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Norway and Finland dish out USD5m to curb illegal logging

The governments of Norway and Finland have dished out USD5m which would be used in the campaign to improve transparency and accountability and reduce illegal logging in the forestry sector.

Speaking at the launch of the five years campaign dubbed ‘Mama Misitu’, the Finish Ambassador to Tanzania, Sinikka Antila, said the campaign is expected to result in tangible changes in behaviour, increased transparency by government and private sector officials.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the illegal harvesting of timber in Tanzania and thus the rate of deforestation,” she said.

According to a report by the Controller and Auditor General, only 4 percent of the forest reserves have management plans, the remaining 96 percent are not managed in accordance with the national legislation.

“Forest and land are important resources for lives and livelihoods of Tanzanians. In order to manage them well there is a need to work together with the public, private and non governmental actors to strengthen the resources,” she said.
She said Finland and Norway are Tanzania’s long term partners in the management of natural resources, especially the forestry sector.

“There are many good results of the previous cooperation with the Tanzanian government, local non governmental organisations and private sector, and the campaign is a continuation of the work done previous,” she insisted.

She noted that forests are recognized  for their importance in addressing climate change and Tanzania’s successes is part of the international efforts to reward countries that reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
The campaign will also contribute towards Tanzania’s efforts to prepare for REDD, she added.

For her part, Coast Regional Commissioner Mwantumu Mahiza, who was the chief guest thanked the donors for the funds which would be used in four districts in the first phase.

She urged the implementing partners of ‘Mama Misitu’ to involve women and youth in safeguarding forests resources.
“These are the key stakeholders, please engage them in participatory forestry management in order to reduce the acts of illegal logging,” she noted.

She also urged forests stakeholder to create the culture of planting trees in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Everybody is aware of the effects of climate change such as lack of rainfall. We have to make sure that more trees are planted in open areas countrywide,” she added.
Giving community testimony on forests, Omar Kijumile, a farmer from Kilwa District in Lindi Region, said the initial phase of ‘Mama Misitu’ has proved successful.

He said there was an increase in community collaboration and awareness of the importance of trees, forests and the laws and policies that guide environmental management.

According to Tanzania Natural Resources Forum, ‘Mama Misitu’ campaign manager Gwamaka Mwakyanjala, the campaign will be conducted in areas where acts of illegal logging are on increase.

He noted that the campaign will be implemented in collaboration district and national partners.

Source: The Guardian