to safeguard their livelihood, overfishing and destructive fishing methods ought to be limited. The last item on the table was climate change, of which is considered as a “multiplier” of all paths to natural resources issues, thus it’s estimated the cost of climate change in Tanzania could amount 1 to 2 per cent of GDP/year by 2030, enhancing resilience to climate change is vital.

More importantly, Glenn- Marie Lange, Senior Environmental Economist (World Bank) cited the four pathways for Tanzania to walk upon to utilise sustainably wealth and natural capital. Ms. Lange highlighted: Conservation of biodiversity and marine and freshwater resources, promotion of resilient landscapes, access to modern fuels and low impact urbanisation and strengthened institutions for pollution management, to be the pathways.

Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan, officiated the launch of the CEA and gave her comments stressing on how the process of preparation was long, but necessary, adding “I know many of you have been involved in one way or another during the identification and discussion of environmental challenges”.

The Vice-President expressed her gratitude to the team’s participation, commitment and inputs involved adding “This meeting is important not only to me, personally as environmental advocate which falls under my stewardship, but to my country as well as this report intends to highlight to Tanzania on how we can avert environmental effects, given the strong linkages between the national economy and the environment.” Ms Bird, exposed her joy in setting up a milestone towards sustainable development collaboration, espoused by the report to combat poverty and extend prosperity for all Tanzanians.

Ms Bird went further to highlight the importance of the CEA adding “it is really about knowledge, all we are focusing in this report is, developing, collecting and sharing knowledge to spur action, we can’t be effective without knowledge, we can’t solve problems if we don’t know their root causes, their extent and their dynamics.”

The CEA was exhausted by the stakeholders and most led by the youth of which Hon. Minister Makamba acknowledges their actions to be vital in setting up the right strategies for policy and law formulations as well as governance. Environmental advocacy actors showcased their concerns on the means of communicating the content of the report to the real people affected by the environmental pollution, especially the natural capital concepts, thus – Prof Razack Rokina, insisted on all actors to refresh their knowledge pool to accommodate the CEA concepts and findings to improve advocacy and adoption of sustainability mechanisms.

CONCEIVING and raising one child in today’s life ...

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Author: Padili Mikomangwa

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