The Arusha Times

Issue 00498

December 8  - 14, 2007

issn 0856 - 9135 

In Focus

Ramadhani Kupaza

Make Arusha truly international

by Ramadhani Kupaza

Arusha gets its current brand as an International City from the fact that it is easily accessible from all parts of the world and has a number of international institutions. The City residents can make Arusha truly international if they think globally.

As regards accessibility from the rest of the world, Arusha City is only 50 km west of the Kilimanjaro International Airport. The Airport is capable of handling all types and sizes of planes. In addition, Arusha is located midway along the great north-south Africa road between Cape Town in South Africa and Cairo in Egypt.

As a center for major international activities, Arusha is the Headquarters of the East African Community (EAC) and it is the sitting of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

A number of institutions enhance the international image for Arusha. For example, there is the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI) that offers short- and long-term courses on various disciplines for executives. There is also the Centre for Health Education, Arusha (CEDHA) which is well established in Arusha. The Arusha International Conference Center (AICC) is synonymous to international conferences. Residents of Arusha can consolidate and use their extensive international experiences to make the world a better place to live.

In particular, residents of Arusha can contribute to the making or to deliberations of international agenda. A case in hand concerns the on-going United Nations (UN) Climate Conference being held in Bali, Indonesia from 3-14 December 2007.

There are various ways that residents of Arusha can use to be heard even at UN Conferences. For instance, expert opinions of NGOs in Arusha could be heard at the Bali Climate Conference through the World Conservation Union, also known as IUCN. This Union attends the Conference to represent NGOs’ interests because it has an official UN intergovernmental status. IUCN is "inside" negotiations for climate change at the Conference. The organization participates in a range of informative events at the Conference and has renowned environmental experts for serious commentary, analysis and quotes on key issues. Therefore, the logic in such case is for science-based NGOs in Arusha to become members of international NGOs such as IUCN in order to be represented at the highest international levels. This is important because particularly environmental issues are trans-boundary. IUCN has a country office in Dar-es-Salaam.

The list of Arusha NGO Network (ANGONET) member organizations reflects that many NGOs in the City could make significant contributions to the UN Climate Conference if they were members of IUCN. For example, the Community Environmental Conservation Association of Arusha could contribute to discussions on global issues concerning forests. In particular, the NGO could contribute to the debate on how to slow deforestation and environmental degradation in order to accelerate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reducing poverty.

The Multi-Environmental Society in Arusha could share experiences on grassroots communities on use of the investment and technology that is to be provided to developing countries like Tanzania. The proposed investment and technology aim to accelerate implementation of practical activities to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change before it is too late.

The Women Agricultural Development and Environmental Conservation NGO in town could contribute to the debate on women and environment issues. The NGO could contribute ideas on how to reduce impact of climate change on women. The NGO’s contribution may include sharing experiences on the role of women as agents of change in helping to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, especially in Tanzania.

On the other hand, members of the Environmental Press Foundation (EPF) of Arusha did not have to go through IUCN to make contributions at the on-going Climate Conference. The media have been invited to attend key events that include the social implications of reducing emissions that cause climate change. Reference is made in this case to reducing deforestation and land degradation.

In addition, members of EPF could attend presentations by thousands of experts on environment, economics, social and business fields about solutions concerning climate change. Almost certainly, controversial solutions such as fertilizing oceans to solve global warming will surface at the Conference. Apparently some scientists have been lobbying to dump nutrients such as iron and urea into oceans to encourage growth of vegetative materials known as phytoplanktons. The hypothesis is that such materials will absorb gases like carbon dioxide that cause global warming hence climate change. However, other scientists caution that research that has been conducted so far has not considered side effects of ocean fertilization adequately. The debate on climate change solutions continues.

NGOs of all types in Arusha can make significant contributions concerning sustainable development in the global village if they actively strive to be heard nationally as well as internationally. This is important because national solutions solve national problems more effectively. Needless to emphasize, international solutions solve international problems. It implies that the adage, "Think globally but act locally" still holds for residents and NGOs in Arusha. That sets firmly the mission to make Arusha truly international.    


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