Lord Mayor of Dar es Salaam, Isaya Mwita, spells out his climate change priorities

By: Lord Mayor Isaya Mwita Charles

Dar es Salaam is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities and is the main engine of economic development for my country of Tanzania. However, the impacts of climate change are already evident in our city. We experience frequent flooding and in 2012, a major flood led to loss of life. I must, therefore, make sure that our city’s economic activities and increasing population are safeguarded from the adverse impacts of climate change, while also decreasing our ecological footprint.

I find it very useful to connect with other cities across the world and exchange ideas on how best to deal with climate change related issues that affect cities across the world. The C40 network is a good platform to facilitate that inter-city collaboration and learning.

 I will, therefore, work with C40 to ensure that we are well connected with other cities that are dealing with climate change issues similar to ours. Through C40’s inter-city connectivity, I would like to ensure that we have the requisite capacity – both financial and human – to understand climate change issues, and implement adaptation and mitigation activities focused on making Dar es Salaam a sustainable, resilient and livable city.

As Mayor, I would like to focus on improving our city’s urban transportation system to help decongest the city and reduce both negative economic and social impacts originating from traffic jams. The newly launched Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and city train are already helping improvetraffic congestion.  Since we are new to the game, I hope to learn from other C40 cities on how they operate their BRT systems. I also plan on looking into the possibility of establishing parking spaces in the outskirts of the city.

In order to keep our city clean and livable, I would like to improve primary and secondary waste collection, diversion and transportation; and construction of transfer stations and sanitary landfills. Working with relevant partners, our city can modernize our landfills to ensure the generation of energy from landfill gas. These changes will increase income generation from waste by improving our waste recycling and composting ability so that we are able to produce fertilizers and manure from waste.

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As a coastal city, I want to ensure that Dar es Salaam is prepared for periodic floods, sea and land pollution, coastal erosion and the salinization of the watershed. If we upgrade informal settlements, we can minimize the exposure of city residents to the adverse impacts of climate change, while also improving social well-being.

Given the social and economic problems our city’s residents face, it is important for us to adopt an integrated approach to addressing climate change in Dar es Salaam. Besides dealing with adaptation and mitigation, our climate change programmes will have other demonstrable benefits that contribute to poverty alleviation, employment creation and the improvement of the social well-being of the residents of Dar es Salaam.

Lord Mayor Isaya Mwita (left) meets with C40 Regional Director for Africa, Hastings Chikoko (Photo: Dar Mayor’s office)​

Lord Mayor Isaya Mwita Charles was elected as the Mayor of Dar es Salaam on March 22, 2016.