Updating execution of NDCs to help communities build climateresilience

21Apr 2021
The Guardian
Updating execution of NDCs to help communities build climateresilience

​​​​​​​EFFORTS to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and take adaptation measures have always centred building the capacity of communities to cope with the impacts of climate change and become resilient economically and socially.

Participants at the technical working session in a panel discussion.

Even before the Paris Agreement parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change had established National Action Plans of Adaptation (NAPAS) with the specific aim of undertaking adaptation projects aimed at building climate resilience among communities.

The focus has always been on most vulnerable communities. In order to address emerging challenges and due to the need to garner more commitment from countries, parties to the UNFCCC came with the requirement that they declare what they will do to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and what adaptation measures they are going to take in order to help build the capacity of their communities to cope with the effects of climate change.

“At the initial stage, countries were required to declare intensions; what actions they intend to take in terms of mitigation and adaptation. These were known as Intended Nationally Declared Contributions,” says Dr. Patrick Ndaki, a Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute of Resource Assessment, Centre for Climate Change Studies of the University of Dar es Salaam. Tanzania submitted her INDCs in October 2015.

Following the submission, the next step was to verify and confirm actual Nationally Declared Contributions (NDCs) and submit the same within five years so that implementation of the NDCs could begin, providing room for monitoring and evaluation. Implementation would also attract funding from climate change funds, bilateral funding and other sources.

So far only Kenya and Rwanda have submitted their NDCs among countries in the East African Community. Tanzania could not meet the 2020 target but efforts are now being made to ensure that the document is submitted this year.

Recently, representatives from various groups including civil society organisastions, government departments, academia, UN agencies, local government officials and independent experts met in Morogoro in a technical working session that aimed to review and update Draft Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) thatreflect the country’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and undertake adaptation measures to deal with climate change impacts.

With funding from the Government of Tanzania, UNDP,CAN Tz and Forum CC, The team reviewed and updated existing sector priorities and issues that cut across sectors in relation to adaptation and mitigation targets. It also reviewed policies and measures that will be incorporated into the Draft NDC and Draft NDC Implementation Plan and aligned NDCwiththedraftNationalClimateChangeResponseStrategy2021-2026 andZanzibarClimateChangeStrategy2014.


“Overall, implementation of NDC is important because it sets a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and charts adaptation measures, but for developingcountries like Tanzania, adaptation should be the priority since many people are affected by the impacts of climate change,” says Nyashilu Issa Musa, Senior Environment Managemnt Officer in the Vice President’s Office who also chaired the working session. “The ultimate aim is to see that Tanzania makes a significant contribution to global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions while building climate change resilient communities. To meet this targetrequires participation of all sectors of the economy and the public in general and such efforts must be unified and coordinated in order to produce results,” he adds.

Implementation of NDCs requires substantial funding and the major source has always been from donor countries but Dr. Ndaki sees problems with foreign funding. “One problem could be inadequate and unpredictable funding. Developed countries have the obligation to finance adaptation and mitigation projects in developing countries but funds are not forthcoming. These countries have domestic problems that they must attend to including severe floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, heat waves and wildfires as a result of which they have abandoned this obligation,” he says.

Finance is not the only resource that is vital for implementation of NDC, competent and capable personnel are another requirement. Experience shows that in many developing countries Tanzania included, there is also low capacity among local experts to write project proposals that can attract funding from the UNFCCC. Projects entail a host of terms of reference some of which are quite complicatedas a result of which only a few developing countries manage to secure these funds. Sometimes the poor countries are forced by circumstances to engage experts from donor countries to write the projects for them.

“But there is also lack of knowledge about climate change among government officials. This is particularly the case with District Council staff who bear the burden of helping communities adopt to climate change. With such lack of knowledge, implementation of NDC might not be effective as government are unable to help vulnerable communities,” he says.

Effective implementation of NDC requires coordination and harmonization of mitigation and adaptation projects.This calls for the private sector, business community and other groups to play their role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through various production processes. “But they must also help vulnerable communities to adapt so that they become resilient and life may go on in the face of climate change,” says Dr. Ndaki.

As foreign funding for implementation of NDC seems to be both inadequate and unpredictable, it is imperative that Tanzania turns to local sources of funds in order to meet her mitigation and adaptation targets. Non-state actors could fill in that funding gap.

While discussions are going on to establisha National Climate Fund, there are projects being implemented with local and bilateral funding in specific areas that address NDC. Kilimo Kwanza and SAGCOT programmes were meant to address climate change mitigation and adaptation among farmer and pastoralist communities. Religion organisations fund climate change projects in rural communities  such as water supply, improved livestock keeping and nutrition, among others, and in so doing help them to become more resilient to climate change impacts.

Local universities and research institutions also offer scholarships to students to study and research climate change issues the findings of which help communities to deal with the impacts of climate change.

“However the role of NGOS and other non-state actors in financing climate change projects remains obscure in most cases. The organizations get huge funds from donors but very often government doesn’t know where and how the money is spent. The role of no-state actors in complimenting government efforts to fund climate change adaptation is not conspicuous,” says Dr Ndaki


Commenting on the progress made in preparing and submitting the NDC document The Executive Director of CAN Tz Dr. Sixbert Mwanga explained that it was important to make the review in order to incorporate changes that might have happened over time and to make the document relevant and responsive to current needs.

Further delay in submitting the NDC puts Tanzania in a difficult position among other parties to the UNFCC because the latter are not aware of what is happening regarding reducing emissions and taking adaptation measures in line with agreed NDC process. This also affects other country plans and strategies related to climate change such as the Climate Change Strategy and theThird Five Year Development Plan. “Under the circumstances, civil society organizations appeal to the government to speed up the remaining steps and make the submission of NDC a priority that needs to be acted upon as soon as possible. This is a requirement under the Paris Agreement to which Tanzania is a signatory,” said Dr. Mwanga

The process to formulate the NDCs requires participation of various groups in the country with the view to capture voices of all sections of the public. The aim is to leave no one behind when it comes to implementation.

“The process we have taken in Tanzania has to a great extent been participatory as most of the groups have had their concerns taken on board. In particular, CSOs were fully engaged in the process and provided substantial inputs into the draft document that has been discussed here,” he says, adding that it is possible to submit the document to UNFCCC this year, but government must act fast. “The target should be to register our NDC well before COP26 so that implementation begins and communities are capacitated to build resilience to climate change impacts,” says Msololo Onditi, Programme Officer for FORUM CC.

The need to review NDCs arises from the fact that many changes take place fast and if they (NDCs) are to be effective in making communities resilient through implementation then there is need to update the documents from time to time. Currently NDCs are updated every five years.

“There are changes in the daily lives of communities, including sources of livelihoods. In Zanzibar, for example, Blue Economy is focus of economic development activities. There was little attention given to this sector in previous years. This change should thus be reflected the Draft NDCs,” says Makame Kitwana Makame from the Ministry of Livestock in Zanzibar.

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