The United Nations has launched a three-year project to improve communities’ resilience to climate shocks in the Kigoma region – where hundreds of thousands of refugees are hosted.
The initiative, which is funded by Belgium, is jointly implemented by the Government of Tanzania, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the World Food Programme and partners under the Kigoma Joint Programme aims to reach 2.3 million people in Kasulu and Kibondo districts.,
“As a region, we recognize the impacts of climate change and the importance of adopting resilient strategies. We recall the launch of the Ten-Year Strategic Environmental Conservation Plan by the Government of Tanzania during the World Environment Day celebrations in May 2022, aimed at meeting the government’s directive of each District planting 1.5 million trees per year in addition to supporting the ambitious goal of eliminating the use of charcoal and fuelwood by 2025. The region aims to honour these strategic goals as set by the central government. We believe this project will set the required pace in that direction,” saidHon. Thobias Andengenye, Kigoma Regional Commissioner, who also officiated the event.
The project will focus on protecting, conserving, and restoring degraded ecosystems while safeguarding biodiversity and building community resilience and adaptive capacities, with some activities extending to refugees, such as tree nurseries and planting in and around the camps, supporting kitchen gardens, and small-scale mushroom production to improve household nutritional status.
Being part of the Kigoma Joint Programme, the project responds to the government’s regional priorities, and UNHCR, WFP, and partners are working closely with local authorities in its implementation.
“The project will not only greatly support refugees and their host communities’ resilience in the face of the impacts of climate change but also bolster UNHCR’s efforts in implementing environmental conservation, protection, and restoration activities in the refugee camps and the host surroundings in Kigoma,” said Mahoua Parums, UNHCR Representative.
The activities are part of UNHCR’s continuing commitment and efforts to mobilize support for environmental protection and restoration in refugee-hosting areas. It also addresses protection concerns for refugee women exposed to various risks as they venture outside the refugee camps searching for fuelwood.
“Climate change exposes vulnerable communities to the impact of natural disasters. WFP works with communities and partners to help food-insecure communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from climatic shocks. If we don’t support communities in adapting to the climate crisis, we face the risk of rising levels of hunger in the future,” said WFP Deputy Country Director Brian Bogart.
As communities in Kigoma, including refugees, continue to rely heavily on destructive means to meet their energy needs, the UN continues to support durable energy solutions, moving the energy transition forward. The UN is grateful for the support from the Government of Belgium to address environmental challenges in Kigoma and encourages other partners to join efforts to strengthen broader socio-economic in Tanzania’s refugee hosting areas.