REDD+ projects 8
Other readiness initiatives 12
Forest cover Low
Deforestation rate High


REDD in Tanzania

About 35,257,000 ha (39.9%) of Tanzania is forested (URT, 2012a) and most of the forest area is occupied by woodland (90%) (ibid). Other forest types include montane, mangrove and acacia forests and coastal woodlands. About 18 million hectares of this total forest area have been gazetted as forest reserves and 4.1 million hectares of this are managed under Participatory Forest Management (PFM) (URT, 2012a). Over 17, 3 million hectares, a third of total forested land, are on village and general land with no properly defined management regime; and this is where deforestation and degradation is the most severe (URT, 2012a).

Deforestation rates in Tanzania are quite high; between 1990 and 2005 an estimated 412,000 ha per annum were cleared, equivalent to about 1.1% of the total forest area (Blomley and Iddi, 2009). The main direct causes of deforestation are clearing for agriculture, overgrazing, wildfires, charcoal making, persistent reliance on wood fuel for energy, over-exploitation of wood resources and lack of land use planning (ibid and Blomley et. al., 2008). Reliance on wood fuel and charcoal for energy supply have been identified as a key driver behind national rates of deforestation and degradation, and it presents a real challenge, as almost all domestic (rural and urban) energy consumption are derived from these sources (Miles et. al., 2009).

The economic value of forest goods and services to the Tanzanian economy are estimated to be around USD 2.2 million, or 20.1% of the GDP based on 2006 prices (MNRT, 2008). However, trade in non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and timber is to a large extent informal and therefore it is difficult to estimate its real value (Milledge et. al., 2007); the contribution of the forest sector to the national economy has been identified as an information gap for the National REDD+ Strategy (URT, 2012a).

Tanzania has a number of plans, policies and laws that support REDD+ activities. Most of these were created during the 1990s and early 2000s to reflect a move from state lead to decentralised and participatory forms of forest management. For example the 2004 Environmental Management Act empowers the Minister of Environment to take action on climate change at the national level, and gives authority to Environmental Management Committees and Environmental Management Officers at the district and village level to manage natural resources and ensure compliance (Richards et. al., 2009). Other significant laws and policies include the National Forest Policy (1998) and the Forest Act (2002), which provide the incentives and legal framework for Participatory Forest Management (PFM). Since the start of REDD+ planning in 2009, no new laws and policies have been created, but a National REDD+ Strategy and Action Plan are under development.

In 2009, Tanzania embarked on the road towards REDD by formulating a national framework to guide the development of a REDD+ Strategy (URT, 2012b). Tanzania is supported by the UN-REDD programme (USD 4.3 million) and the Royal Norwegian Government (USD 80 million) to prepare for REDD+ implementation (Milledge, 2009). The UN-REDD Programme is a collaborative partnership between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and seeks to assist Tanzania to prepare and implement a national REDD+ strategy. Activities so far include the development of 9 pilot projects; capacity building and technical support for developing a national Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system; and the piloting of a national Trust Fund (URT, 2012b). Tanzania is also part of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), but does not currently receive any funding from it because the readiness phase is already funded by other programmes (the Royal Norwegian Government and UN-REDD) (URT, 2012b). FCPF membership is a way for Tanzania of keeping up-to-date with international REDD+ policy and to learn from other partnership members (ibid).

For the FCPF, Tanzania is at the stage of having submitted a Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN) in 2009, followed by a REDD Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) in 2010 (URT, 2010a). In order to get ready for REDD, Tanzania has developed a second draft of its National REDD+ Strategy in June 2012, and a draft Action Plan in July 2012 (UN-REDD n.d). Both are currently under review (November 2012). The initial period 2009-2011 for UN-REDD support has been extended twice: once until June 2012 and then for an additional year until 2013 (URT, 2012b). In addition, with support from the Government of Finland and of the FAO, Tanzania has undertaken a comprehensive country-wide forest inventory through the National Forest Resource Monitoring and Assessment programme (NAFORMA). NAFORMA has collected significant social and biophysical data at the district level, and this data is providing crucial inputs into both the National REDD+ Strategy and the national MRV processes.

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Institutional arrangements

At the national level, REDD+ is managed and coordinated from the Division of the Environment of the Vice President’s Office (VPO), which is where the National Climate Change Steering committee (NCCSC) and the National Climate Change Technical Committee (NCCTC) sit to oversee and guide the implementation of climate change activities in the country (URT, 2012b). The National REDD+ Task Force was established through the VPO and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) to lead the process of developing a National REDD+ Strategy, and to coordinate all activities related to REDD+ in Tanzania during its readiness phase (URT, 2012b). However, this is an interim arrangement until the Task Force is replaced by more permanent structures such as the NCCSC and NCCTC. As of February 2012, the Task Force comprises 13 representatives from government ministries, and one civil society representative (TNRF, 2012). The Task Force is supported by the Institute of Resource Assessment of the University of Dar Es Salaam, which hosts the REDD+ Secretariat. It is also supported by 5 Technical Working Groups (TWGs) that were established in 2012 to assist the Task Force in gathering data and information for the development of the National REDD+ Strategy and of the Draft Action Plan (TNRF, 2012). The TWGs work at both the national and sub-national level and channel information from stakeholders active in REDD+ planning at the local level. Furthermore, there are plans to establish a REDD+ Trust Fund and a National Carbon Monitoring Centre (NCMC) (URT, 2012a). The role of the REDD+ Trust Fund will be to consolidate and distribute REDD+ funds to different stakeholders at the national and sub-national level. The NCMC will consolidate all national data concerning REDD+ gathered from MRV activities and the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS). At the sub-national level, REDD+ management and coordination will adhere to existing governance structures. Here the Regional Administrative Secretariat serves as a link between Ministries and the Task Force and District Councils. At the district and municipal level, Environmental Committees and Natural Resource Offices, established under the 2004 Environmental Management Act, will coordinate activities (URT, 2012a).

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Stakeholder engagement and participation

The National REDD+ Task Force coordinates stakeholder engagement at the national level in Tanzania. This is supported by a plan for stakeholder consultation and participation, which was designed to be used during the R-PP formulation phase (January 2010-June 2011) and the readiness phase (July 2011-December 2012), to guide the development of the National REDD+ Strategy ahead of implementation (URT, 2012b). Consultations with relevant ministries and non-governmental stakeholders began in 2009, however, although the R-PP and first draft of the Strategy emphasise the importance of involving local stakeholders, civil society has criticised the REDD+ Strategy for not being participatory enough (TZ-REDD, 2011). This issue was somewhat addressed with the development of the second draft of the Strategy which included one civil society member on the Task Force and established Technical Working Groups (TWGs), including representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society and the private sector. During the preparations for the R-PP and draft National REDD+ Strategy, members from the Task Force, the REDD+ Secretariat, and two facilitators conducted consultations and REDD+ awareness meetings in all 7 agro ecological zones, including Zanzibar (URT, 2012a). In each zone, approximately 50 participants from district and regional level government offices, NGOs, and local communities took part in the discussions. These included project developers and implementation partners of the various pilot projects in the zone-areas (ibid). Based on these consultations and comments from the first draft, a second draft Strategy was submitted for public review and comments in June 2012. Consultation meetings in the agro ecological zones were held, to share the second draft and to finalise a REDD+ Action Plan together with the Task Force and TWGs (June-July 2012) (URT, 2012b). Having commented on this version, a special forum of stakeholders made up of members from the Task Force, TWGs, and representatives of civil society and national REDD+ pilot projects, convened on the 24th and 25th of October 2012 to discuss and validate the Strategy (URT n.d). Another form of stakeholder engagement is the inclusion of non-governmental stakeholders in the MRV process. The second draft of the National REDD+ Strategy stipulates that the national system for MRV will be participatory, and that it will be implemented at both national and sub-national levels, involving both state and non-state actors such as civil society, NGOs and local communities. Activities are already underway in some of the pilot sites to gather information and test methodologies for the MRV system.

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Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights

A key REDD+ intervention in Tanzania is to review and develop a viable national land tenure system to ensure land rights are secured for REDD+ Implementation. The National Land Act and Village Land Act (both of 1999) provide the legal framework for the three categories of land in Tanzania: general land, reserved land and village land (URT, 2012). Reserved Land denotes all land set aside for special purposes, including forest reserves; general land is public or “open access” land; and village land constitutes all land in the village. The Commissioner for Land holds the authority to demarcate and register village land, though, according to the Village Land Act, right to tenure can also be determined through more informal channels. It states that village land can be recognized as such as long as land boundaries have been agreed upon between the village claiming the land and the contiguous villages (URT, 1999). Furthermore, the National Land Policy (1995) stipulates that the granted Right of Occupancy, which is the main form of tenure, can either be acquired through a grant by the Commissioner for Land or through customary law (i.e. the customary Right of Occupancy which also includes the derivative Right of Occupancy whereby land can be granted to individuals and groups for use). For the allocation of land to foreign investors, the 1997 Tanzania Investment Act provides that investor applications must go through the Tanzania Investment Centre (URT, 2009). General land includes land that is unoccupied or unused. The reality, however, is that a large part of general land is actually village land, only the process of registering and demarcating village land boundaries is yet to be completed. The current classification of general land has been highlighted as a problem (see URT 2012a and TFCG 2011), as it does not adequately reflect actual land-use or occupancy and therefore presents a risk for securing rights over land. The Ministry of Lands and Settlement Development have conducted extensive surveys to map villages across the country, and based on this they classify 2% of land as general land, 28% as reserved land, and 70% as village land (MJUMITA and TFCG, 2011). Although this issue is recognized in the second draft of the National REDD+ Strategy, it still defines 57% of land as general land and provides no detailed explanation of how this is being dealt with. It only mentions that efforts are being taken to provide property rights to communities and private sector actors so that forests on general lands can be protected and managed (URT, 2012a p. 22). In sum, although a clear legal framework exists for securing land tenure rights, conflicting legal interpretations of land-use and occupancy creates an insecure environment for all village lands that are yet to complete registration and demarcation.

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Forest management

Tanzania has a number of laws and policies for the protection and management of natural resources. Existing legal frameworks and incentive mechanisms set up for Participatory Forest Management (PFM) are likely to form the basis for any future REDD+ policy and legislation. The Environmental Management Act (EMA, 2004) provides the legal basis for decentralised forest management in Tanzania. Section 36(1) of the EMA specifies that each city, municipality, district, and town council must appoint an Environmental Management Committee and an Environmental Management Officer responsible for the enforcement of the EMA in his/her area of responsibility (LEAD, 2007). The Act also allows for the establishment of township, ward, village development committees and officers to manage the natural resources of their areas and to ensure compliance (URT, 2009). This applies to the district councils and village governments who facilitate the implementation of PFM, and have the executive and legislative powers to oversee governance procedures and ensure compliance (URT, 2002). The National Forest Policy (1998) and the Forest Act (2002) provide the policy and legal frameworks for PFM in Tanzania, and the two forms of forest management that involve local communities. These are Joint Forest Management (JFM), where the state (central government or local government) maintains ownership of the land and communities share management responsibilities with the district, and Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFR), commonly referred to as Community Based Forest Management (CBFM), where communities have full ownership and management responsibilities for the reserve (MNRT, 2008b). For the former, revenue from forest proceeds are shared between the village (40%) and the district (60%); for the latter, the village has the right to 100% of the proceeds, but needs to pay 10-15% to the district for services provided by district officers (Blomley and Iddi, 2009). In addition to these incentives, other incentives such as waving of state royalties from forest produce and exemption from local government taxes on transport also apply (URT, 2002). REDD+ is thought to bring additional incentives to PFM in the form of accessing income opportunities from REDD+ related payments. The Forest Act (2002) outlines a set of conditional requirements for PFM to be operational, and to ensure compliance. For example, a Forest Management Plan (FMP) must be prepared and approved, and village by-laws must be drawn up to establish a set of rules and sanctions in case of misuse or mismanagement. The village by-laws are provided to ensure compliance at the village level, whilst the FMP ensures compliance at a higher governance level. In the event that villages fail to comply with the FMP, the District Commissioner and Director of Forestry (Forest and Beekeeping Division) have the right to withdraw the rights of communities to manage the forest (Blomley and Iddi, 2009).

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Reference levels

In Tanzania the task of establishing a national reference scenario is the responsibility of the Tanzania Forest Service (TFS)], the National Forest Resource Assessment and Monitoring programme (NAFORMA) and the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS-T), which is supported through the UN-REDD programme and the government of Finland. These operate at the national level and form the collection point for all data gathered at the national and sub-national levels. The NAFORMA programme was set up in 2009 to map the current and historical extent of forest cover in Tanzania, as the state and trends of forestry resources at the time were largely unknown (MNRT n.d). However, as national REDD+ planning has evolved, NAFORMA has been tasked not only with gathering biophysical data on forest cover and carbon stocks (forest and soil), but also to collect information on socio-economic conditions at the sub-national level. The aim is to develop a national baseline and reference scenario for both biophysical and socio-economic components. In order to develop a baseline for the biophysical component, NAFORMA uses the FAO Forest Resource Assessment and Remote Sensing Survey (FRA-RSS) approach to assess historical rates of deforestation and forest cover over three 10-year periods from 1980 to 2010 (URT, 2012b). This is added and compared to data from permanent sampling plots across the country (ibid and MNRT, n.d). Tanzania is a national demonstration country for remote sensing (with LiDAR) and this is also used to collect data on forest cover (TZ-REDD, 2011). In order to gather information for the socio-economic component, NAFORMA uses household surveys and interviews to increase knowledge about human factors affecting national forest conditions (URT, 2012b). All biophysical data is summarised in the NCAS-T, which uses the data to develop a national baseline and emission scenarios as a result of land-use changes. There is no further information on whether socio-economic reference scenarios will be included in the same system.

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Tanzania is currently developing a national MRV system that is participatory in its approach and based on a mixture of data collection methods. The national monitoring system includes data gathered from satellite, remote sensing (LiDAR), climate records, deforestation rate constants, ground measurements, and information on land management and management practices (URT, 2012a). Data will be modelled and transferred into a GIS system, which will enable reporting of all aspects of monitoring and verification of achieved emission reductions (ibid). The development of the MRV system will be carried out within the framework of the National REDD+ Strategy and R-PP initiatives. It will be coordinated by the MRV Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Task Force, which has been set up to coordinate efforts between key actors, especially from the National Forest Resource Monitoring and Assessment programme(NAFORMA), UN-REDD,the National Carbon Monitoring Centre (NCMC), the Tanzania National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS-T) and pilot level demonstration projects (URT, 2012a & b). The MRV system will also monitor rural livelihoods, conservation of biodiversity, key governance factors related to REDD+ implementation and assess the impacts of the REDD+ Strategy in the forest sector (R-PP, 2010, p3 and URT, 2012b).

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There are a number of safeguard options currently being discussed for Tanzania. Whilst being part of both the UN-REDD and the FCPF programmes, and therefore also considering the safeguard options from both of them, Tanzania is also a pilot country under the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards (SES) initiative, developed by CARE international and the Climate Change and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) (REDD+ SES n.d). Tanzania has participated fully in the development of the standards and the governance of the REDD+ SES Initiative, but the country has not yet included them in its draft National REDD+ Strategy or started using them. Thus no specific standards or methodologies for applying safeguards are currently being used for REDD+ activities. However, at the project level some of the pilot projects are actively using the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as well as seeking joint VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) and CCB (Climate Community and Biodiversity) standard certification, which addresses the issue of co-benefits (see TFCG and MJUMITA projects). The second draft of the National REDD+ Strategy gives no indication of which set of guidelines or standards will be used for the development of safeguards, but states that existing legal frameworks, such as the Environmental Policy (1997) and the Environmental Management Act (EMA, 2004) will be used as benchmarks for integrating Strategic Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (SESA) into policy and decision making processes for REDD+ and related sectors. Both the Environmental Policy and the EMA provide detailed regulations for the conduct of environmental impact assessments and audits and state that any new strategy, policy and development programme that is likely to have a significant impact on ecological and socio-economic systems, should be subject to a SESA (URT, 2012a). The National REDD+ Strategy aims to further strengthen the Environmental Policy and the EMA, by developing a monitoring system that can ensure that any unforeseen negative impacts are detected and addressed both in relation to REDD+ and other land-use activities (URT, 2012a). The aim of the impact assessment and monitoring framework is to come up with a detailed Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP), which will provide direction and guidance on strategies and processes to be adopted during the REDD+ process (ibid).

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Gender Equality

In 2000, Tanzania adopted a policy on women and gender development which emphasises the need to mainstream gender equity in policies, plans, development strategies, and actions in all sectors and all levels in the development process. One example of this is Tanzania’s 2010 national strategy for growth and poverty reduction, which includes goals and targets focused on women’s empowerment and rights.

The second draft of Tanzania’s National REDD+ Strategy adopted in June 2012 includes a number of references to gender. For instance, it states that the Strategic Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (SESA) will give special consideration to a range of issues including gender needs. The Strategy refers to the Climate Change, Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation programme (CCIAM) which has carried out training to build capacity of relevant actors in preparation for REDD+. The programme aims to address the socio-economic and gender aspects related to climate change (Section 3.7). In the drafting process, the REDD+ Task Force and Standards Technical Working Group were both advised by gender experts (Queseda-Aguilar et al., 2013).

References to gender also exist in other plans, policies and laws in Tanzania which may be important to take into account for REDD+ development and implementation. For example, the National Environment Action Plan (NEAP) 2012-2017 acknowledges the impact of the Women and Gender Development Policy of 2000 on environmental management at large (Section 2.1). Gender equality in the context of the Gender Development Policy emphasizes the need for gender mainstreaming to speed up sustainable development, especially in terms of environmental protection and conservation (Section 2.1 xxii). The National Energy Policy of 2003 aims to establish a reliable and efficient energy production, procurement, transportation, distribution and end-use system in an environmentally sounds manner and with due regard to gender and outlines the importance of improvements needed in inferior energy practices to reduce women’s workload (e.g. the search, collection and use of fuel wood) and involve them in decision-making processes on energy issues (Section 2 paragraph (g)).

The 2002 Forest Act contains very little reference to gender equality. It only specifies that “[w]here a village land forest management community is established it shall […] (b) be informed with due regard to gender balance” (Section 33 (2)).

In terms of gender related initiatives, Tanzania’s HIMA project focuses on gender mainstreaming as a main objective. A training workshop was undertaken in April 2011 on Gender and REDD+, organised by CARE and HIMA. The workshop highlighted that most pilot projects concentrate on the number of women participating in them and the influence in household decisions. However, it was pointed out that gender equity is more complex than this. Tools are needed to better understand gender equity and to integrate it into MRV.

Finally, the MJUMITA/TFCG project ‘Making REDD work for communities and forest conservation in Tanzania’ launched in 2009 has been incorporating gender considerations in several project aspects including carrying out consultations and awareness-raising in line with the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) at the village and sub-village levels. For example, during consultations in 128 sub-villages and 29 villages, women were asked about their use of forested lands and to express any concern about restrictions that REDD+ might entail. Discussions were also held with husbands to identify what they think women contribute to REDD+ (Campese, 2011).


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Bariki Kaale
Tanzania Specialist Organization on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation (TASONABI)
Charles Meshack
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group
Erneus Kaijage
Independent reviewer