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Complexities of Ruvuma landscape and the scenario planning process

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Participants in the scenario planning meeting for the Ruvuma landscape in a group work. PHOTOS | LUCAS LIGANGA 

By  Lucas Liganga,The Citizen Reporter

Posted  Monday, January 6   2014 at  12:22

In Summary

  • The Ruvuma landscape covers Ruvuma, Mtwara, Lindi and Morogoro regions in southern Tanzania and Niassa and            Cabo Delgado provinces in northern Mozambique
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Songea. “When we started this meeting three days ago people looked confused, frustrated and lost, but at the end of the meeting they felt informed and empowered,” said Mr Watson Nganiwa, assistant administrative secretary for economic and production sector in Ruvuma Region.

Mr Nganiwa made his observation at the end of a three-day meeting on scenario planning process for the Ruvuma landscape, a trans-frontier area of approximately 280,000 square kilometres flanking the Ruvuma River south of Tanzania and north of Mozambique, held at Heritage Cottage between December 12 and 14, last year.

The Ruvuma landscape covers Ruvuma, Mtwara, Lindi and Morogoro regions in southern Tanzania and Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces in northern Mozambique.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of the Ruvuma landscape facing several development and conservation challenges, including the exploration and discoveries of natural gas and mineral deposits, proposed major development projects such as transport infrastructure, commercial agriculture, oil and gas exploration, forest plantations and biofuel production which, if not tackled carefully, could pose serious degradation of natural resources and the environment within the landscape.

The meeting brought together senior officials from regional governments of Ruvuma and Mtwara to carry out the initial scenario planning process that focused on the Ruvuma landscape and facilitated by WWF.

The process is involving government technical staff from each region, NGOs working in the natural resources sector from northern Mozambique and Tanzania and the private sector.

Due to such complexities of the Ruvuma landscape, the scenario planning process will build an understanding of the drivers of change in the landscape in order to underpin the current complexity of processes at a larger scale, said Mr Geoffrey Mwanjela, WWF Tanzania’s Coastal East Africa Global Initiative technical programme office.

Mr Mwanjela added: “The process will link between drivers of change and their implications for conservation initiatives and development efforts in the landscape and how the landscape stakeholders can work together to use the outcomes in designing intervention strategies.”

He said the meeting was important due to the transformation that the landscape is undergoing that could either lead to ecological and social degradation seen elsewhere in Africa.

“There is a need for a more secured future through an integrated development planning process that promotes the management and sustainable use of the unique natural resources and the resilience of the socio-ecological system of the landscape,” said Mr Mwanjela.

The Ruvuma regional administrative secretary, Mr Hassan Bendeyeko, said the scenario planning process will help identify future pathways of integrated development and mechanisms that will contribute to government planning processes for coping with uncertainty, identifying research needs, interventions and monitoring requirements.

The Mtwara acting regional administrative secretary, Mr Smythies Pangisa, said the scenario planning process was very important because the landscape was experiencing massive investment interests from many developed countries.

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