Arusha — Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete has decried the country's changing weather patterns that have resulted into among others the declining snow at Mt. Kilimanjaro.
He said in many parts of Tanzania, temperature has increased by about 0.2 to 0.6 degree centigrade for the past 30 years whose impact is evidenced by the fast decline of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro and the advent of malaria in high altitude temperate regions that were formerly malarias free.
Mount Kilimanjaro which is Africa's highest peak attracts more than 35,000 annual climbers and the earnings from the total in-country tourists expenditure is averaged at around US$ 50 million (Tsh80 billion/-) per year.
According to the SNV-Overseas Development Institute (ODI) study, the Tsh80 billion/- generated by Mt Kilimanjaro per year, is also a significant economic input in a rural context.
The study found that 28 percent of the tourism earnings from Mt Kilimanjaro which is equivalent to over US$ 13 million or 20.8 billion/- is considered pro-poor expenditure, on that it goes straight into the pockets of local people there.
Funded by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), the ODI study concluded that it was the world's highest and most successful transfer of resources from international tourists to poor people in the locality.However President Kikwete said the weather patterns have changed significantly, in Tanzania, making rainfall less predictable while droughts have become both frequent in occurrence and last longer compared to few years back.
"When rains come, they do so with vengeance causing floods with accompanying destruction of crops, properties and even lives,' he said at the closing of a one week 14th session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) held at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).
" Sea levels are rising at alarming pace and several parts of coastal regions are at risk of being sub-merged like the town of Pangani, there are already some parts that are now completely under sea as is the case of Mazwe Island near Pangani," he said.
He attributed the environmental degradation threats to inappropriate human decisions and actions adding that developing countries particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa are suffering the most for they lack the capacity to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.
"The majority of these countries are either poor or marginally above the poverty line, as a result they do not have adequate financial resources, technology and human skills to respond effectively to the challenges," he added.
"It is important to note that, these countries contribute the least to the serious environment challenges threatening our planet, they contribute minimally to carbon emissions which are responsible for global warming," he said.
He emphasized that those countries which contribute the most to global carbon emission should bear the biggest burden in the efforts to redress the situation.
"The principle of equitable but differentiated responsibility is both rational and justified, those who pollute more should shoulder a bigger burden of cleaning up and rehabilitating the environment, they also have a responsibility to those who suffer because of their actions and inaction," he noted.
"Unfortunately, they are not doing enough, whereas they realise and accept responsibility they fall short of taking the right actions at the appropriate time," he said adding that fortunately, these are countries with the financial resources, technology and skills to do it.
"The only thing that remains wanting on their part is political will. It is this deficit which has made global efforts fails to reach the desired outcomes,' he said.