Why stakeholders’ role paramount in managing biodiversity loss

AS conservation issues become more crucial, conservation stakeholders are meeting for a breakfast debate, to look at several pertinent issues, such as biodiversity loss and economic value of biodiversity.

The meeting that will take place in Dar es Salaam on May 17, bringing together experts, conservation stakeholders and journalists from various media houses will tackle matters such as how can protected and wildlife corridors be sustainable at the time of climate change.

Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) Executive Director, Mr John Chikomo availed to the ‘Sunday News’ that participants will deliberate on government’s efforts in supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in biodiversity.

He said the participants who are selected by JET in collaboration with USAID TuhifadhiMaliasili Activity staff will dwell on a debate that will involve four panelists who are set to discuss key areas of biodiversity conservation.

Mr Chikomo noted that other areas to be touched are how can protected and wildlife corridors be sustainable at the time of climate change and on promoting engagement of indigenous women in climate resilience and biodiversity conservation.

Of late, there have been incidents in different parts of the country of animals, such as elephants wounding or killing people as well as destroying properties as they go back to what were their corridors that have since been blocked by humans by constructing residences.

The director noted that objectives of the debate are to increase journalists’ knowledge on biodiversity conservation issues for better reporting, inform the public of Tanzania on biodiversity conservation trends and link journalists with relevant biodiversity and resource persons – experts and stakeholders for future reporting.

As for the expected outcomes, Mr Chikomo said, are increased biodiversity conservation knowledge among the journalists, increased quality and quantity of biodiversity conservation stories in the media and increased knowledge among Tanzanian public on biodiversity conservation.

Tanzania is among the world’s most biodiverse countries, with over 55,000 confirmed species. The country is also home to one-third of the total plant species and 20 per cent of the large mammal species in Africa.

Unfortunately, over the last few decades Tanzania has lost at least one-third of its important ecosystems, and experienced downward trends in both the number of species and their individual population sizes. In the last decade alone, the number of threatened species in Tanzania has tripled.

One of the challenges in biodiversity conservation is lack of data, knowledge, and systematic information flow on matters related to biodiversity loss and economic value of biodiversity. Conservation challenges such as invasive species and climate change in the wildlife corridors and protected areas require dedicated efforts of conservation stakeholders to address them.

Building on the previous trainings to journalists on conservation matters, USAID TuhifadhiMaliasili Activity in partnership with JET, on the meeting expect to create an interactive platform between journalists and conservation experts with the aim of increasing knowledge and creating awareness among Tanzanian citizens on biodiversity conservation.

The breakfast debate is one of strategies to increase quality and quantity of biodiversity conservation stories in the media to influence change and attitudes amongst Tanzanian on conservations. It will provide a platform for journalists to interact with resource persons on different subject matters in relation to biodiversity conservation and get accurate information for their reporting.

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