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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Rich yet to fulfill their promise on forest cash

10th April 2012

The government has called on rich countries to honour their promise made five years ago, to fund a project on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-REDD to lessen climate change impact.

The promise was made during the 13th Conference of Parties of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007, followed by the 15th conference in Poznan Poland.

It was agreed that rich countries should extend financial support to poor countries including Tanzania to manage their forest resources and empower local communities dependent on forest resources for their living to secure alternative sources of income.

However, five years down the line, REDD has not yet shown a clear direction due to lack of will by the rich countries to honour the conference resolutions.

Speaking at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Director of Forestry and Beekeeping Division in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Felician Kilahama said lack of financial resources was setting back efforts by the government to effectively manage forest resources and minimise the impact of climate change.

“It is discouraging to note that rich countries have failed to help poor countries to seriously to curb climate change while it is the same countries which produce too much carbon dioxide in the air through industrial and other activities which in turn increase global warming and climate change,” he said.

He said during the 13th conference, it was realised that carbon dioxide from deforestation and forest degradation caused by various human activities contributed between 18-20 percent with the remaining 80 percent being due to industrial and transport activities. The conference resolution called for support of poor countries to manage forestry well, but not much has been done until now to implement the resolution.

He added that of all the rich countries, it was only Norway which has so far led in implementing the resolution by contributing USD 105.8m, saying if at least ten countries had done the same, the government would have managed its forests well.

He named other UN-REDD donor contributions for the project as Denmark (USD8.07m), Japan (USD 3.04m) and Spain (USD 1.3m).

“I commend the Norwegian government for the zeal, moral and financial support which is about 89.5 percent of the entire amount donated by UN-REDD donor contributions,” he said.

He said through the Norwegian government support, Tanzania was finalising a national strategy on REDD Plus which is Reduced Emissions from Deforestation, Forest Degradation, increasing sustainable forest Management, Enhanced Carbon Stocks and Enhanced Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation which is due to be completed in December this year.

“If all the rich countries emulated the Norwegian government, the impacts of climate change would have been minimized, because the presence of plenty of forests would have absorbed carbon dioxide from the air and reduced increasing global warming,” he noted.

He said in 2008, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Zambia were enrolled into the UN-REDD programme under which the country received 4.2 million for building capacity.

“Tanzania is also involved in the forest carbon partnership facility of the World Bank, from which it benefits by sharing knowledge and experience from benefiting countries,” he said.

Last month when launching a training workshop for the youth from Coast Region on tree planting and bee keeping at Kibaha district, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Ezekiel Maige said that there was increased deforestation and degradation in the country, calling for concerted efforts in tree planting programmes. He cited the causes as the high demand for charcoal, which stood at 64 million sacks annually, timber and other forests products.

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