Planning solutions for climate change

in Tanzania and Zambia

Lake Tanganyika, Africa’s deepest and largest rift lake, is the second largest lake by volume in the world, hosting exceptional natural wealth along its shorelines and in the lake.

The lake’s ecosystem supports millions of people living around the lake basin. Livelihoods in the area depend on a healthy and resilient environment, where agriculture and fishing activities have prospered for centuries.

The Mpanda and Nkasi Districts in Tanzania encompass a number of Key Biodiversity Areas and protected areas,
such as the Katavi National Park, Lwafi Game Reserve and several forest reserves.

These areas host important populations of endemic, endangered and threatened species as well as significant populations of keystone and flagship species, such as the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Eastern Chimpanzee (Pantroglodytes schweinfurthii).

The Nsumbu National Park and adjacent Tondwa and Kaputa Game Management Area in Zambia host patches of rare and endangered Itigi-Sumbu thicket. Aquatic biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika is exceptional with at least 1,500 species of which approximately 600 are considered endemic to the lake.

The challenge

In recent years, the Lake Tanganyika ecosystem has been facing an expansion of agriculture and livestock-based land use, in addition to deforestation, wildlife poaching, and infrastructure development like the construction of roads and hydroelectric power plants. Furthermore, both Tanzania and Zambia have observed increasing average temperatures from 0.5 - 2°C, resulting in more frequent droughts.

These anthropocentric threats have affected biodiversity and ecosystem services, and are in turn impacting regional agriculture on which local communities depend, and the survival of endemic, endangered, or threatened wildlife species and populations.

National land use planning frameworks and development plans don't adequately integrate biodiversity and climate change aspects. Likewise, district management plans in the region are either nonexistent or are outdated, and don't effectively integrate climate change and biodiversity.

The plan

IUCN is working together with the Vice President’s Office – Division of Environment (VPO-DoE) and the National Land Use Planning Commission in Tanzania, and the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environment Protection, in cooperation with the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Physical Planning and Housing in Zambia to integrate climate change and biodiversity concerns into legal and institutional land use planning processes across the region.

The project aims to revise and strengthen legal frameworks and institutional arrangements, and to provide guidance and recommendations on mainstreaming climate change and biodiversity aspects into planning.

The southern parts of the Greater Mahale Ecosystem in Tanzania (Mpanda and Nkasi districts) and the Mpulugu and Nsama Districts in Zambia were selected for the project due to their importance for biodiversity conservation, need for support and capacity for effective planning, and the strong willingness for partnership and collaboration by the government and other stakeholders.

Capacity development to incorporate climate change and biodiversity into planning processes
is the most urgent priority

Planning and capacity building

Recognising that the needs for strengthened planning in the districts are immense and that the project could only respond to a small sub-set of these needs, the project focuses on key planners and the areas where the project can make the greatest difference to supporting integrated planning processes, paying attention to water supply and wildlife migration routes, for example.

I am very optimistic about the capacity development programme because it will help us to protect the Katuma River, the lifeline of Katavi National Park.

Josephine Rupia, member of the District Participatory Land Use Management Team, Tanzania

The project also develops collaboration between government partners and key NGOs, and builds their capacity in boundary gazetting, resolving land use conflicts, and improving local community participation in planning and management activities.

Including conservation activities in local planning can help prevent socio-environmental conflicts, conserve biodiversity, and combat climate change.

The Integrated planning for biodiversity and resilience to climate change project is also being implemented in Colombiaand in Viet Nam, so that lessons learned around the world can be further developed.

Visit the IUCN project page: Integrated Planning to Implement the CBD Strategic Plan and Increase Ecosystem Resilience to Climate Change.

This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.

Maps: IUCN and UN Environment WCMC, Protected Planet
Photos: Ian Games