BY BEATRICE PHILEMON
Inger G. Naess, Norwegian Embassy Counselor, Environment and Climate Change, declared the stand on Thursday during the donors’ meeting on Retreat between the government and development partners environmental working group to discuss post RIO+20 outcome and other environmental issues in Tanzania.
Tanzania should decide on what it needs and find the challenges to be addressed, she said. “As government, make sure you make priorities that will help Tanzanians to benefit from what we offer in terms of financial assistance as well as help the country meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”
She said they want to support Tanzanians so they can bring about sustainable development, conserve environment, help people have sustainable energy for productive activities, reduce climate change challenges, address disaster and even prevent environmental degradation of forests.
Meanwhile, Dr Julius Ningu, Director of Environment, Vice President Office said the country faces many challenges in terms of poverty caused by drought, environmental degradation due to charcoal production, climate change caused sea level rise, energy issues and land conflicts.
“We are here today with development partners to share experience with them on the problems we have in terms of environmental issues in Tanzania so that they can understand where we are, the situation we are in …”
They also discussed climate change and how it has caused sea level rise at Maziwe Island, Fungu la Nyani Island in Pangani including other areas, drought caused poor agricultural harvest in some regions in the country.
According to Ningu some areas have been affected by saline intrusion, and it is becoming harder for the inhabitants to earn a living from crop cultivation, which has been the mainstay of the local economy.
“I know the country has so many challenges but by involving them (partners) in face to face discussion, share experience on the challenges we are facing in terms of poverty, environment issues, it would be easy for them to support us although right now they have asked Tanzania to identify five areas to be supported by development partners.
“I think in September this year, the government will meet to discuss the main challenges the country is facing as well as identify five areas that would be supported by development partners for the benefits of Tanzanians,” he said.
During the donors meeting, participants were from the ministry of natural resources and tourism, NGOs, the ministry of energy and minerals, land, natural resources and environment committee.
” We express thanks to development partners who have donated funds to Tanzania through the United Nations Development Programme and Denmark for the climate change mitigation in Tanzania.
Ningu said the discussion has been positive so far as development partners have made contributions for preparing a national resolution at the International conference.
Additionally, they have discussed how Tanzania could implement the RIO+20 outcomes of the conference and participants at Rio+20 were encouraged to make voluntary commitments for actions to implement the conference’s goals. The conference was held in South Africa in June this year.