(eTN) – The 14th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment will take place in Arusha between September 10-14 and will, according to information at hand, be officially opened by Tanzania President Kikwete.
It is expected that a range of topics discussed at the Rio+20 Conference a few weeks ago will also feature on the agenda of the continent’s environment conference for ministers and their delegations, trying to form a common position on the way forward for the African continent.
Meanwhile it is also expected that environmental and conservation lobbyists will use the presence of the ministers to highlight the challenges they have in host country Tanzania, where, according to regular sources, the environment is under assault like never before. A series of white elephant and ill-considered projects have left dark spots on Tanzania’s previously immaculate image as a conservation nation but no more.
‘Last week, we heard about poaching reaching alarming proportions. The issue of the Serengeti highway is still unresolved. So is the routing for the proposed railway to Musoma. The Lake Natron soda ash plant continues to be mentioned by government officials, and yet it would spoil the breeding ground of the flamingos. The Selous has two issues, the uranium mining for which the 200 square kilometers are being removed from the reserve, but it will still impact the environment around and into the reserve. The power project at Stiegler’s Gorge will completely alter the entire fabric of the core tourism … because of the extensive flooding. And then there is the Coelacanth marine national park near Tanga where they intend to build a deep-sea port.
“There are lots of other issues, too, we are concerned about, but these are the most crucial ones right now, besides the illegal logging, which decimates our forests. We shall try to alert the ministers and the delegations of our struggles and challenges here so that they not only hear from officials’ speeches that all is well in Tanzania. It is not – our environment is under big threat,” contributed a regular source from Arusha when asked what to make out of Tanzania hosting the continental environment meeting.