MONDAY May 22, 2023
By Patty Magubira
The Tranquillity News Correspondent, Tanzania
Tanzania recently stuck a multi-billion-dollar carbon offset deal with GreenCop Development PTE. Limited., a Singapore-registered company. What does it mean to the country?
The deal will see the GreenCop Development PTE Ltd, pay Tanzania a $3.6 million upfront to accelerate transition to a de-carbonised economy by developing environmental assets, nature-based solutions and registering carbon removal projects using latest methodologies.
Mr Mabula Nyanda, the Conservation Commissioner of the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the government while the GreenCop CEO, Mr Jean-Jacques Coppee, signed it on behalf of the investor.
Dr Hassan Abbas, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, witnessed the ceremony on behalf of the minister for the ministry, Mr Mohamed Mchengerwa.
Dr Abbas was flanked by the Chairman of TAWA Board of Directors, Major General (rtd) Hamis Semfuko, Professor Eliakim Zahabu, the Coordinator for National Carbon Monitoring Centre, and Professor Suzana Augustino, the member of the TAWA Board of Directors.
The partnership between TAWA and GreenCop will focus on the Selous ecosystem covering Selous, Kilombero and Msanjesi game reserves.
The country’s conservation agency, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), might also enter into partnership with GreenCop to incorporate into the deal Nyerere National Park, which is key part of the ecosystem spanning Coast, Lindi, Morogoro and Ruvuma regions.
With more than 50,000-square-kilometre area, larger than Switzerland, the Selous ecosystem is home to concentrations of elephants, black rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, wild dogs and crocodiles to mention but a few species.
It is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, with a high variety of habitats, including miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps, serving as a laboratory for ecological and biological processes.
Selous ecosystem is linked to about 40,000 square kilometres of surrounding national parks, forest reserves, community managed wildlife areas and 42,000 square kilometres of Niassa Game Reserves in Mozambique.
The ecosystem is undisturbed by human impact save for poaching, land clearing and forest degradation threatening its ecological balance.
Much as the dominant deciduous miombo woodlands are vulnerable to wildfires, soils are subjected to erosion during downpours, leading seasonal rivers laden with sand to rage torrents.
Exploration and extraction of minerals, oil and gas, and large infrastructure plans are the most significant emerging threats to the ecosystem.
The overarching goal of the partnership, therefore, is to create a Selous Voluntary Carbon Project (SVCP) to generate funds from carbon offset trade in a bid to contain threats facing the World Heritage Site.
The SVCP is billed to become Africa’s highest integrity project that will not only protect nature and address climate change, but also cater for needs of communities surrounding the ecosystem.
It will support the local economy in numerous ways, including providing jobs, funding educational and health initiatives and installing renewable energy for local communities.
The SVCP will diversify the revenue stream of TAWA for the authority to enhance conservation and increase its contribution to the national coffers.
The project will position Tanzania as a leading advocate for sustainability and climate change mitigation, enhancing its global reputation as a responsible and forward-thinking nation.
How it will work
GreenCop will through the SVCP design a series of projects to, among other things, inhibit destructive (greenhouse) gases from reaching and perforating the ozone layer.
The thin part of the earth’s atmosphere insulates the earth by absorbing the scorching sun (ultraviolet rays) and preventing greenhouse gasses released to the atmosphere from approaching the layer, and in so doing thwarting global warming and impacts arising from climate change.
Some entities, which release most of the greenhouse gases, voluntarily provide financial support (carbon credits) to activities (projects) that absorb the ultraviolet rays and reduce emission of the greenhouse gases.
Emissions created before a project is established are compared with those created after the project is founded to obtain a unit of carbon credit which is equivalent to a tonne of carbon dioxide either removed from the atmosphere (sequestered) or has, as a result of the project, not been emitted.
Independent auditors are tasked to verify the amount of carbon dioxide a project successfully eschew or sequester and to register it, ready for an entity to voluntarily buy it.
The SVCP holds huge potential for generating carbon credits by conserving, restoring or improving the management of forests in the Selous ecosystem.
The sale of the carbon credits at the international voluntary market will generate the much-needed resources to finance sustainable development in the ecosystem.
GreenCop will carry out a feasibility study to ascertain the potential of the ecosystem for implementing forest carbon projects.
It will then apply its longstanding knowledge of the Selous and wildlife conservation expertise in the ecosystem to roll out various carbon projects.
The GreenCop management, which has been working with TAWA to conserve the ecosystem for about two decades now, already has appointed Posaidon Capital AG as its advisor in implementing the project.
Mr Mchengerwa assures investors that the ministry is the right vehicle for carbon trading, given its mandate of protecting nearly 307,800 square kilometres, equivalent to 32.5 per cent of the Tanzania’s land area with wildlife, forests and wetland resources.
“We must tap into the opportunity for enhancing environmental protection, economic development and community livelihood,” the minister stresses.
He calls on all institutions engaged in conservation to embrace the opportunity, provided they consult and adhere to national and international legal frameworksΩ