On 11th May, 2018, 48 councilors, members of the district planning team and conservationists from Nkasi District Council, Katavi National Park, Lwafi Game Reserve and NGOs convened at the Holland Hotel Conference in Sumbawanga, Tanzania, for the third and final awareness raising workshop.
The first workshop, an inter-district workshop, was held on 21st and 22nd February, 2018, at Lake Chila Lodge Conference in Mbala, Zambia. It brought together councilors, traditional leaders and members of the district planning team from Nsama and Mpulungu District Council as well as representatives from Nsumbu National Park, Frankfurt Zoological Society and Lake Tanganyika Development Programme. The workshop was graced by Senior Chief Nsama, His Royal Highness Moses Chishimba. The second workshop, held on 27th to 28th February, 2018, at Lyamba lya Mfipa Conference Hall in Mpanda, Tanzania, was attended by councilors and members of the district planning team from Tanganyika (formerly Mpanda) District Council. Others were conservationists from Katavi National Park, Lwafi Game Reserve and NGO representatives from Rukwa and Katavi Regions.
The main objectives of the three workshops, amongst others, were a) to raise awareness on the value of biodiversity, causes of biodiversity loss and conservation strategies; b) to improve understanding on national legislations governing the use of land and natural resource issues, c) to raise awareness on climate change resilience d) to promote land use planning as a tool for biodiversity conservation and climate change resilience, e) to promote inter-sectoral and inter-institutional collaboration for integrated land use planning.
Key topics covered include: Overview of the Integrated Planning Project; Biodiversity: key concepts, benefits, challenges and threats; Overview of Land, Land Use Planning, Water, Wildlife and Environmental Laws; Biodiversity Benefits and Threats: Case of Protected Areas (Nsumbu, Katavi and Lwafi); Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability, Adaptation: Experience from the Districts (Mpulungu, Nsama, Tanganyika and Nkasi); Integrated land use planning (ILUP): a tool for biodiversity conservation and climate change resilience; and Stakeholder participation in land use planning process.
The workshops were organized by Integrated Planning to Implement the CBD Strategic Plan and Increase Ecosystem Resilience to Climate Change Project, a global project being implemented by the Environmental Law Centre of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), IUCN’s Global Protected Area Programme and three IUCN Regional Offices. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
The overall objective of the project is to increase capacity to optimize planning to support biodiversity and climate change adaptation objectives, including through the effective engagement of protected area systems. The project focuses on integrating climate change and biodiversity concerns into spatial planning frameworks. It works in four districts of Lake Tanganyika ecosystem: Mpanda (subsequently renamed Tanganyika) and Nkasi Districts in Tanzania; and Nsama and Mpulungu Districts in Zambia.
The three workshops offered a rare opportunity for local decision makers (councillors), traditional leaders, planners and conservationists to deliberate on matters pertaining to biodiversity conservation, land use planning and climate change resilience in a neutral setting. It was acknowledged that limited understanding of land and natural resource related laws, low public participation in decision making processes and limited political support undermine the achievement of biodiversity conservation, land use planning and climate change resilience objectives.
Common actions agreed include:
- Councils should allocate funds for developing and implementing village land use plans (or local area plans in Zambia) through budget circles.
- Efforts to raise awareness on land use planning, biodiversity conservation and climate resilience should to reach all councilors in a given district (e.g. by inviting a presenter at a full council meeting).
- Councils in collaboration with the Integrated Project should disseminate hard copies of training materials (power point presentations) to councilors and traditional leaders and where possible be translated in local languages.
- Protected area authorities should engage district planners and councilors in resolving boundary and human-wildlife conflicts.
- Councilors and traditional leaders, being influential people, should use the knowledge gained to educate communities in their constituents and to support efforts to address biodiversity conservation, land use planning and climate change challenges.
In the Zambian workshops, leaders from the two district councils, Nsama and Mpulungu, formed an informal inter-district forum aimed at addressing land use and conservation challenges around Lake Tanganyika and Nsumbu National Park. The forum will be convened twice a year to monitor and evaluate the implementation of agreed joint actions. Planners from the two Districts will meet and develop a joint action plan on land use planning, biodiversity conservation and climate change issues. The Project Officer was requested to consider the possibility of organizing a learning visit, in/to Tanzania, on conservation and land use planning issues.
Next steps and actions include undertaking campaigns to promote public participation in land use planning process and to raise awareness on land use planning, climate change resilience and biodiversity conservation.