Gas dis­cov­ery a bless­ing to TZ

East African Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAMAS MAKANGALE

DAR ES SALAAM, TAN­ZA­NIA – Tan­za­nia should adapt a re­cy­cling waste pol­icy, in­creas­ing uses of gas in­stead of char­coal for cook­ing as a long term so­lu­tion in en­sur­ing sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion to ad­dress the press­ing chal­lenge of cli­mate change and land degra­da­tion.

“The dis­cov­ery of gas re­serves in Tan­za­nia should be used as step­ping stone to em­ploy­ment, busi­ness opportunity and as a tool to al­le­vi­ate poverty,” said UN En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP) Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Erik Sol­heim. He said UNEP is the lead­ing global en­vi­ron­men­tal author­ity that sets the global en­vi­ron­ment agenda. Sol­heim com­mended ef­forts taken by the gov­ern­ment through lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to set an area in the out­skirt of the city cen­ter at Pugu Dampo as a per­ma­nent place for cab­bage damp­ing with­out de­struc­t­ing the en­vi­ron­ment of the Dar es Salaam city. Sol­heim stressed that UNEP works with a wide range of part­ners, in­clud­ing United Na­tions en­ti­ties, in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, na­tional gov­ern­ments, non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions, the pri­vate sec­tor and civil so­ci­ety. He added hope that “other lead­ers will be in­spired to pick up the ba­ton and en­sure that Africa’s rich nat­u­ral re­sources can be con­served, and thus serve as the foun­da­tion for a sus­tain­able fu­ture and food se­cu­rity for all in the con­ti­nent.” Sol­heim ad­vised Tan­za­nia gov­ern­ment to in­crease ef- forts in the ban­ning of the use of plas­tics bags. He said their use in large mag­ni­tude in­creases en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion that pose a huge threat to the coun­try’s so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. “We also hail ef­forts taken by the high com­mis­sion­ers here in Tan­za­nia such as China and the for­mer two heads of state re­tired Pres­i­dent Mwinyi and Mkapa for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the re­cently anti-poach­ing char­ity walk,” he stressed. UNEP, Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tion Of­fi­cer Clara Mak­enya said that the visit of the UNEP boss em­pha­sized much on the re­duc­tion of uses of char­coal for cook­ing as the cul­tural fuel the cut­ting of trees across the coun­try. “We had an opportunity to meet with civil so­ci­ety, NGOS and aca­demi­cians on the press­ing is­sues of cli­mate change and food se­cu­rity as a fore agenda in many years to come,” she added. UNEP, boss has been fol­low­ing with keen in­ter­est and com­mends the ef­forts by the Pres­i­dent of the United Repub­lic of Tan­za­nia, Dr John Magu­fuli in the fight against cor­rup­tion and bring­ing about an end to poach­ing and the il­le­gal wildlife trade. UN en­vi­ron­ment views the shift to Dodoma (over 580km from Dar es Salaam) as an opportunity to bring about pos­i­tive change and de­vel­op­ment not just to the cen­tral part of Tan­za­nia, but also the whole coun­try. The sus­tain­abil­ity of this an­tic­i­pated growth can be re­in­forced with the in­te­gra­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tion. In co­op­er­a­tion with part­ners, UNEP sup­ports cities across the world in ad­dress­ing en­vi­ron­ment im­pacts and in­te­grat­ing the en­vi­ron­ment into the long term strate­gic plan­ning. It has been the case with the pro­grams that UN en­vi­ron­ment has had in the coun­try, such as the poverty and en­vi­ron­ment ini­tia­tive Africa En­vi­ron­ment Day, marked an­nu­ally on 3rd March last fo­cused on ‘ Com­bat­ing De­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion in Africa: En­hanc­ing Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity.’ The con­ti­nent has lost 65% of its agri­cul­tural land since 1950 due to land degra­da­tion, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures cited by UNEP. Up to 12% of its agri­cul­tural gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) is lost due to de­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tions and 135 mil­lion peo­ple are at risk of hav­ing to move from their land by 2020 due to de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“The dis­cov­ery of gas re­serves in Tan­za­nia should be used as step­ping stone to em­ploy­ment, busi­ness opportunity and as a tool to al­le­vi­ate poverty,” said UN En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP) Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Erik Sol­heim.

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