Responding to climate change in Tanzania by strengthening dryland governance and planning

July 2013 to July 2018

District governments in Tanzania are improving their capacity for effective adaptive planning by strengthening planning processes and establishing local adaptation funds. With support from a consortium of government and non-government stakeholders, they are testing a devolved climate finance mechanism for building resilience, which could inform policy and action in other drylands.

Water is conserved at a devolved climate finance project site in Zanzibar

In Tanzania, drylands cover over half the land area, supporting the livelihoods of millions of people. 

District Councils are the local government authorities leading the planning and budgeting process for local development, responsible for understanding community priorities and investing in social and economic development. This work in Tanzania is part of a wider programme, underpinned by shared principles and a common approach to devolving climate finance to the local level.

What is IIED doing?

Along with a consortium of government and non-government partners, IIED is providing technical support to the Government of Tanzania, in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The task is to design and implement a devolved climate finance mechanism that will enable climate resilient planning and budgeting.  

The mechanism uses existing government systems to channel climate finance towards investments prioritised by communities, which build resilience to the impacts of climate change. The nature of the approach draws on experience from other countries implementing similar mechanisms in Kenya, Mali and Senegal

Devolved climate finance in northern Tanzania

The action-research of the devolved climate finance consortium supports improving the alignment of national and local government priorities and making sure climate change adaptation is included in development planning in Tanzania. 

The consortium is chaired by the President's Office – Regional and Local Government (PO-RALG), and includes the Vice President’s Office, Ministry of Finance, as well as government training institutions, including the Institute for Rural Development and Planning and the Local Government Training Institute. These institutions are responsible for developing programmes that will train future government employees on the approach and the lessons emerging from it. 

At community level, Hakikazi Catalyst and the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum provide implementation support and communication outreach.

Building on the experience of the Adaptation Consortium in Kenya, the districts of Longido, Monduli and Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania are building their readiness, as future sub-national 'executing entities', to access and disburse climate finance in support of community-prioritised adaptation. The three districts are piloting the devolved climate finance mechanism and sharing learning horizontally to other districts and vertically to government ministries and beyond. 

With funding from UKaid, the DCF Consortium has supported the three districts to:

  • Establish devolved district level climate finance mechanisms
  • Enhance climate-resilient development planning at district and divisional levels
  • Develop information systems for climate services, monitoring and learning, and
  • Inform national actors about lessons from the projects.

All three districts have established elected divisional adaptation planning committees (DvAPCs), with responsibilities to meet with communities to understand local priorities. District staff have been trained in, and completed, resilience assessments and participatory digital resource mapping. Financial audits have confirmed the districts' ability to manage climate funds to the required standards.

There has been significant involvement from the Tanzanian Meteorological Office, which has sought feedback from communities on climate information it currently produces. It has also begun studies on the potential for 'climate-proof' investments that will remain resilient in the face of predicted climate changes. 

Since 2016 the project has capitalised the district-level adaptation funds to finance investments in community prioritised public goods. Thirty-five investments have been made, including rehabilitation and construction of water infrastructure, construction of livestock health facilities and improving access to markets. 

The districts and divisional adaptation planning committee members have been trained in the Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development approach to monitoring and evaluation. The theories of change developed will form the basis of continued monitoring and later thorough evaluations of the impact of the investments on resilience and wellbeing, disaggregated by gender. 

Highlights from a project visit in January 2018 to community-prioritised investments were captured in a 'Twitter Moment', while the latest project activities can be found at

Additional resources

Participatory resource mapping, Sam Greene, Ced Hesse (2017), IIED Toolkit

Maps that build bridges, Ced Hesse (2013), IIED Reflect & Act

Community maps reveal rich resources of land policymakers think is empty, Suzanne Fisher (2013), IIED blog

Participatory digital map-making in arid areas of Kenya and Tanzania, Tom Rowley (2013), IIED, excerpt from Participatory Learning and Action 66

Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development, Nick Brooks, Simon Anderson, Jessica Ayers, Ian Burton and Ian Tellam (2011), IIED Working paper


UK aid


President's Office – Regional and Local Government (PO-RALG)

Hakikazi Catalyst

Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF)