Towards development, execution of inclusive, participatory

10Jun 2021
Correspondent
The Guardian
Towards development, execution of inclusive, participatory
  • and ambitious NDCs in Tanzania

​​​​​​​IN 2015 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed the Paris Agreement and set the world on course towards sustainable development.

NDCs must address energy poverty and promote renewable energy.

The Agreement created a platform for the Parties to set long term goals to reducegreenhouse gas emissions through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which require parties to outline domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.

NDCs are non-binding national plans that highlight climate actions including targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, policies and measures governments aim to implement in response to climate change and as a contribution to achieve the global targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

For Tanzania, preparation of NDCs is still in progress. However efforts are being made to finalize and submit the document for registration to the UNFCCC before CoP26, slated for November his year.

The document under preparation must reflect realistic ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in relation to global targets. It must also promote gender equality and social inclusion and enhance coordination of climate actions in order to realize the set targets.

In achieving this objective Climate Action Network Tanzania (CAN Tanzania) has been implementing a project “Participatory NDCs for a Climate-just Response in COVID-19 World,”in collaboration with various civil society organisations in the country. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of this year.

Other countries that are implementing a similar project include Uganda, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, all of which are coordinated by Climate Action Network International based in Germany.

“In preparing the NDCs document it is important that views and voices from across Tanzanian communities are included. Government, civil society organisations and non-government actors must all participate in drawing up this document because we are all affected by climate change and everyone has a contribution to make towards adaptation and mitigation. We must speak with one voice,” explains BonaventureMchomvu, CAN Tanzania Head of Programmes. He adds that the final document must also reflect measures being taken to deal with COVID-19 because the pandemic has impacted efforts to deal with climate change throughout the world.

Available documents indicate that the project has three major objectives. One is to enhance voices and contributions of civil society organizations in Tanzania with the aim of promoting participatory and gender-equitable improvement of NDCs in the context of the COVID-19 recovery. Another objective is to ensurethat COVID-19 crisis  does not draw significant political attention  at the expense of climate change action and leaving little room for CSOs to leverage improved, human-centered and gender-sensitive NDCs in the context of the COVID-19 recovery. “We also aim to strengthen voices of civil society organizations so as to contribute to inclusive and participatory revised NDCs in Tanzania. Most of the CSOs work with the grassroots communities so they are better positioned to mobilise them to contribute to the NDCs process,” says Mr. Mchomvu.

To this end CAN Tanzania and  partner CSOs are working to strengthen national and sub-national platforms that will move NDCs frontiers and amplify informed voices and advocacy activities while ensuring a just COVID recovery. The aim is to raise awareness on NDCs and their implementation within the country through joint climate actions, engagements as well as lobby and advocacy with policy and decision makers.

In the meantime CAN Tz is spearheading inclusive stakeholders’ consultations to discuss, enhance and validate relevant and ambitious NDCs.It is also strengthening national stakeholders’ capacity to coordinate and engage with policy and decision makers for enhanced NDCs implementations and COVID-19 recovery.

“So far we have undertaken three inclusive stakeholder consultation meetings involving CSOs, media and government focusing on energy, agriculture, forestry, environment, finance, water, health and finance. The meetings have increased awareness and understanding of NDC and buy-in of the reviews that have been undertaken,” explains Dr. Sixbert Mwanga, CAN Tanzania Executive Director.

Two capacity building workshops have also been conducted. These aimed to enhance stakeholders’ knowledge on the roles of renewable energy towards realization of NDCs and inclusive COVID-19 recovery. During the workshops participants were equipped with knowledge on the contribution of renewable energy to successful implementation of NDCs and how the same can contribute todealing with COVID-19.

“As part implementation of the project we have also developed one policy brief and one position paper that provide guidance on how NDCs could be implemented and mainstreamed in government plans and strategies as the country recovers from COVID-19,” says Dr. Mwanga, adding that the project has developed a regional position paper for East Africa in order to promote NDCs process and improvemeasures to deal with COVID-19. The regional position paper is meant to be a tool that can be used jointly to engage high level stakeholders in the East African Community member countries.

In order to ensure effective, inclusive and participatory implementation of the NDC process, effective communication tools and approaches have been put in place from local to national level so as to communicate the process to stakeholders and also ensure sustainability. CAN Tanzania has engaged mainstream media outlets (TV, radio, newspapers) social media and community media outlets. This approachis meant to scale up understanding of NDCs and COVID-19 particularly among the rural poor.

In collaboration with CAN Uganda, CAN Tanzania has organised a regional high-level meeting for CSOs and East African government representatives in order to ensure that policy and decision makers understand and buy-in the positions that have been elaborated  and acknowledge opportunities for ambitious improvement and implementation of NDCs.

After two years of COVID-19 and decades of dealing with climate change, awareness for both climate change and the pandemic among policy and decision-makers and the general public is still low.

 For the two years of COVID-19 climate measures have not only been considered secondary but also detached from the pandemic. CAN Tanzaniaand partner CSOs are now addressing this shortfall in the course of reviewing the NDCs. Other countries implementing similar projects have shared the same experience and are also working to address the gaps.

Thus the current NDCs development process offers a unique opportunity for Tanzania to look back and assess the achievement and lessons learnt from its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

This process is also important as it gives room for reduction of vulnerability to climate change and enhances long-term resilience across sectors and communities. The NDCs under revision have increasingly recognized the role of renewable energy and energy efficiency in both adaptation and mitigation.

Beyond INDCs, the revised NDCs document also reflects the cost for implementation for both adaptation and mitigation sectors with a total budget standing at of US$ 5,021,400.00.

 

The cost to realize this ambition is considered, to a large extent, dependent on availability of international and foreign financial support. This means that, inadequate and unpredictable flow of international and foreign financial support could have serious impacts on implementation of NDCs.The targets set may not be realized.

It is for this reason that stakeholders have advocated the use of available local resources to finance adaptation projects in order to compliment global climate change funding.

“It is time we turned to local sources for funding climate change projects. We need to have our own climate funding strategy that focuses on mobilizing local resources to finance adaptation and mitigation. There must be a budget for this and the strategy should respond to our development needs and sustainable development goals,” argues Dr. Gerald Kafumu from COSTECH.

 He says that it is not appropriate for Tanzania to depend entirely on international funding in order to address local climate change issues when the country has abundant natural resources that it could harness and use to fund adaptation and mitigation projects. “I know we have budget allocations for water, forestry, land and other sectors that are hard hit by climate change. Government also has a special fund for disasters. But that is not enough. We need to have specific budget allocation for climate adaptation and mitigation which is different from the disaster fund,” he explains.

Speaking about climate funding during a recent consultative workshop on NDCs a UNDP (Tz) representative, Abbas Kitogo, explained that climate finance from local sources is possible. “What is lacking, however, is a strategy; some kind of system of mobilizing these funds and channeling them to address climate change issues. Tanzania should establish a clear mechanism to collect available funds from various local sources to be used in implementation of climate change projects while pursuing international funding,” he said.

A Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute of Resource Assessment of the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr. Patrick Ndaki says that it is important for the NDC process to be inclusive and participatory in order to build the basis for effective implementation of NDCs. “This must be grounded on coordination and harmonization of mitigation and adaptation projects, taking on board the private sector, business community and other groups so that they may play their role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through various production processes,”  explains Dr. Ndaki.

Another challenge in building up participatory, ambitious and inclusive NDCsis related to limited knowledge and low public awareness about the NDCs. This lack of knowledge cuts across all sectors including civil society organisations, central government, district councils, private sector and academia.“We recently conducted a workshop to raise awareness on the NDCs process and out of the 40 participants, only two were aware of the global status of NDCs. This is a serious problem when it comes to building an inclusive and participatory process,” says Dr. Mwanga.

The NDCs process envisages to provide room for all sectors and groups to make contributions so that the final document is truly national. However it appears that some stakeholders are left out of the process, a situation that might impact implementation of the NDCs.

“When it comes to climate adaptation and mitigation we often talk about land, forestry, fisheries, pastoralism, industry, agriculture but rarely do we acknowledge the importance of forests and communities who live adjacent to and own the forests. We forget that if these people are left behind the goals of NDCs may not be realized,” warnsDr. Siima Salome Bakengesa from Tanzania Forestry Research Institute (TAFORI).

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest challenge towards inclusive and participatory development and timely submission of the NDCs. A lot of attention and resources have been shifted to cater for precautionary measures of the pandemic while, in due course reducing efforts to deal with climate change. The two are interlinked and must be dealt with simultaneously.

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