In the last two decades, great changes have occurred in international environmental law. Many new Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) have come into existence, and have transformed how countries all over the world deal with these changes and advancements.


Tanzania Tree
Flickr / NeilsPhotography / Sunset on Acacia Tree / CC BY 2.0

In the last two decades, great changes have occurred in international environmental law. Many new Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) have come into existence, and have transformed how countries all over the world deal with these changes and advancements. Environmental experts and practitioners have identified Africa as the most vulnerable continent to environmental degradation and climate change, due to its low levels of economic development and its poor environmental regulations and enforcement. In response to these challenges, the international community has implemented various conventions and agreements, including the Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, the Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Convention on Biodiversity and its Nagoya Protocol, among others. Recognizing that these agreements will only be effective if they are properly implemented and enforced, the African Union, the United Environment Programme, and the media play important roles for awareness creation, implementation, and monitoring and advocacy about compliance and enforcement. Social Mobilization and partnerships with the media, social movements, and civil society groups are useful for building the capactiy of citizens to claim their rights and to hold environmental authorities accountable. Media can popularize environmental law and make it more accessible to decision-makers and local communities. According to the Tanzania State of the Environment and Outlook Report 2009, more than 90% of Tanzanians' economic livelihoods are dependent on the environment and natural resources, such as water, land, air, minerals, plants, and animals. These natural resources are increasingly under pressure from unsustainable use, resulting in environmental degradation as well as a decline in ecosystem goods and services.

Program Summary

This program is the result of long consultations between Conserve Africa and partners in Tanzania on the need to promote environmental justice, regulations and enforcement in the country. The purpose  is to increase capacity and awareness about environmental regulations with special reference to MEAs implementation at the national level. The lessons learned and experiences from the program are shared widely at the regional and international level through the Conserve Africa Foundation blogs and mailing lists of 5,000 subscribers. Research was carried out to identify the information needed for CSOs and journalists in order to produce a toolkit (guide) on environmental law and MEAs. Learning materials are comprised of the guide on MEAs, and a collection of important environmental laws and cases from other regions, which will be distributed as reference for the workshop and future uses. The innovation of this program is the explicit way in which links are made between sustainable development, environmental justice and law, right-holders empowerment, human rights-based approaches in Tanzania and Africa in general. About 35 participants from Parliament, the media, judiciary and civil society attended the training over 5 working days.


Because the nature of environmental regulations and enforcement problems are similar in most African countries, this program can be replicated in any African country. Program sustainability is ensured through changes of attitudes, increased confidence and skills to promote environmental justice, regulations and enforcement in Tanzania. The results of the training will be disseminated to enable other Eastern and Central Africa countries to launch similar initiatives in their respective countries to improve citizen’s access to environmental law and justice.

Expected Output and Key M&E Success Indicator(s):

  • 75% of participants have an increased understanding of why, when and how public authorities can provide right-holders with access to environmental information, access to decision making affecting the environment, and effective access to justice and remedy;
  • 75% of participants have increased ability to recognize who are duty-bearers, know and understand environment laws and standards;
  • 80% of participants report that they understand the principles and practices of environmental law, its relationship to sustainable development and poverty reduction and the role of the judiciary;
  • 80% of participants report that they are committed to take responsible actions/ informed decisions to adopt environmental justice practices and to reverse the current environmental degradation in the country;
  • 75% of participants are able to represent the right-holders’ interests using environment laws and standards enshrined in international and national legislation;
  • 75% of participants report that they able to negotiate effectively with representative bodies and to hold the authorities responsible;
  • 75% of participants report that they have increased their skills and confidence in relation to environmental law advocacy, campaigning and lobbying;
  • 75% of participants report that they have increased their confidence to question environmental decisions, policies, practices and processes that are unsustainable and against the benefit of the poor; and
  • Increased collaboration between journalists and the media in Tanzania in representing the interests of the poor and in the environmental law enforcement and compliance.

Anticipated Issues

Economic Challenges:

  • Conserve Africa (CA) does not have ready and available funding to facilitate the program
  • The agreed-to funding is lower than the submitted programme budget

Mitigation measures:

  • CA to secure funding for the program in advance
  • Review the programme planning activities in consultation with the funder
  • Local partners to provide in-kind contribution (e.g. volunteers).

Political Challenges:

  • Conserve Africa is not allowed to work in the country without any obstacles
  • Lack of political will and support for the project
  • Local partner is not allowed to receive funding

Mitigation measures:

  • This challenge is unlikely because we have worked with local partner in the past without problem
  • Organise prior meetings with the government and stakeholders to inform them about the programme
  • CA to communicate with relevant government agencies in advance to secure their support
  • CA ensures NGOs/ Governments work together effectively and specific government departments support programme activities through access to information and allowing delegates to attend

Social Challenges:

  • -Lack of public awareness and support for the program, unwillingness to travel attend the training due to lack of incentives

Mitigation measures:

  • CA to publicize program in advance to raise public awareness and interest
  • Partners have to be committed to this project, indicated by their supporting and endorsement letter
  • Conserve Africa to reimburse transport costs and to provide other incentives ( e.g. lunch and coffee break)

Environmental Challenges:

  • Civil strife, major refugee movements or serious environmental events (drought leading to food shortage, flooding), crop and livestock (pests and diseases) shocks in the country

Mitigation measures:

  • Inform the funder about the problem and delay the implementation of the project

Technical Capacity Challenges:

  • Availability of personnel or people with technical knowledge and experience to promote the program, Government is not represented by relevant personnel
  • Training rooms are not available at the starting of the training or during the training

Mitigation measures:

  • CA to consult with governments about the selection of participants suitable to training
  • CA to recruit qualified trainers and involve relevant personnel in advance and prepare them for the delivery stage
  • Use the local partner’s premises to run or continue the training.


Climate Action Network Tanzania: CA has 10 local environmental NGOs in Tanzania. The programme will be based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (capital) and will be implemented in collaboration with Climate Action Network-Tanzania, a National Network of more than 110 members CSOs working on environment and climate change in different parts of the country. 

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya

Program Details

Sub-Saharan Africa