Local Action Plans Illuminate the Way Forward in Zanzibar’s Fight against Climate Change

Small island communities are amongst those most acutely affected by the consequences of climate change. Waiting for global consensus on adaptation and mitigation strategies is a luxury they cannot afford. Local action plans give them the tools and the knowledge they need to start making changes now.

On 12 October, The Hague Institute successfully organized the second national workshop on local climate action planning in Zanzibar, as part of its project titled Governance of Climate Change Adaptation in Small Island Developing States: Pilot Zanzibar. The aim of the conference was to present and discuss the final draft of the Local Climate Action Plans in three hotspots, and to identify a roadmap to implementation.

The conference was opened by Her Excellency, the Minister of Land, Energy, Water and Environment, Ms. Salama Aboud Talib. The Minister underlined the importance of local adaptive responses to climate change and thanked The Hague Institute for taking leadership in this process. Stressing the urgency of addressing climate change, she stated that “every country is needed to come up with strategies and plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts – not only through national plans but also local plans.”

“Mkokotoni, Nungwi and Mjini Kiuyu are just a few areas facing consequences caused by climate change. It is not only the environment that is affected but also every sector that we know.”

–H.E. Ms. Salama Aboud Talib

Previous workshops held in 2015 formed the foundation of the Local Action Plans presented in October. In collaboration with the Department of Environment and Deltares, The Hague Institute visited the three hotspots in Zanzibar and organized local workshops to define problems and identify possible solutions. The workshops were attended by farmers, fishermen, tourism operators, religious leaders, and local government officials. The 2015 national workshop synthesized insights from these local communities, and last week’s sequel provided an opportunity to look critically at the resulting Local Action Plans and determine the right way forward.

Local representatives from the climate change hotspots presented the solutions they had identified in the various stages of the project, and government officials from the ministries of Environment, Fisheries, Agriculture, Forestry, Water, Urban and Rural Development and Tourism highlighted how the proposed interventions would factor into the work of their ministries. In an interactive session with the workshop participants, it was established which leading organizations could take on the responsibility for implementing particular interventions. This group process helped consolidate support for future actions.

The conference was concluded by Mr. Juma Ali Juma, Principle Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries, who reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Zanzibar to adequately respond to the perils of climate change for this vulnerable country.

Many communities are vulnerable on Zanzibar, to the impacts of climate change. We see more droughts, we see water scarcity, but we also see sea water intrusion, which is a major problem for example for agricultural production.

–Dr. Patrick Huntjens

The Hague Institute’s Dr. Patrick Huntjens appeared on the Zanzibar news program Night Line to comment on the workshop and outline some of the measures that can be implemented to address the consequences of climate change. “I think that one of the important messages of today,” he added, “is that Zanzibar doesn’t need to wait unnecessarily for international donors.” As a concrete follow-up step to the workshop, The Hague Institute will work together with the responsible organizations to secure funding for essential adaptation measures.

The workshop reflected the participatory nature of the project’s planning approach, which bridges the gap between bottom-up efforts and top-down policies. This facilitates knowledge-sharing and consensus-building across sectors and levels of government, and also serves to prevent conflicts between economic sectors and between communities. The project furthermore provides Zanzibar with a blueprint for similar approaches to governance in the future.


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