PRESIDENT John Magufuli has assured the international community that Tanzania will continue adopting various environment protection measures as remedy to the effects of climate change.
President Magufuli cited the implementation of the 2,100- megawatt Julius Nyerere Hydropower project in the Selous Game Reserve as part of the country’s deliberate effort to combat climate change.
The Head of State was speaking at a sherry party held in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday which was attended by the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organisations, among others.
He recalled that climate change remains one of the biggest challenges facing the world that requires concerted efforts by the entire international community in responding to its dire effects.
“As you are all aware that lack of reliable power in the country has prompted majority of Tanzanians to opt for charcoal and firewood as source of fire which consumes 400,000 hectares of forests annually,” Dr Magufuli stated.
He said that the implementation of the project would reduce reliance on firewood and charcoal—and help in the protection of the country’s forests and ecology.
Last year, at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the construction of the multi-billion plant, President Magufuli allayed fears over environmental degradation, hinting that ecological conservation was one of the vital aspects considered before embarking on the historic power scheme.
The president also informed the diplomats that last year, the nation also imposed a ban on production, supply and use of plastic bags --all aimed at protecting the environment and natural resources.
As a gesture of recognising the country’s feat in environment conservation, the United Nations (UN) lately picked Tanzania for a pilot project gauging the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 17, which stresses on strengthening and revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development.
Tanzania made the list alongside her neighbour Kenya and Burkina Faso in West Africa, among all 54 countries on the continent.
Tanzania was picked for the pilot project after recording commendable achievements in environmental protection as stipulated under goal 11, which calls for countries to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
“The banning of plastic carrier bags has placed Tanzania as among countries that have fared well in execution of goal number 11 which focuses on environmental conservation,” the Director General of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Dr Albina Chuwa was quoted as saying when breaking the news last week.
Dr Magufuli further noted that, due to the vulnerability of the impacts of climate change to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, Tanzania as the regional chair will for the first time host ministerial meeting on disaster risk management next month.
He expressed concerns that countries, including SADC member states continue to experience the negative impacts of climate change.
“Last year some SADC member states were hit by cyclones and floods which caused deaths and damage to infrastructure ... these disasters remind us on the importance of concerted efforts by the entire international community to overcome the effects of climate change,” he said.
He called upon nations across the world to cooperate in dealing with climate change including implementation of various international conventions such as the Paris Agreement 2015.
The Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli pledged Tanzania’s continued cooperation with the international community in addressing other challenges facing the world, including peace and security.
He said as SADC chair, the country will put up more efforts in promoting peace in DR Congo and Lesotho and urged the international community to back up such initiatives.
Dr Magufuli also guaranteed the diplomats on predictable money policies as he pledged to work on tax refund which has been a concern for most foreign investors.