25 Jan 2017 News Environmental rights and governance

UN Environment Chief Ramps Up Partner Support in Tanzania

Dar Es Salaam, 25 January 2017- UN Environment Chief Erik Solheim concluded a three-day visit to Tanzania, from the 23-25 January, where he met with officials of the Government of Tanzania, the UN Resident Coordinator as well as representatives from Non-Governmental Organizations, Academia and Research Institutions.

During the visit, Mr. Solheim discussed the challenges facing Tanzania due to increasing urbanization and pollution in emerging cities such as Dar Es Salaam, and reached out to business actors to actively engage in furthering global and regional environment agendas in the country.

Meeting with the Vice President H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, and H.E. Mr. Yusuf Makamba, Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Union Affairs and Environment, Mr. Solheim reaffirmed the UN Environment's support to Tanzania in implementing the Paris Agreement and the UN 2030 Agenda.  The Vice President thanked the UN Environment for the strong partnerships which has seen many projects initiated and implemented in the country. She called for more support, particularly in strengthening institutional capacity to address environmental challenges and in supporting the development of the ‘State of the Environment Report’. She also emphasized the crucial role played by the UN Environment in the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment through hosting the Secretariat and the technical support provided during the meetings of the forum, and reiterated Tanzania’s full support and commitment to AMCEN.

In his consultations with the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr.  Alvaro Rodriguez,  Mr. Solheim discussed how the UN Environment can capitalize on its expertise on environmental matters to support implementation of the country’s Development Assistance Plan, especially in domesticating the Sustainable Development Goals. 

At a meeting with the UN Country Team, Mr. Solheim shared his thoughts on the key areas that are critical in achieving the SDGs in Tanzania namely: 1) Pollution– especially in-door pollution which continues to be a big challenge in Africa;  2) Marine litter which has devastating effects on marine ecosystems, 3) Wildlife and Natural Resources -  threatened due to human population growth, increased poaching, deforestation and forest degradation and ethnic clashes between communities scrambling for resources to sustain their livelihoods.

As part of the solution, he noted that reinforcing efforts in educating communities on sustainable farming, consumption and environmental conservation are some good steps in the right direction. The UN Environment and the Food and Agriculture Organization have a joint initiative on “climate smart agriculture” focusing on sustainable and climate-resilient land use to build the resilience of poor rural communities. This initiative can be implemented in Tanzania.

Mr. Solheim also met with representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector to discuss their role in the development agenda. He encouraged them to be better advocates on behalf of citizens and in challenging the status quo for a cleaner environment. He noted that private sector engagement is needed now more than ever to support and catalyze innovations that can solve the many challenges facing Africa and other developing countries.

The visit included various site visits within and outside the cities to experience first-hand, some of the environmental challenges in Tanzania as well as success cases of projects in the community. Mr. Solheim visited Coco Beach and Pugu Kinyamwezi dumpsite to see how the community is addressing waste management; Olgilai Water Catchment Area; the headquarters of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators to learn how they are supporting government efforts in the fight against illegal wildlife trade; Banana Investment Limited, a private company that has incorporated sustainable consumption and production measures in its operations to conserve water and curb air pollution. This latter facility has established a water treatment plant and a biogas plant with potential to recycle waste water for use in fish ponds and irrigation in the near future.

Tanzania is the fifth African country Mr. Solheim has visited on official duty since taking the reins at UN Environment. He has also visited Ethiopia, Cote D’Ivoire, Rwanda and South Africa.

For more information, please contact: 
Mohamed Atani, Regional Information Officer, UN Environment Africa Office, Nairobi, Kenya; Tel: +254 20 76 24235; Mobile: +254 (0)727 531253 ; Email: [email protected]