UN official’s visit to Tanzania focuses on MDGs and conservation

The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today met with Tanzania’s finance minister to discuss the country’s progress towards achieving the social development and poverty alleviation targets known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Discussions between UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Mustafa Mkulo focused particularly on efforts to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS, empowering women, and enrolling more children in primary school.

They also touched on the “Delivering as One” initiative – a programme under which countries work closely with UN entities to facilitate development – which they said had made a significant contribution to Tanzania’s anti-poverty strategy.

On Sunday, Miss Clark visited Tanzania’s semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, where she had a meeting with President Amani Abeid Karume. She also visited the Jozani-Chwaka Bay Conservation Area, the single most important site for the conservation of Zanzibar’s biodiversity. UNDP supported the creation of the park and helped the Government put in place policies and legislative processes that made conservation possible.

The conservation zone consists of a protected core area of 34 square kilometres and a buffer zone of 48 square kilometres. It is a shallow open bay that supports the largest block of mangrove forest on Zanzibar and a wintering population of crab plovers, a bird species unique in making use of ground warmth to incubate its eggs.

It is also home to other unique species of birds, plants, invertebrates and mammals, including the red colobus monkey and the Ader’s Duiker antelope, as well as the Zanzibar leopard, which may have disappeared as it has not been seen for two years.

The area is a growing tourist attraction. The Jozani forest welcomes 20,000 visitors per year, more than 17 per cent of the total foreign tourists who visit Zanzibar. UNDP supported the local authorities in creating the national park, which protects the Jozani forest.

On arrival in Tanzania for the four-day visit on Saturday, Miss Clark had a meeting with Tanzania’s foreign minister Bernard Membe, during which they discussed UNDP’s support of the electoral process, including help on voter registration and civic education in the run-up to national elections in October.

On Tuesday, Miss Clark will visit the National Electoral Commission and meet recently-registered voters who will vote for the first time this year.

Miss Clark’s mission to four Africa countries has already taken her to Mali and Burkina Faso, and will also include a visit to South Africa.

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