On 15 and 16 September, The Hague Institute and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar organized a national multi-stakeholder dialogue on local climate action planning in Zanzibar, as part of The Hague Institute’s flagship project ‘Governance of Climate Adaptation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)’. This project aims to analyze and improve the response to climate change impacts and to reduce disaster risks in the vulnerable SIDS.
The event was officially opened by Honorary Minister of State , First Vice Presidents’ Office, madame Fatma Abdulhabib Ferej. The Minister of State stressed the importance of anticipating the consequences of climate change. “Zanzibar aspires a transition to a green economy by 2030, requiring new approaches for sustainable and climate-proof development. It can only be achieved through a concerted effort and joint investments by public and private stakeholders.”
The sessions were attended by around 100 representatives of the local community, including farmers, fishers, hotel and business owners and local leaders and local government representatives, as well as all relevant governmental and non-governmental stakeholders at the national level, and donors and UN agencies. The workshop was covered by national television and radio stations. It was broadcasted on prime time national television by Zanzibar Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC).
The workshop was an important milestone in the participatory planning process towards local climate action plans in three hotspots. The participatory planning process is closely monitored and evaluated by the project team in order to develop a methodology for improving climate adaptation processes in similar contexts.
Key objectives of the workshop included:
- To develop a joint vision for sustainable and climate proof development for 2030 in each hotspot;
- To provide all stakeholders with a bottom-up perspective on problems, solutions and priorities, based on the outputs from the baseline assessment, local multi-stakeholder workshops and local interviews and focus groups in each hotspot;
- To jointly evaluate the design, impact and feasibility of selected priority measures for each hotspot, based on participatory multi-criteria analysis;
- To assess possible trajectories for mainstreaming local climate action plans in national policy-making;
- To provide comparative insights and best practices from Fiji and Barbados.
Climate Change in Zanzibar
Recent research has indicated that the climate on Zanzibar is changing, which becomes apparent through the extreme events Zanzibar is experiencing: floods, droughts, coastal erosion and saltwater inundation are already having a major impact on the local economy and livelihoods. The economy of Zanzibar is highly vulnerable to climate change, through the climate sensitive economic sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
However, Zanzibar is currently not adequately adapted to deal with the impacts of climate change. These extreme events are leading to:
- a loss of living area, resulting in forced migration
- a loss of arable land, due to saltwater inundation
- degradation of ecosystems, resulting in a reduced fish yields
The reduced availability of natural resources is increasing the competition between various stakeholders and increases the potential for conflict.
Despite the challenges, there is room to realise sustainable development of these climate sensitive areas. A first step has been made with the development of the Zanzibar Climate Change Strategy, which provides an outline of the responsibilities. Concrete technical and governance interventions are however highly needed.
The aim of this joint project is to develop a consensus-based action plan for three particular hotspots in Zanzibar supported by a comparative assessment of islands in the Caribbean and Pacific, based on their lessons learned. The action plans should however be legitimate to the inhabitants, taking into account the local knowledge, problems and ambitions. These consensus-based action plans are developed in a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues.
The team consists of governance and climate experts of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, development experts from Deltares and officials from the Department of Environment in Zanzibar.
In February 2016, the Hague Institute will hold a second national multi-stakeholder workshop where the team will present the concept climate action plans for each hotspot to national decision-makers and while continuing to work on a roadmap for implementation.