CSE and NEMC release environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines for Tanzania’s building construction sector

  • Guidelines prepared jointly by India-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) of Tanzania 
  • Hon. Dr. Selemani Saidi Jafo (MP), Minister of State, Vice President’s Office (Union Matters and Environment) and Nivit Kumar Yadav, Director, Industrial Pollution Programme, CSE unveil the guidelines at an event in Dodoma  
  • EIA guidelines critical for the sector, as Tanzania is reportedly the third fastest urbanising country in Africa and the ninth fastest in the world; it is also the second largest market for construction in East Africa 

You can access the guidelines document click here 

Dodoma, October 18, 2023: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a global think tank based in New Delhi, India,in association with the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) of Tanzania, released a set of guidelineshere today for environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the building construction sector. The guidelines were released jointly by Hon. Dr. Selemani Saidi Jafo (MP), Minister of State, Vice President’s Office (Union Matters and Environment) and Nivit Kumar Yadav, Director, Industrial Pollution Programme, CSE.  

Speaking at the event, Nivit Yadav said: “Tanzania is the second largest market for construction in Eastern Africa, after Ethiopia. As per a World Bank report, Tanzania is considered to be the third fastest urbanising country in Africa, and 9th fastest urbanising country in the world. About 65 million inhabitants are expected to be living in cities by 2050 in Tanzania. This population growth goes along with increased number of building construction projects, and this is bound to impact the nation’s environment. In such a scenario, it is critical to put in place a system of credible, high-quality environmental impact assessment in the sector.” 

Tanzania’s Environmental Management Act (EMA) of 2004 determines the modalities of EIA for proper management and conservation of environment and natural resources. The Act requires certain types of developmentprojects to be subjected to EIA. This is in line with the Government of Tanzania’s commitment and Tanzania’s Constitution, which establishes a clear link between a healthy environment and the well-being of citizens. 

Says Yadav: “Effective implementation of the Act and the government’s various environmental programmesrequires development and implementation of supporting tools such as regulations, guidelines, terms of reference and manuals. The EIA guidelines, thus, is a step in the right direction, and is among the many milestones that have been achieved through collaboration and partnership between NEMC and CSE.” 

Officially releasing the guidelines, Dr. Selemani Saidi Jafo said: “Building construction projects play an important role in Tanzania’s economic development. These sector-specific guidelines have been prepared in recognition of this role. The guidelines have been made at the right time, when the building construction sector is growing at a rapid pace. They will ensure that the development in the sector continues to take place, but in an environmentally sustainable manner, and linked to cross-generational equity.” 

Dr. Jafo added: “Our Environmental Management Act, 2004 has given mandates to different entities on fulfilling EIA requirements. The Act calls for development of sectoral guidelines that have to be specific, based on the nature of the project. These guidelines that we have released today are aimed at assisting government authorities, EIA practitioners, departments responsible for decision making and other stakeholders to design, conduct and implement EIA. They will further deepen and build common understanding of environmental issues associated with the sector and facilitate greater stakeholder cooperation.” 

Addressing the gathering, Eng. Dr. Samuel Gwamaka Mafwenga, Director General, NEMC said: “Every year, NEMC registers about 2,000 projects for EIA and environmental audit studies. These guidelines would be useful in expediting the review process while ensuring that the conducted studies have the needed quality for making informed decisions in the approval and implementation of projects.” 

He pointed out that in response to the increasing number of building construction projects in the country, NEMC has striven to establish various measures to enhance its effectiveness on attending to matters related to EIA and environmental audit studies. These measures include improving ICT systems by creating a mechanism to register projects online; development of regulations, guidelines, manuals and ToR in support of studies; and reviews of EIA and environmental audit studies. This Council also undertakes capacity building programmes for its own staff as well as for regulators from other agencies. 

According to CSE experts present at the event, the EIA reports that are currently being generated in Tanzania contain large amounts of information, but this information is “unstructured and haphazardly formatted”. The new guidelines are expected to help the sector prepare EIA reports in a systematic and harmonisedformat, which would make it easy for regulators to review them and ensure negative impacts from the sector are minimised. 

How the guidelines will help the NEMC and EIA practitioners: Key highlights

The guidelines will:

  • Assist regulatory authorities and EIA practitioners to understandthe main areas of concern and employ the guidelines to enhance the quality of the EIA study and report
  • Inform regulatory authorities and EIA practitioners about the best environmental management practices related to the building and construction sector
  • Inform regulatory authorities, EIA practitioners and other stakeholders about the Acts and Regulations applicable to the sector
  • Assist the authorities to assess EIA reports in an efficient manner and arrive at a sound judgment
  • Allow decision makers to make informed decisions on approval to proposed projects 

Concluding his opening address at the event, Dr. Selemani Saidi Jafo thanked all the stakeholders involved in the finalisation of the guidelines document. He said: “I would like to recognise the effort of the team from CSE, which has taken the lead in preparing these guidelines. In the same spirit, I also applaud the staff of NEMC and other institutions, led by NEMC’s Director General, Eng. Dr. Samuel G. Mafwenga, for the tireless efforts in ensuring that these guidelines are completed.” 

To know more about the guidelines and the collaboration between mNEMC and CSE, please contact: Nivit Kumar Yadav, nivit@cseindia.org, +91 11 99680 23535.