Environmental enthusiasts spearhead efforts to make climate issues

09Jan 2020
Crispin Gerald
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Environmental enthusiasts spearhead efforts to make climate issues

EVERY year, the Conference of Parties (COP) meets to review progress in the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where other instruments that support the implementation of the convention are proposed, evaluated and approved.

The Conference of Par- ties is the supreme decision making body of the convention and the association of all countries that form part of it.

The annual meeting brings together 197 nations and territories called Parties that have signed on to the framework convention; it is attended by environmental experts, ministers, head of states and non-governmental organizations.

It is a treaty signed at the Earth summit in 1992 and come into force in 1994, which establishes the basis obligations of the 196 parties (states) plus the European Union to combat climate change.

The first COP was held in Berlin in 1995, to date 24 COPs have been held, the last one in Katowice, Poland in December 2018.

The conferences are significantly conducted to review the national communications and emission inventory submitted by state parties, but also to maintain international efforts to solve the problems of climate change.

Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment, glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

According to the IPCC, the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to environmental enthusiasts spearhead efforts to make climate issues form part of policies, plans and budget
change.

According to recent released Emissions Gap report 2019, global emission continued to increase by 1.5 percent per year, during the last decade.

Countries must act immediately and increase their climate commitments more than five fold to achieve the 1.5 centigrade goal.

However, Africa contributes the least to global warming emissions yet is the continent most vulnerable to climate change, as witnessed by devastating natural disasters recently.

The unprecedented rate of in- crease of global temperatures has been attributable to both man made and natural calamity. Over time, distressing uncontrolled human activities have severely given impetus to climate change and the need for common joint efforts by interested parties to combat the problem for sustainable life is very apparent.

Reflection of COPs to Tanzania

Tanzania, as one of the sub-Saharan African countries, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It has affected eco- systems, national economy and livelihood of the people.

Climate change impacts include; increased temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, melting of glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, increase of extreme weather events such as drought and floods, outbreak of new diseases, rise of sea level, intrusion of sea water into land and fresh water and sub- merging of small islands such as Maziwe in Pangani and Fungi la Nyani in Rufiji.

Climate change issues in Tanzania are coordinated under the environment institutional, legal and policy framework. The Vice Presidents’ Office in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, assisted by National Climate Change Steering and Technical Committees, provide the institutional coordination.

As a signatory to the UNFCCC, Tanzania has already submitted two National Communications in 2003 and 2004 respectively, as well as the intended Nationally Determined Contributions (iNDC) in 2015 which is being updated after the ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2018.

The documents provided initial and updated quantitative assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from some major sectors and activities and develop plausible climate change scenarios on the potential impacts of projected climate change on some key sectors.

The initiative is part of the country’s’ commitment to ensure effective implementation of inter- national conventions on climate change, sustainable development goals (SDGs) no 13, as well as strengthening climate change resilience and contribute to the global efforts to mitigate climate change.

The country has also ratified the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement in 1996, 1997, 2002 and 2018 respectively.

Tanzania government in collab- oration with development partners, civil society and academia, has implemented a number of initiatives and specific projects to enhance awareness and build human and adaptation capacity on climate change mitigation and adaptation, including ecosystem based adaptation for rural resilience from 2017 to date.

Water resources integration development initiative (2016-2020), integrated approaches for climate change adaptation in the East Usambara mountains (2015-2019) implementation of concrete adaptation measures to reduce vulnerability of livelihood and economy of coast- al communities from 2012 to date.

Challenges facing Tanzania in dealing with climate change Despite the mentioned interventions, Tanzania is still facing several challenges include lack of specific climate change policy or law; climate change issues are coordinated under the environment legal and policy framework.

This limits coordination for and comprehensively ad- dressing climate change issues.

Law awareness on climate change issues and measures for adaptation, the dialogue for creating awareness is still low among the public especially to the most vulnerable either do not have or having difficulties in accessing climate change information.

Awareness is still low among local government authority (LGAs) leaders and some sector ministries and departments’ officials as much of knowledge is at the central government level under Vice President Office Department of Environment (DoE). CSOs recommendations towards strengthening miti- gation for climate change?

According to Tanzania Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); several recommendations were made including; The government in partnership with stakeholders should innovatively mobilize domestic resources to complement the international climate funds which developed countries are obliged to provide under the UNFCCC.

But also the government should improve institutional legal and policy framework; climate change issues al- ready demonstrated significant impacts to Tanzania’s economy and livelihood of her people.

It should therefore be treated with the same weight in addressing it. This may include establishing a separate unit or division of climate change; opera- tionalisation of the National Climate Change Steering Committee (NCCSC) and Na- tional Climate Change Tech- nical Committee (NCCTC).

What happened at COP25 According to COP25 special reports

The primary subject of discussion at COP25 is a provision in the Paris Agreement known as article 6, which allows for the use of a global market in carbon to help countries cut emissions and to fund measures that reduce emissions in developing countries. Carbon markets have existed since the first 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The general idea is for developed countries to meet their targets by buying carbon credits awarded to projects reducing emissions in developing countries.

In this way, rich nations could buy themselves time, while poorer nations got money to ease them on the road to a green future. But too many easy credits devalued the system, and the financial crisis of 2008 led to the outright collapse of the carbon market.

Today, resuscitating the article 6 carbon market is back on the agenda.

Activists see the markets as an easy way out for developed countries to get away with continuing to burn fossil fuels, while buying off poor countries to clean up. What activists want is not talk of carbon “offsets”, but absolute emission cuts now.

This set the scene for a conflict over article 6, which might threaten the delicate consensus achieved at Par- is. That consensus must be preserved if countries are to fulfill the aims of Paris by ratcheting up their commitments to bring down emissions next year.

There are many other is- sues hanging over COP25, but these will not be decided until next year. Emissions are increasing once again; temperatures are higher than ever; and countries are not mandated by law to act.

The IPCC has concluded that at current rates we are running out of time, with little over a decade to halt emissions growth and bring down carbon rapidly to keep warming within the 1.5°C threshold.

What Forum CC is doing towards Climate Change in the country?

Forum CC, which is the Tanzania civil society net- work on climate change, developed a user-friendly “Guidelines on Advocacy for and integration of climate change into Plans and Budget,”

The guideline is a tool for guiding the integration of climate issues in policies, plans and budget and guiding CSOs in advocacy activities. Executive director for the Forum Rebecca Muna made advice to the government that there is a need to develop a workable modality for enabling industries to be resilience to climate change in order to avoid from increasing carbon emission.

She made the remarks during the one-day stake- holder session on the 25th conference of the Paris to the United Nations Frame- work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and meetings of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies convened in Santiago, Chile popular known as COP25.

The session organised by FORUM CC intends to prepare Tanzanian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to con- tribute and influence negotiations at all relevant levels.

The aim is to come up with one COP25 position from Tanzania Civil Society with one voice and one message.

According to her, there is no need of having a lot of industries which are difficult to run, because our country is not having sufficient budget to cater for climate change mitigation's.

Forum CC in partnership with Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is implementing part of the project titled Deepening Civil Society Engagement in International Post-Paris Climate Change Dialogue and Response” funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

The project aims to en- able civil society to catalyze change and ensure bottom- up, pro-poor and people- centered narratives form the basis for implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement, and more importantly the NDCs.

FORUM CC is implementing other project titled Green and Inclusive Energy funded by Hivos. The pro- ject enhances government’s accountability on climate finance for decentralized renewable energy.

The forum also coordinated and gathered inputs from CSOs that contributed to the preparation of National Climate Change, Intended Nationally Determined Conribution (iNDC) and the current National Adaptation Plan (NAP) preparation process.

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