The United Nations and environmental protection with particular reference to environmental problems in Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
The need for the protection and improvement of the human environment has already been confirmed in a number of occassions. Environmental factors occupy an important place in the development of man. The manner in which these problems have so far been examined has been much inclined towards the view that these are problems being faced by developed industrial states. Little emphasis has been placed on the state of the environment in developing countries. In this dissertation we set out to examine environmental problems in the African continent and how the United Nations has attempted to deal with them. In chapter one we shall examine the relationship between man environment and development. It is important to examine this relationship because it forms the basis of the environmental crisis in the developing as well as developing countries at the moment. To arrive at the position in which man is at the moment, many challenges had to be faced. We shall try to elucidate how man has responded to the challenge posed by the environment and observe how he was initially at the mercy of the environment and how he later commandeered technology to master it. Of importance when examining the relationship between man, environment and development are the values which influenced man in his endevours to master the environment. We shall attempt to examine the state of the environment in developed capitalist, socialist and developing states clearly identifying the causes of environmental degradation and the manner in which the different states have responded. One of the tools which the United Nations has utilized in tackling environmental problems generally and particularly in the African continent is environmental law. In the second chapter we seek to show what the United Nations has done in this respect. However, this cannot be done without in the first place examining the place of the organization in the light of limitations within which it is operating. We shall consider the work of different specialized agencies of the United Nations, the ongoing United Nations Conference on the law of the Sea as well as other initiatives undertaken by the U. N. The third chapter shall be devoted to examine African environmental problems and perspectives. It is our feeling that these problems and their causes have been very much neglected. Superficial explanations of the causes to these problems have been given in the place of important underlying causes. We shall attempt to examine these problems in the light of international socio-economic relations now in existence. These we feel are important in identifying the basis for these problems. In considering these aspects, the history of the continent cannot be irrelevant. Physical and other natural causes will also be considered. After examining African environmental problems and perspectives we shall proceed to examine various programmes of the United Nations in Africa. This will be divided into two phases, the period before and after 1973. We shall examine how the specialized agencies of the United Nations have taken part in grappling with these problems. After examining the relationship between man, environment and development, African environmental problems and perspectives and the contribution made by the United Nations we shall be in a position not only to draw our conclusions regarding such contribution but also identify the fundamental problems which ought to be solved so that different countries in the African continent rid themselves of environmental problems and pursue a course of development harmonious with its environment.
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Environmental protection, Tanzania, Environmental conservation
Kibola, H.S (1981) The United Nations and environmental protection with particular reference to environmental problems in Tanzania, Masters dissertation,University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (