THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND TOURISM

PRESS RELEASE Government clarifies on decision to provide huge tracks of land to Loliondo residents Thirty nine (39) years ago in 1974, the Government of Tanzania, through its Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and through Government Notice No. 269 and in line with its now world-renowned and acclaimed Conservation Policy and in accordance with the historical Policy position that all Land is a National Resource, declared through Government Gazette that 4,000 square kilometers in the Loliondo Area in Arusha Region would be reclassified as Loliondo Game Controlled Area for purely wildlife protection. Effectively, this made Loliondo Game Controlled Area part of the Tanzania’s Protected Area (PA) Network which covers 24 percent of the country’s total land surface. This is one of the highest commitments to wildlife protection anywhere in the world and as mentioned above was made consciously for protection of wildlife and for the benefit of all human kind. Tanzania’s Protected Area Network includes all the 15 National Parks (NP) and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), both of which are set aside specifically for nonconsumptive use of wildlife resources, 28 Game Reserves (GRs) and 44 Game Controlled Areas (GCAs) of which Loliondo GCA is one of them. Game Reserves and Game Controlled Areas are for consumptive utilization of wildlife such as sport hunting. However, Section 17 of the Wildlife Conservation Act No. 5 of 2009 restricts human activities such as settlements and livestock grazing in these areas. However, as population has increased and pressures on land have grown greater in recent years in the surrounding areas, the Government has felt it necessary and recognized its primary responsibility of providing land for people in this area, most of whom are landless and whose lives are therefore highly vulnerable. It was in recognition of this situation and in meeting its primary responsibilities that the Government of Tanzania recently made a decision to de-gazette 2,500 square kilometers of land, out of the gazetted 4,000 square kilometers, to allow local inhabitants of Loliondo area to freely utilize that land for their own community development. It was also decided that the remaining 1,500 square kilometers of land be retained as Game Controlled Area for continued protection of the wildlife and the environment for the benefit of the present and future generations of humankind. The Government took this decision with the understanding that environment conservation is as important for eco-system protection as it is for community livelihood and community development. On 26th of March, this year, therefore, Hon. Khamis Sued Kagasheki, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, using powers invested into him under Wildlife Conservation Act No. 5 of 2009, Section 16 (4) announced this Government position partly also as effort by Government to resolve a land use conflict that has existed in Loliondo Game Controlled Area for the past 20 years.

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In his announcement, the Minister made it clear that the Government took that decision to provide land to the growing landless population in the area. In announcing the Government decision, Minister Kagasheki emphasized powers given to him by law to review Game Controlled Areas for the purpose of ascertaining continuation of control of such areas bearing in mind that the1,500 square kilometres retained by Government are significantly important to the entire Serengeti and Ngorongoro ecosystem. Among other reasons, these 1,500 square kilometers are a crucial breeding area for wildlife, a corridor for iconic great migration of wildlife in particular for millions of wildebeest and a critical water catchment area. It is therefore a gross and indeed a malicious misrepresentation of facts for a section of people both in and outside of Loliondo Game Controlled Area to claim that the Government of Tanzania was grabbing land from the Loliondo local communities. Who is grabbing land from whom? First, these people have been living in the area illegally for many years because this land was never allocated to them under any Government arrangement. However, for very compassionate reasons the Government has allowed them to continue living there for all these years. Second, this land has always remained Government land throughout all those years. The conceivable logic here is that the Government of Tanzania has made unique history of land-grabbing from itself to provide for its citizens in this case. This is a very laudable action and not something for which the Government of Tanzania should take all the bashing which has gone viral on social networks. What the Government of Tanzania has now done is in fact to provide 62.7 percent of this land of the Loliondo Game Controlled Area to local communities for present and future use and out of Government realization of its responsibilities to provide for its citizens. Surely, no Government in world, can be blamed for meeting its responsibilities to such high levels. [END] Hon. Khamis Kagasheki MINISTER MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND TOURISM 7th April 2013 Email: minister@mnrt.go.tz

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