The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) Partnership is committed to transform the agriculture sector in Tanzania’s Southern corridor, by catalyzing inclusive and environmentally friendly investments. Achieving this aim requires plans and investments that respect Tanzania’s natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity; develop profitable production systems and value chain operations that are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible, make the best possible use of available natural resources and are sensitive to climate change; create commercial opportunities for smallholder farmers and their communities that will allow for sustainable wealth creation; and conform to local, national and international regulations and standards.
A SAGCOT Green Reference Group (GRG) has been established to assist the SAGCOT Centre coordinate and monitor the environmental aspects in all programs in the SAGCOT region. The GRG works as an informal advisory body to the SAGCOT Centre, bringing together a representative group of stakeholders from government, the private sector (including farmers), the donor community and civil society, along with independent scientific advisors. The GRG also provides advice to the SAGCOT Catalytic Fund where appropriate. The SAGCOT Partnership is attracting a diverse range of interests and activities. Each public or private investor is legally bound to work within the existing regulations and professionally bound to encourage environmentally-friendly and socially sustainable agricultural growth.
Primary objective of the GRG is to provide the SAGCOT Centre and its partners with guidance, advice and recommendations on environmental and social issues in the SAGCOT region. This guidance will include development of opportunities for inclusive green growth and climate-smart agriculture, as well as identification and mitigation of environmental risks and damage. Other is to assist the SAGCOT Centre in identifying key gaps in green growth efforts, aligning activities of partners and other stakeholders and prioritizing programs and institutions to partner with. Also to support the SAGCOT Centre in promoting and raising awareness on inclusive green growth opportunities.
The advice provided by the GRG is non-binding and guided by the Precautionary Principle, the Polluter Pays Principle and the UN Global Compact Principles on environment. Making wise and sustainable use of natural resources and encouraging innovation for green growth is the fundamental elements of the GRG’s approach, as per provisions of the 2004 Environmental Management Act. The GRG’s advice is based on the long-term sustainability implications (10-30 years) of planning decisions.
GRG membership reflects the inclusive Public-Private Partnership character of SAGCOT. It also reflects the different interests and technical competences needed to oversee such a diverse and complex operation. The structure of the GRG is designed to facilitate the fullest possible participation by the principal stakeholder groups—the Government of Tanzania, the donor community, the private sector and civil society—while remaining focused and efficient. All Members are registered partners of SAGCOT Partnership, with the exception of expert parties contracted by the GRG to provide special services or expertise.
The GRG is designed to ensure it can deliver outputs in a timely manner, responding flexibly to demands made upon it by the SAGCOT Centre. The GRG will ensure it can guarantee access to independent technical expertise and scientific advice. SAGCOT Centre therefore requires that the members of the GRG transmit information and solicit advice and orientation from the broader stakeholder community from which they are drawn. Membership in the GRG is at the invitation of the SAGCOT Centre and GRG Secretariat. Decision-making within the GRG is on a consensus basis.
In May 2016 GRG established a cluster level GRG that provides an investment guiding tool to SAGCOT Partners in the Ihemi Cluster. Between May and November 2017, GRG has developed an investment guiding tool which was used to assess 15 commercial investments on how their operations are compliant with SAGCOT Green Growth Principles. The assessment report helped government regulatory authorities to design training modules to create awareness on regulatory compliance with SAGCOT Partners. In May 2016 and 2017, GRG organized the Land Use Dialogue (LUD) – a multi-country engagement platform coordinated by The Forests Dialogue along with a variety of local and global partners that seek to gather knowledge and lead processes enabling responsible business and investment, improved governance and inclusive development in landscapes. LUD aims to understand and improve the practical implementation of the ‘landscape approach’ in order to address the often-competing interests of different stakeholders in a landscape, which is central to sustainable land management and key for broader economic and social development.