African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC)

ARC's mission is to conserve Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests by raising the capacity of local conservation networks and encouraging sustainable economic development. Current projects are being implemented in two of Conservation International's "ten most threatened forest hotspots" - the coastal forests of Eastern Africa (#8) and the Eastern Afromontane (#10). These forest hotspots have as little as 10 percent of their original forest habitat remaining, yet are home to at least 1,500 plant species found nowhere else in the world. The Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests are globally important for their biodiversity values; nationally important ...
Mar 15, 2016

Forest Justice in Tanzania (FJT)

Members showing their Forest manifesto Sept 2015
Members showing their Forest manifesto Sept 2015

Project Summary
Forest Justice in Tanzania (FJT) is an advocacy initiative between the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and the Community Forest Conservation Network of Tanzania (MJUMITA) that has been financed by the Accountability in Tanzania program between January 2011 and December 2015. FJT aims to conserve forest ecosystem services for the benefit of the nation and local communities by amplifying the volume of citizens’ demand for forest justice and by supporting the government to supply more equitable and sustainable forest governance. This report covers the progress of the project between September - December 2015.

Through MJUMITA’s 10,345 members, the project succeeded in reaching over 1 million people living in the 452 villages represented in the network. The strong partnership that exists between TFCG and MJUMITA meant that the project was able to get going rapidly and to implement almost all of the planned activities despite some delays in getting funds. The investments made in building TFCG’s and MJUMITA’s institutional capacity also meant that the project was well planned, implemented, monitored, and administered.

National elections in Tanzania in October 2015 provided an opportunity for communities and the FJT partners to frame the dialogue on forest governance in the context of the democratic process.

In addition, good working relationships with district authorities, journalists, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism allowed for:

  • Public meetings even during the election campaign period
  • Widespread media coverage on forest governance issues between September – December 2015, including 12 newspaper articles; 12 TV programs, and 15 radio programs
  • The FJT partners to be invited to participate in various committees and consultation processes related to national policy development, including consultation on the draft National Forest Policy and on policy instruments related to REDD+

Opportunities - Accountability amongst elected representatives
FJT’s work to develop and promote the MJUMITA forest manifesto has significantly raised the profile of forestry issues amongst elected representatives at local and national levels. The next step is to trace the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the manifesto and to monitor implementation of the electoral promises of those candidates who promised to improve governance in the forestry sector.  FJT’s work around the manifesto has enabled MJUMITA to identify a cadre of allies with political influence at local and national level with whom we can work to implement the manifesto recommendations.  Commitment to address forest governance issues is particularly strong amongst many ward councillors including those MJUMITA members who were elected as Ward Councillors.  The new Minister for Environment also appears to be particularly committed to forest conservation as reflected in the concern that he expressed about high deforestation rates in Tanzania, in his first press conference after coming into office,

Opportunities - Awareness
The widespread media coverage achieved through the FJT project has increased awareness and support for forest conservation within Tanzania; and has increased understanding amongst many stakeholders on the linkages between natural resources management and broader governance issues.  Materials developed by the FJT project, such as the documentary on forest crimes can be used in awareness raising events.

Opportunities - International recognition for MJUMITA’s work
In December 2015, MJUMITA was awarded with the prestigious UNDP Equator Prize 2015 in the category of Forests.  MJUMITA was granted the award for its work on community based forest management. The Equator Prize is awarded each year by UNDP to 20 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives that are advancing innovative solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.  MJUMITA’s nomination was selected from amongst 1,461 nominations from 126 countries.

Way Forward - Lessons learned
The project’s theory of change rests on the premise that by amplifying the volume of citizens’ demand for forest justice and by supporting government to supply more equitable and sustainable forest governance, forest ecosystem services can be conserved for the benefit of the nation and local communities.  Overall the project has demonstrated that this theory of change remains valid.  Reductions in deforestation rates in the forests that were monitored by the project coupled with evidence of increasing law enforcement and positive shifts in the attitudes and behavior of all of the project’s boundary partners points to the effectiveness of the project’s strategies, particularly the grass-roots advocacy work with community-based organizations and other civil society organizations.  

Forest governance remains intertwined with issues related to land tenure.  Deforestation occurs frequently where there are disputes over village boundaries and where village land is considered as ‘general land’ by local and national government associated with the absence of village land use plans and village land certificates.  

The research on forestry sector financing pointed to the need to make fundamental changes to the ways in which forestry sector budgets are developed and revenue targets are set. The current system of setting revenue targets without considering basic principles of sustainable harvesting is contributing to the current high rates of deforestation in many parts of the country.  Similarly the absence of any formal mechanism to hold Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) accountable for the effectiveness of its management of natural forests together with the embedded disincentives to empower communities to manage their natural forests remain fundamental policy issues to be addressed.

Community members trained on financial mgmt
Community members trained on financial mgmt
Follow up governance review meeting
Follow up governance review meeting
Cycling event Ruvu South Forest Reserve Dec 2015
Cycling event Ruvu South Forest Reserve Dec 2015
MJUMITA representatives with journalists
MJUMITA representatives with journalists

Links:

Dec 28, 2015

Know Your Impact: Annual Report and Equator Award!

With your help we...
 
    •    Planted 1.7 million trees
    •    Established 5 village forest reserves covering 7,645 ha
    •    Trained 1,246 women and men on conservation agriculture
    •    Invested US$4.2 million in forest conservation projects
    •    Conserved 290,000 ha of forest   
    •    Employed 92 staff on conservation projects
    •    Trained 110 teachers to integrate environmental education

In addition, last week in Paris, on the edges of the climate talks, I’m very proud to report, the African Rainforest Conservancy's (ARC's) field partner won a prestigious United Nations Equator Award:

The Community Forestry Network of Tanzania, better known by its Swahili acronym MJUMITA, won the Equator Prize 2015 in the category of Forests! The Equator Prize is awarded each year by the UNDP to 20 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives that are advancing innovative solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities.  MJUMITA’s nomination was selected from amongst 1,461 nominations from 126 countries. Providing networking and advocacy for communities involved in participatory forest management, the network has grown to 15,000 members in 500 user groups in 23 districts and 450 villages across Tanzania!
 
Thank you so much for believing in our mission to conserve and restore African Rainforests - among the oldest and most biodiverse in the world.
 
We can’t do this work with you, so please consider giving monthly!


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Attachments:
Nov 10, 2015

Project Updates

Farmers attending FSC and REDD+ standards training
Farmers attending FSC and REDD+ standards training

Recent achievements include:

  • The establishment of 26,862 ha of village land forest reserves in Kilosa District (in addition to the 111,765 ha established through the REDD project);
  • The development of a ‘forest manifesto’ describing community priorities for candidates standing for election during the recent national and local elections. The manifesto was presented to all of the major parties and to prospective MPs and councillors in the areas where  MJUMITA is active;
  • The development of a film about forest crimes and how communities are successfully tackling them;
  • The development of the first district harvesting plan to be based on sound ecological data and to include issues such as free, prior and informed consent as well as documenting community rights to make decisions about harvesting on village land.

Recent media coverage:

  • http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-22/tanzania-trying-turn-charcoal-trade-enemy-friend-forest
Small scale farmers met with journalists in Kilosa
Small scale farmers met with journalists in Kilosa

Links:

 
   

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