The government of Tanzania has pledged to undertake an environmental impact assessment for its proposed hydroelectric plant in the Selous Game Reserve. This comes after international opposition to the proposal of the Stiegler’s Gorge power plant.
The Selous Game Reserve has had Unesco World Heritage Site status since 1982. Following the announcement of the hydroelectric plant, the World Heritage Committee (WHC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) raised concerns about the risks to the reserve posed by the proposed hydroelectric plant and associated dam as well as the extensive logging to be undertaken to clear the way for the plant.
According to the government, Tanzanian officials went to the 42nd meeting of the WHC, held in Bahrain, to explain the project and save the Selous Game Reserve’s World Heritage Site status. Referring to the visit, Anthony Field, the Global Campaign Manager at WWF said: “The move represents important progress but it is crucial that the assessment is completed without delay and to the highest international standards and is independently reviewed.”
He added that it was critical that no work was done on the power project until the environmental assessment had been completed and reviewed by the WHC.
The Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism said Unesco was co-operating with the government, both ensuring the project did not cause any environmental harm.