Strengthening Capacity of Environmental Civil Society Organisations

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > East Africa > Tanzania

Summary

The project aims to provide support to environmental civil society organisations (CSOs) within Tanzania, to strengthen their position in the development of sustainable fisheries, forestry and wildlife.

The 5 year strategic partnership is led by WWF Norway. The first phase is a 12 month inception, to be followed by implementation over the course of 4 years.

Background

The contribution made by the forest, fisheries and wildlife sub-sectors to the total Tanzania GDP is well below its potential. For example, it is estimated that only 5-10% of the potential revenue from the forest sector is actually collected. Mechanisms for benefit sharing are also poorly developed.

In addition, grassroots communities, civil society and the private sector have limited access to information on forest, fisheries and wildlife resources. This hinders effective stakeholder participation in decision making and overall management of natural resources.

A further problem is caused by widespread corruption in natural resources management. Inadequate capacity means CSOs cannot effectively empower communities, influence policy and practice, or hold the government accountable. There is also inadequate internal coordination between the state and non-state actors.

The project aims to enhance and strengthen the environmental CSOs’ capacity, ability and commitment to participate more actively and effectively in policy and decision making processes, especially for management of biodiversity and natural resources, with a particular emphasis on forest, fisheries and wildlife.

The project will provide information and training to civil society in political analysis, advocacy and lobbying, management of natural resources and various relevant skills (e.g. analytical and organisational skills, financial, administration and governance skills). Networks, platforms and fora for improved and critical dialogue on the concerned issues will also be strengthened through the project.

Until recently, Tanzania’s centralized decision making structure did not allow the public to influence policy. It was not until the early 1990s when the Government of Tanzania recognised the importance of involving the non-state actors in both the production and service provision sectors. This has allowed for increased stakeholder participation in public service delivery.

In building good governance into its strategies, the government has introduced Public Expenditure Tracking which allows civil society to have a major role in tracking investments in the management of environment and natural resources. This will be followed up in the project, enabling the CSOs to use this as an instrument to hold the Government accountable, both thematically and economically.

Objectives

The aim of the project is to improve the contribution of fisheries, forestry and wildlife to national economic growth, poverty reduction and people's livelihoods on a sustainable basis through more democratic, open and transparent governance.

Solution

The capacity, skills and ability of environmental civil society organisations (CSOs and CBOs) are trained and strengthened so that they more effectively participate in, and influence, decision making and governance such that management of natural resources in Tanzania, especially the fisheries, forestry and wildlife resources, is more sustainable.

Concerted and systematic follow up of the Government to Government ENR cooperation from the CSOs will be an important opportunity and way of learning for the CSOs to move from the service delivery position to that of a watchdog and critical counterpart that is necessary for sustainable and sound governance.

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