Tanzania climate change challenges spotlighted

Daily Monitor . May 02, 2013

There are structural weaknesses in the Tanzanian policy and institutional landscape that may minimise the efficiency to address climate change challenges, a recent report warns.

The report, titled “Climate, Food, Trade Where is the Policy Nexus?”, was produced by a team of experts commissioned by the Economic and Research Foundation (ESRF) and CUTS International, Geneva under a project that promotes a more integrated policy framework on issues of food security, climate change and trade in the East African Community.

Like elsewhere in East Africa, agriculture in Tanzania is mostly rain-fed, and is a form of livelihood for the majority of the population. Therefore the negative effects of climate change manifested in the form of droughts and floods are a real threat. The authors disclosed the sharp declines in agricultural output, reduced productivity and loss of employment, as well as losses associated with decline in rural income which have threatened food security in the country.

“For Tanzania to secure its economic and social well-being in the face of climate change, policy makers and all relevant stakeholders will be required to coordinate their efforts through multi-sectoral responses that create synergies between each other”, the report tells.

Besides analyzing the existing and missing linkages between the three critical issues of climate change, food security and trade, the report draws out recommendations for relevant stakeholders that will be useful in ensuring food security, adaptation to climate change, and sustainable policies to leverage trade in mitigating the negative impacts of climate change on food security.

“CUTS International, Geneva has been coordinating this initiative that brings to the forefront, the linkages between climate change, food security and trade, facilitating a better understanding on how they interact from a country perspective” said CUTS International Assistant Program Officer Julien Grollier in an interview recently in Dar-es-Salaam.

He noted that “this was the first time that the experts from the three areas came together to undertake these studies. Creating sustainable capacities of local researchers has been the leitmotif of CUTS working philosophy, thus creating stronger local ownership”.

PACT EAC seeks to identify the negative and positive elements of climate change that hamper or enhance food security in the project countries as well as identify the negative and positive elements of trade in goods and services that hamper or enhance adaptation to climate change”.

The 3-year project was launched on 1 October 2011 and builds on CUTS’s previous work in Africa including in the five EAC member countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Previous projects addressed issues, such as, inclusiveness in trade policy formulation and implementation; trade and food security; equitable agriculture development; and inclusive regional integration processes.

The report will be the basis for the development of a training programme that will be delivered next July by the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (Trapca) under the same project at a workshop in Dar-es-Salaam. The workshop will enhance the capacity of relevant policy makers, technocrats, and other stakeholders in dealing with these issues.

It is important for stakeholders to demand for greater action from governments, not to only rely on external assistance but to be more proactive as well as responsive in addressing the desertification threat for once it happens, it cannot be easily reversed.

The news item can be viewed at: http://www.monitor.co.ug