Connect with Nature - Be Cool, Clean and GreenJun 4, 2017
This year, the commemoration of the World Environment Day (WED) which is the United Nation's principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment was fun and colorful in Tanzania.
The event, which is observed globally on the 5th of June, brought together environment stakeholders and provided space to connect, educate and to inspire action for change. People from all walks of life and all age ranges participated, including the youth, university students, the public and key government leaders led by the Vice-President’s Office (VPO).
The commemorations kicked off on the 1st of June with #TukutaneButiama campaign. The Vice-President H.E Ms. Samia Suluhu, launched the WED commemorations with a call for environment practitioners, partners, stakeholders and the public to meet in Butiama, the town where the founding Father and first President of the United Republic of Tanzania Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born. The national commemorations were moved to Butiama to honour his role and efforts on environmental conservation. “Tukutane Butiama” is a Swahili word which means “Let’s meet in Butiama”. The event activities included exhibitions, tree planting, focused panel discussions and dialogue on several key issues concerning natural resource management and environment conservation. The discussion forum included politicians, government officials, and academicians, environment practitioners, private sector and the public. More than 500 people participated in the discussion forums and thousands on the open-air event.
Concurrently, on the third and fourth of June, the festival dubbed “Connect with Nature – Be Cool, Clean and Green” was held at the Kijitonyama/Postal grounds in Dar es Salaam. This event was co-organized by non-state actors including Femina Hip (the multimedia education initiative targeting youth), Nipe Fagio, Jielimishe Kwanza (Public advocacy organization, focused on increasing awareness, and promoting environmental sustainability in Tanzania) and the UN in partnership with the embassies of Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. The two-day festival used fun and interactive ways for environmental awareness campaigns such as music, dance, drama performance, exhibitions and education activities as well as quizzes with prizes.
On the 5th of June, the national commemorations concluded with a public meeting and later high level structured dialogues in Butiama. In Dar es Salaam, there was a beach cleaning campaign at the Barack Obama Drive that was co-organized and facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation and the United Nations.
Key issues that recurred and were emphasized in the organized panel discussions and dialogues during the five day commemoration activities include the following; a) the importance of education in addressing environmental challenges and specifically integrating environmental education in the formal learning systems all the way to university; b) the need for more inter-sectoral coordination; c) the need to scale up what has worked right in terms of plans and programs implemented in the past and d) the need for environmental law enforcement and implementation of the policies and strategies.
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World Environment Day
World Environment Day (WED) occurs on 5 June every year, and is the United Nation's principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1973, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes.