On the 5th of June the world marked the World Environment Day. Tanzania celebrated this day in a week-long event from the 31st May until the 5th June. The week-long event included a high level symposium which took place on the 1st June at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dar es Salaam. The theme of the symposium was climate change, environment and national economy.
The event was a collaboration between the Vice President’s Office and the Swedish Embassy, and consisted of four themes: (i) Can Tanzania Develop with the Current trends of Environmental Degradation? (ii) Economic Consequences of Climate Change to Tanzania (iii) Environmental Management in Tanzania’s quest for Industrialization (iv) High level plenary with Ministers and Ambassadors.
The guest of honor was Her Excellence, Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania. Other invited guests included H.E. Katarina Rangnitt, ambassador of the Swedish embassy; January Makamba the Minister of State, Union Affairs and Environment; Joseph Malongo the Permanent Secretary Vice President’s Office; Hon. Lars Ronnas the climate change ambassador for Sweden; Jon Jeikikki Aas the counsellor for environment and climate change at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam; representatives from the Stockholm Environment Institute; representatives from government ministries, development partners, civil societies, the private sector and academia.
EfDT was invited to this high level symposium and research fellow Remidius Ruhinduka was one of the panellist under the first theme. Other EfDT researchers that were invited included Razack Lokina, Byela Tibesigwa, Onesmo Selejio, Gerald Kibira and Salvatory Macha.
The World Environment Day is used as an international platform to raise public awareness on various issues related to environmental conservation worldwide. The global theme for this year is Beat Plastic Pollution. When Remidius Ruhinduka was asked to give a key message, he mentioned the following: Our country's economy is so much dependent on natural resources but if nothing is done to the current levels of environmental degradation we will undoubtedly reverse the current impressive growth numbers. While 80% of our people are employed in agriculture, a sector that contributes more than 25% to our GDP, we are witnessing more than 60% of our land being degraded; while the services sector including tourism contributes more than 40% to our GDP, yet Tanzania is ranked 12th globally in terms of the number of endangered species; and while construction sector draws 75% of its inputs from the forestry, Tanzania is ranked 5th globally in terms of deforestation clearing more than 370,000 ha of its forests each year mainly for charcoal usage.
The expected outcome of the high level symposium is strategic and policy recommendations for action along with awareness by the wider Tanzanian community on the importance of conserving the environment.
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