The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)

19 January 2012

Tanzania: Funding for Climate Change Projects Poor

Dar es Salaam — The funds for implementation of projects on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) are flowing to developing countries from some developed countries on voluntary basis alone, lacking legally binding framework agreed internationally, it has been learnt.

This makes it difficult to force rich countries pay for environmental conservation efforts as agreed under various international agreements.

The chairman of the secretariat for preparation of the National Strategy and Action Plan for REDD Pius Yanda told BusinessWeek at the weekend that there is no internationally agreed framework for managing REDD projects and funds.

REDD is a programme conceptualized by the UN to mobilize local communities to conserve forests through financial incentives. The programme is still in a pilot stage.

"We are still waiting for internationally agreed mechanism for REDD implementation to be in place. Currently there is no binding international framework for operationalisation of REDD. Financing for the project is now being implemented on voluntary basis," said Prof Yanda who is also the director of the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) at the University of Dar es Salaam.

In 2009 IRA was given by the government responsibilities of preparing the National REDD Strategy and Action Plan under the supervision of the national task force on REDD.

At the beginning the task force included members drawn from three institutions namely the Vice President's Office, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Zanzibar Government.

However, later on the government widened membership to include the ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives, ministry of Energy and Minerals, ministry of Finance, Local Governments and ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children.

Asked when the strategy and action plan will be in place, he said the work was scheduled to be finalised at the end of this year.

"We are at a preparatory stage that is why we have a programme at Sokoine University of Agriculture which focuses on training various institutions on how to implement REDD projects," Prof Yanda said.

Under the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997 by the UN members there is still difficulty of reaching consensus among parties to the United Nations conference on issues of emissions trading, joint implementation plans, commitments by developing countries, harmonised policies and measures.

The chairman of Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET), Deodatus Mfugale told BusinessWeek recently that the Durban CoP 17 conference on climate change lat last year failed to resolve on whether carbon funds should flow through the government or the private sector and the issue was postponed until November this year at CoP 18 conference slated for Doha, Qatar.

With regard to modality of REDD funding, Prof Yanda said he was for funding through public sector under government control, because most of the villagers who constitute the majority of population in developing countries have low negotiations capacity under carbon funding. He said most of REDD funds flowing to Tanzania come from the government of Norway and UN REDD programme, but he declined to explain the amount of disbursed funds on the ground that he was just a mere researcher.

However, the latest UN report shows that until November year, the country was allocated $4.2 million (Sh6.7 billion).

The UN report shows that Tanzania is among nine countries in the world receiving REDD funds under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) on carbon credits concluded after Kyoto Protocol, whereby other listed countries are DR Congo, Zambia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Bolivia, Panama and Paraguay.

Under the UN report as of November 2011 the total amount approved for the nine countries was $108 million, and out of which $91 million has been disbursed.

Also a statement released electronically by the Embassy of Norway in city shows that under the contract signed in 2009, Norwegian government has been donating up to NOK100 ($16 million) annually to support REDD projects in Tanzania.

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