UDSM Vice Chancellor, Professor Rwekaza Mkandala, said that in order to achieve the key responsibility and meet the objectives of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere chair- environment and climate change, the university, through Open Society Foundation (OSF) System for Analysis, research and Training (START) is developing a university-wide masters of science in Climate change and Sustainable development curriculum.
Mkandala expressed optimism that the curriculum will enable UDSM to become a centre of excellence in climatic change studies, in the country and the region as a whole. The call comes as the nation is named to be one of the most prone to climatic change effects.
Tanzania is said to be one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to low adaptive capacity, poor preparations, inadequate knowledge and lack of financial resources to respond to the inevitable climatic changes.
Stakeholders on climate change are meeting at a five day workshop on this and other pressing environmental matters. It is at this gathering, organised by the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and other organs from across Africa and been held in Dar es Salaam that the country’s lack of readiness was aired.
As part of the solution, the gathering is charting a curriculum to teach climate change and sustainable development in high learning institutions in an effort to raise awareness.
He called on universities to continue building their capacity to expand the frontiers of knowledge on the treats of, and adaptation to climate change. Noting that learning mechanisms require effective integration in research and even teaching practices and that in turn requires the establishment of multi-disciplinary terms of professions, courses and studies.
Current chairperson of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere chair, Prof. Pius Yanda added that the fact Tanzania is faced with many other stress factors including poverty it is even more vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Yanda admitted that the existing institutions, including universities, have not adequately addressed the climate change phenomenon in their existing educational programme, a condition that only worsens the situation.
‘More than 80% of the population of Tanzania relies directly on agriculture for their livelihoods; a 10% reduction in rainfall would in effect make most of Tanzania unsuitable for Maize.’ This was reported by World Bank in 2002 and the following year in the ‘Tanzania Initial National Communication’ report it drew a grimmer picture.
‘Under climate change, most of Tanzania’s 338,000 km² forests would shift towards drier regimes from subtropical forest and woodland to tropical dry forest and woodland.’
Four years later in 2007 carbontanzania.com posted, in a report titled, Climate Change in Tanzania: Focus on Mount Kilimanjaro. The document had no good news as it plainly laid out that all the projections expect a temperature rise of 2.2º C by 2100, with higher increases (2.6ºC) in June, July and August this according to meteorological data.