State-led Conservation in TanzaniaResearch addressing dimensions of governance, institutional adaptive capacity and long-term social and ecological sustainability of community-based and larger protected area systems
“as long as we remain resigned to a culture of conservation that treats human beings as the enemy and that turns a blind eye to violations of human rights, the approach will be self-defeating. Current declines in biodiversity are not primarily a result of gaps in the number, extent and representation of parks and other kinds of protected areas, nor is the decline of iconic species caused by insufficiently strict exclusion of poor rural people from their traditional territories…”read more
Analyzing land expropriation in the name of conservation: The case of Saadani Village and Saadani National Park in Tanzania
September 2014. by Alejandra Orozco-Quintero[i] Published by Intercontinental Cry Introduction Conservation interventions in the Saadani landscape on the coast of Tanzania have taken place since the mid-1960s, but it is only recently that state-managed conservation...read more
Uvinje, Tanzania – an indigenous community erased in the name of conservation Published in The Ecologist 3rd October 2014 Once again, the Government of Tanzania’s conservation agencies are attempting to expel people from their homes and land in the name of...read more
Case Study Report: Uvinje Village & Saadani National Park Tanzania Alejandra Orozco-Quintero May, 2014. This project has been funded by, The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)...read more
Institutional and Cartographic Analysis on gazetted boundaries of the former Saadani Game Reserve and the current Saadani National Park
Institutional and Cartographic Analysis on gazetted boundaries of the former Saadani Game Reserve and the current Saadani National Park Research Report Cartographic analysis on boundary changes made to the area comprising the former Saadani Game Reserve in the process...read more
5th ICCA Letter: Communication concerning the Uvinje land and conservation grievances at Saadani Village in Tanzania
“…This is an old coastal community, deeply concerned at the prospect of social fragmentation and the loss of its heritage. No compensation mechanism could make up for the losses that are contemplated. The community considers the threatened loss of their lands to be both unnecessary and an insult to them as law-abiding and helpful citizens…”read more
“the small and very poor Uvinje community has invested considerable time and effort, not only in saving wildlife since the 1970s, but lately also in developing an eco-lodge venture with partners, which helps to underpin their commitment for the long term. The fundamental demand of Uvinje villagers to keep their ancestral lands, of which they have been able custodians, is thus now augmented by personal efforts and economic investments.”read more
3rd ICCA Consortium Letter: Soliciitng response to letter regarding attempted eviction of Uvinje community of Saadani Village in Tanzania
“The ICCA Consortium Secretariat, as well as its global membership, are tracking the matter and eagerly awaiting a positive resolution consistent with Tanzania’s own land tenure and natural resource policies that protect village land rights, as well as with international human rights obligations, CBD decisions, IUCN Resolutions and the recent WPC ‘Promise of Sydney’.”read more
2nd ICCA Consortium Letter: Requesting urgent response to ICCA Consortium letter regarding attempted eviction of Uvinje community of Saadani Village in Tanzania
“We understand that TANAPA has not withdrawn its claims, nor yet communicated formally with Sadaani Village and its most affected sub-village, Uvinje. This is of course extremely unfortunate given that Tanzania has been heralded by many, including our global membership, as an international leader…”read more
1st ICCA Consortium Letter: Letter to express concerns regarding the threatened eviction of the Uvinje villagers from their ancestral territory adjacent to Saadani National Park
“We are writing to express concerns regarding the threatened eviction of the Uvinje villagers from their ancestrally owned coastal land adjacent to the Saadani National Park, in violation of international human rights obligations and in contradiction with CBD decisions…”read more
In the News
Chronology of Events on Conservation Grievances in Saadani TanzaniaSource: 5th ICCA CONSORTIUM Letter to Honourable Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United Republic of Tanzania
The Saadani village leaders approached the Director of Wildlife to request support to protect local wildlife that was being indiscriminately hunted by outsiders.
Following joint planning, the Saadani Game Reserve was gazetted. This included a contribution of close to 50% of the traditional community land area of the people of Saadani for the Reserve. Villagers willingly surrendered these lands as they were concerned by poaching on their lands. Matipwili Village, located southwest of Saadani, also surrendered land for the Reserve. All were assured they would lose no further land. With their cooperation, the Department installed concrete beacons to delineate the boundary between the new Saadani Game Reserve and village land as stated and described in the Gazette Notice. Only at one point, extending 2.5 km along the coast, did the Game Reserve extend to the coast. This enabled the traditional fishing and coconut palm sub-villages of Saadani (and Uvinje sub-village in particular) to sustain occupation, livelihood and with access to the sea. A period of close cooperation between the village and wildlife staff ensued. Of note, this pre-dated development of Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) and Community Land Forest Reserves (CLFR); the enthusiasm of these villagers may have been a contributing factor to development of these practical conservation routes in the 1990s by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
Without involving or consulting Saadani villagers, TANAPA redrew the boundaries of Saadani Game Reserve to include all of Uvinje and Porokanya sub-villages and portions of other lands within Saadani Village including affecting the main village centre. Initially, TANAPA requested the village to surrender only inland areas, and it is possible that an agreement was secured. TANAPA also agreed to return 1.5 sq. km of the coastal zone made part of the Reserve in 1974, to cover expansion of Saadani’s village centre. At no time did Uvinje or Saadani villagers agree to or countenance loss of remaining coastal strips. A technical assessment of the differences between the gazetted boundaries of the Game Reserve in 1974 and the alleged boundaries of the same Game Reserve as produced by TANAPA clearly showed significant anomalies in TANAPA’s map of Saadani Game Reserve.
Villagers protested the attempts of TANAPA to ignore the gazetted boundaries of Saadani Game Reserve and Uvinje leaders recall that they were assured this would not occur.
Saadani National Park was formally gazetted. The boundaries, as described, absorbed Saadani Game Reserve, not as had been originally gazetted but as the new TANAPA map incorrectly claimed it had been gazetted. The substantially expanded area encompassed almost all of Saadani village, including its communal land to the west of the Reserve and about 40 sq. km of its settled and coastal lands. By this act, the original area of Saadani Village was reduced to an unsustainable area for habitation and livelihood, a mere 12 sq. km. Several sub-villages, and above all Uvinje, were to disappear. TANAPA referred to these villagers as illegal occupants of the Reserve, now Park. This overnight legal dispossession took place despite numerous protests made by Uvinje villagers before the park was gazetted.
At the instruction of the President, an official investigation into the claims of Uvinje village was undertaken by the District Commissioner of Bagamoyo District and the Regional Commissioner of Coast Region. The Commission ruled in favour of the villages and instructed TANAPA to reinstate their lands.
Relieved, Uvinje villagers decided to get on with their lives and improve their livelihood. They had been discussing for some time whether to follow the example of other villages in the country and establish an eco-lodge. They found an investment partner and who, as a foreigner, secured a Letter of Offer of Right of Occupancy with a 99-year lease on a portion of Uvinje lands and with its full consent. Together, they formed a joint venture company with the approval of the Tanzania Investment Centre. The community began to invest resources and labour into construction of a small eco-lodge, and for which they obtained an operating licence. Work on the building was forced to slow and virtually cease from 2010 when TANAPA began to demand full tourist fees for the partner to reach the plot, limiting his ability to bring in materials needed. The villagers also began to be charged fees when they attempted to move building materials for their eco-lodge.
TANAPA launched new efforts to evict the Uvinje villagers, with the support of a new District Commissioner. Compensation was offered. It appears that various lists of eligible claimants were compiled in the intervening years. They may have received compensation. Some may have claimed to come from Uvinje, but none were legitimate residents of Uvinje Village. The genuine Uvinje occupants restated their refusal to be evicted or to receive compensation to entice them to do so.
Uvinje villagers approached the Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) in late 2012 and the Tanzania Law Society (TLS) (August 2014) to assist them to bring the matter to court. However, as a very poor and small fishing community, they lacked funds to carry this through.
With threats of enforced relocation continuing, Uvinje leaders approached various international NGO’s for support and were referred to the ICCA Consortium. Informed ICCA Consortium members made further inquiries. Protimos, a legal advisory group with offices in London and Cape Town dispatched a lawyer in East Africa at the time to review the matter on site. A review of relevant land, conservation and wildlife legislation and policies was also conducted. In addition, the ICCA Consortium was ably assisted by a geographer known to have worked in the area as part of her doctoral thesis. In the course of this work she had documented the location of the original area comprising the Saadani Game Reserve. She had also found two of the original boundary beacons which TANAPA had failed to remove. After consideration of the merits of the matter, the ICCA Consortium wrote to President Jakaya Kikwete on August 20 2014. This received some press coverage. As no official response was forthcoming, the ICCA Consortium wrote a second letter to President Kikwete on January 7 2015.
Among matters addressed by President Kikwete in his monthly televised broadcast of April 2015, he mentioned that he would establish a Parliamentary Committee to investigate land disputes around Saadani National Park including, and specifically mentioning the plight of Uvinje sub-village. This Committee was formed. The ICCA Consortium wrote to thank and compliment the President for his expressed commitment on May 8 2015. In mid May 2015, village leaders, of their own volition, also met with a member of the Committee, namely the District Commissioner of Bagamoyo, Mr Mwajid Hemed Mwanga. He promised that he or the Committee would visit the village of Uvinje before the end of May. This visit was not forthcoming.
A delegation of officials arrived at the TANAPA headquarters in Saadani and called the villagers to meetings on November 14 and 15 2015. It is believed the delegation was fielded in response to your directive that outstanding matters be promptly resolved. The delegation was guided by the Chief Park Warden of Saadani National Park. Villagers were told that while various boundary disputes would be addressed, this would not include Uvinje or Porokanya. When this was questioned by the Chairman of Uvinje Sub-Village, the leader of that Commission said that the Uvinje and Porokanya sub-village lands have always been part of the preceding Game Reserve and would not be included in the investigation.