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Climate Change and Health in Tanzania

Euster Kibona


Africa is a minor contributor of global GHG emissions, a fact clearly indicated by its share of global carbon dioxide emissions. Variability and extremes in climate is part of life in Africa and Tanzania particularly. Over 70% of Tanzanians survive on subsistence agriculture; their livelihoods depend fully on rain, and fail when the rains fail. These extremes of droughts and floods threaten the lives and livelihoods of the poor more than other social groups. The fact that the climate is changing is no longer a subject of controversy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been mostly responsible for this through their assessment of the available scientific information. Climate change impacts are projected to be severe on a number of key sectors such as agriculture, health, and water. The impacts of climate change will be experienced globally, but will most negatively affect poor countries which have limited adaptation and coping capabilities. As one of the least developed countries (LDCs), Tanzania is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As a country it is committed to the objectives of the UNFCCC, which is to achieve the stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHGs) concentration at a level that would prevent continued dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. To show this commitment, the country has submitted a National Communication to the UNFCCC in 2003, and is now in a process of preparing a second report. Tanzania has also prepared a NAPA document, which reports on immediate and urgent needs for adaptation to climate change (United Republic of Tanzania, 2007). Since the impacts of climate change are also severe at the community-level, non governmental institutions (NGOs) in Tanzania also have an obligation to respond to the impacts of climate change.

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