News, 1 June 2012

Talking change: climate change adaptation in Tanzania

'Change' was the underlining theme for day one of the workshop, Implications of Climate Change for Drylands Planning in Tanzania at District and National Levels: Opportunities and Challenges. It’s about a changing climate, but it’s also about changing attitudes, approaches and planning processes.

"Society, institutions, people, economies — all need to change, to be flexible and adaptable in light of a changing climate," said Professor Pius Yanda while delivering opening remarks for the workshop.  "We need to look critically at systems and structures to identify the best approaches so that climate change does not undermine any weaknesses."

Professor Yanda was speaking at the two-day event, hosted by TNRF and IIED, that brought together more than 100 participants, including representatives from three district offices, national agencies, civil society organizations and community representatives.

The workshop, which is part of a new climate change adaptation program at TNRF, focused on critically reviewing existing formal and traditional processes of planning –how they work and how they can change—so that they may effectively address the shifting challenges presented by climate variability and change

"Climate change will expose weaknesses in our institutions and the way we are working," says Ced Hesse, principal researcher for drylands at IIED.

But, climate change shouldn’t only be seen as a threat, he explains. "There are also opportunities, but only if there is a willingness to reflect and analyze the way we work today, to effectively adapt for future."

The workshop shared findings from a study that explored the traditional and government planning processes in Monduli, Longido and Ngorongo Districts, and the challenges and opportunities that a climate variability may pose on these processes.

At the end of the workshop, participants helped to identify strategies to bridge the gaps between these two processes, and develop recommendations on ways these planning processes can be more adaptable and flexible.

It is hoped that the diverse representation at the workshop will spark dynamic discussions that will lead to pragmatic and effective recommendations for adaptive and flexible planning processes that support communities and government processes.

"Stakeholder engagement provides avenues for tapping local knowledge in developing adaptation strategies," explainedProfessor Yanda. "It also provides room for enhancing community-based coping strategies, and we should acknowledge that communities are coping with the changing climate and thus we have a lot to learn from them."


Jessie Davie

Head of Communications


Notes to editors

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development (see: