Development cooperation project improved land use management in Zanzibar

A Finnish development cooperation project developed land use planning and the spatial data infrastructure in Zanzibar. Increasing tourism and expanding residential areas set challenges in regulating and defining the use of Zanzibar’s land and water areas. The project focused particularly on the management of coastal areas.

In the photo, Mr Juma Reli, Mr Mohammed Zahran and Mr Panu Muhli discuss.
From left: Mr Juma Reli, Mr Mohammed Zahran and Mr Panu Muhli.
Photo:
Riitta Teiniranta, SYKE

“This project was closely linked with the goals of sustainable development. A spatial data infrastructure helps to increase the availability and use of spatial data. Furthermore, land use planning and the documentation of environmental impact help to make society more stable”, says Mr Panu Muhli, head of department at the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) of the National Land Survey of Finland.

Everything is based on the higher availability of spatial data

The project had three themes, the first of which was to support the construction of a spatial data infrastructure in Zanzibar. Without such infrastructure, it would be very difficult to access, distribute and use spatial data. The second theme was land and sea use planning, and the third was the development of local competence in spatial data.

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) led the project and, together with FGI, helped to develop the spatial data infrastructure. In cooperation with the University of Turku, SYKE also improved land and sea use planning. The University of Turku was responsible for planning and implementing training related to spatial data. It has, for several years, carried out spatial data development projects in Zanzibar.

Cooperation creates more cooperation

The project covered the existing spatial data sets of Zanzibar’s administrative bodies and focused on helping to provide the data interoperably for public and private sector organisations. The main task of the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) was to help to build a cooperation and coordination model for the spatial data infrastructure. In addition, it shared information about how laws can promote the shared use of spatial data. The project parties considered together how their experiences in the shared use of spatial data in Finland could be used in Zanzibar.

“Our role was to be an advisor and mentor, where it is very important to truly listen to partners”, Mr Muhli says.

The contacts made by the University of Turku were vital and helped the parties to get started quickly. Building long-standing partnerships was a key factor in the success of the project.

Openness is not self-evident

“Achieving a change in the operating culture was an important part of the project. In Finland, the idea of a transparent public administration is already taken for granted. However, open access to data is not self-evident in all countries”, Mr Muhli says.

Zanzibar showed interest in developing open access to spatial data. When the volume of electronic data is low, providing all parts of society with open access to it is very important.

“We got off to a good start during this three-year project. We were able to build a concept for a spatial data infrastructure and trained members of the local administration. Together, we prepared a proposal for a spatial data infrastructure management model and a coordination structure, as well as a roadmap for its implementation between 2019 and 2023. Zanzibar’s administration will continue this work, for example, by setting up the laws required”, Mr Muhli says.

The project was carried out by the Finnish Environment Institute and the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute of the National Land Survey of Finland, together with the University of Turku. The project was part of the country programme for cooperation development in Tanzania of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the goal of the project was to develop the use of spatial data in land use planning in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.

More information

Panu Muhli, head of department, +358 40 720 7861, firstname.lastname@nls.fi

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