Tanzania is endowed with abundant, unique and valuable environmental resources which contribute to more than 70% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and livelihoods of majority of the people. These resources among others include arable land, forests, marine and freshwater sources, wetlands, wildlife, mountains, natural gas and minerals. In order to ensure environmental conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, the National Environmental Policy was introduced. Through implementation of this policy and other relevant sectoral policies, the country has managed to designate about 40% of the total land area as forest and wildlife protected areas.
Land is one of the most prized natural assets in the country supporting livelihoods of millions of Tanzanians. The importance of land in development is underlined by the fact that most of the population derives their livelihoods and incomes from land resources. This prized resource is under increasing pressure resulting in different forms land degradation in many parts of the country. The main objective of this policy is to enhance environmentally sound management of land resources for socio-economic development and in order to achieve this goal the government shall promote the integration of environmental issues in the land use planning and management across sectors.
As water sources are fundamental for sustaining human life, animals and the environment, measures are being taken towards enhancing sustainable management of water sources. Measures such as strengthening cross- sectoral coordination regarding the management of water sources and strengthening enforcement to ensure compliance with relevant legislation. As a part of the policy, in order to promote environmental management of water sources, a few steps have been planned to promote conservation of water sources by strengthening cross-sectoral coordination in the sustainable management of water sources and promoting public participation and awareness in the management of water sources.
Tanzania is one of the mega-rich biodiversity hotspots in the world with about 14,000 known important plant and animal species. Unfortunately, wildlife habitats and biodiversity in Tanzania have continuously been threatened by unsustainable human activities, poverty, population growth, ineffective land planning, proliferation of Invasive Species (IS), illegal global trade in plant and animal species, poaching of wildlife, overexploitation of flora and fauna resources and impacts of climate change. In this policy the government has made it their objective to strengthen conservation of wildlife habitats and biodiversity by promoting ecosystem-based approaches to conservation of wildlife habitats and biological diversity and enhancing capacity building for management of wildlife habitats and biodiversity.
Marine ecosystems experience unprecedented impacts due to destructive fishing practices, mining of live and dead corals, unsustainable mangrove cutting and pollution. This calls for strengthening cross sectoral coordination and collaboration in the management of aquatic system and trans-boundary coordination in the management of shared aquatic system. As a solution, the policy works toward enhancing conservation of aquatic ecosystem for sustained ecological services and socio-economic wellbeing.
Forest reserves form part of 33 percent of the country’s land which has been designated as protected area. Natural forests cover about 47.4 million ha (98.5%) while plantations cover only 600,000ha (1.5%). Richness of the forest resources, forest ecosystems are facing a huge threat due to deforestation. Through this policy the government is working towards enhancing conservation of forest ecosystems for sustainable provision of environmental goods and services by promoting integrated practices in addressing deforestation and encouraging private sector to invest in forest management.
Environmental pollution is a widespread and growing challenge in the country and has significant deleterious effects on the quality of water, air, and land posing threat to environment and human health. To effectively address environmental pollution, challenge this policy ensures to manage pollution for safe and a healthy environment by promoting green technologies and integrated management of municipal waste, chemicals waste and strengthening national capacity in waste management, urban planning and control of noise pollution.
The National Environment Policy 2021 provides a broad range of measures and actions responding to key environmental issues and challenges. It provides the framework for an integrated approach to planning and sustainable management of environment in the country.
Photo Credit : https://twitter.com/Ecct_org/header_photo