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The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance invests in communications and knowledge management to enable it achieve its strategic objectives of  Policy Influence, Public engagement and mobilization, Holding governments accountable, Research, knowledge development and communication and Institutional and governance strengthening.

The work is led at the organization level by the Communications and Knowledge Management team and in the chapters by various communications champions who ensure information is readily accessible to our publics.

Monday, 23 October 2017 00:00

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in conjunction with members of the Pan-African Parliament has lauded US citizens and non-state actors in some states and cities for their commitment to addressing climate change.

Coming just days before the COP23 that will take place in November in Bonn, Germany, the group noted that US’ exit from the Paris Climate Change Agreement would have great implications global climate leadership and provisions of finance to developing countries.

They were speaking during a pre-COP 23 preparatory workshop on 21 October 2017 during the symposium on “Climate, Energy Transition and Agricultural Adaptation Finance in Africa” that was held in Midrand, South Africa.

The US has over the past few months come under sharp criticism after President Donald Trump announced that he would withdraw from the agreement that seeks to cap emissions under 1.5 degrees Celsius in June this year.

Reacting to the announcement in June, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance Secretary General Mithika Mwenda noted that with Trump’s decision the responsibility would now be on all the citizens of the world to ensure that global warming is kept at under 1.5 degrees Celsius and to hold their governments responsible for their fair share of climate action.

“With the plan by Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, people power and international solidarity are the only hope we have of averting an unimaginable climate crisis which will fan the flames of every existing inequality and injustice. It will take all of us around the world, organising together, to hold the historic emitters like the U.S. under the watch of Donald Trump to account and ensure our governments also do their fair share of climate action in the next four years to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. Trump’s decision doesn’t change that,” Trump said.

 

 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 00:00

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The private sector has been urged to collaborate with the public sector and civil society organisations to explore climate change related opportunities and seize them in the fight against the phenomenon. 

“All we need to do, is to look at climate change from a common lens, identify where the problems are, and convert them into opportunities,” John Kioli, the Chairman of Kenya Climate Change Working Group told a preparatory meeting ahead of the forthcoming Conference of Parties on climate change (COP 23).

Dimitris Tsitsiragos, the Vice President of Global Client Services at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, also agrees that climate change is creating opportunities for companies willing to innovate, pointing to report by IFC, which found that Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa could support up to $1 trillion in climate-related investments by 2020.

Tsitsiragos also refers to the massive solar power project in Morocco, where the private sector is playing a key role in the construction of a 510-megawatt solar plant in a desert with a capacity to provide power to 1.1 million people. The project, worth $2.6 billion, could help turn the North African kingdom into a renewable energy powerhouse and serve as a model for future public-private partnerships. 

In Kenya, the Lake Turkana Wind Power plant is another example of a private sector investment in green energy. Once operational, the wind farm will provide 310MW of reliable, low-cost energy to Kenya’s national grid which is approximately 15 percent of the country’s installed capacity.

“We can explore so many other opportunities related to climate change,” said Kioli.

Another example is the M-KOPA Solar Company in Kenya, which sells solar home systems on an affordable mobile money payment plan, with an initial $35 deposit, followed by 365 payments of 45 cents daily. After completing the payment package, customers own a world-class solar home system, with multiple lights, phone charging and a radio.

During the Pre-COP workshop in Nairobi, Kioli further urged Kenya’s civil society organisations on climate change, the government delegation and the private sector to unite and talk with one voice as the country joins other global nations for the next set of negotiations on climate change in Bonn, Germany. 

“This is a common problem that cuts across all sectors, and the only way forward as a country, is to have one common position that can be accepted by the African Group of Negotiators,” he said

So far, Kenya is committed to reducing total greenhouse gas emission by 30 percent, come the year 2030. However, representatives from the civil society observed that there must be a predictable source of income, hence the reason why all players must stay together ahead of the negotiations.

“We cannot just wait for the $100 billion commitment by the annex-one countries. We must also seek for alternative sources of funding right at the country level, and from development banks,” said Benson Kibiti from Caritas Kenya, representing the civil society.

Industrialised countries have already committed themselves to “mobilising jointly $100 billion a year by 2020, to address the needs of developing countries,” money which was expected to be come from public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. 

Presided over by the Government of Fiji, the UN Climate Change Conference will include the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UNFCCC, the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 13) and the 47th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 47).

Thursday, 12 October 2017 00:00

PENJA, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - Andrew Kombe in Penja village happily combs his 4-hectare Penja Pepper farm, discarding unwanted weeds and clipping off parasitic plants. For the 49-year-old farmer, the health and quality of his new climate-friendly crop are of prime importance following a disappointing slump in prices of the traditional cash crop in the area, coffee, and cocoa, blamed partly on extreme weather.

“I have to work hard to reap good yields and make maximum gains from my new crop,” he PAMACC News Agency.

Coffee and Cocoa farmers across Cameroon say they have been facing a bleak future, amid heavy rains and biting drought that has taken its toll on these traditional cash crops and reverse the gains since 2013.
For the past five years, Kombe and his family have incurred pain and hardship due to dwindling harvest and income from his coffee farm. Not anymore.

The farmers say the special white and black pepper dubbed Penja Pepper, a more extreme climate-tolerant cash crop is holding out the hope of much-needed relief for thousands of farmers in the region.

“We are left with no choice than switch to Penja Pepper. Now with the Pepper farming, I can raise enough money to feed my family and send my kids to school,” Kombe says.

Afraid of continuously reaping poor harvests and paltry income from coffee and cocoa, many more farmers in Penja and neighboring villages both in the Southwest and Littoral regions in Cameroon are increasingly switching to the more paying, reliable and climate-friendly Penja Pepper agriculture officials say.

“The farmers now prefer to concentrate their efforts on Penja Pepper that thrives well in the region,” says Amos Ngolle, agriculture technician at the divisional delegation of agriculture in the Moungo division.

Grown on the flanks of the Kupemuanenguba Mountain, the Penja Pepper has since gained national and international fame after the Penja Pepper Farmers Association, PPFA, with support from French Development Agency, sought and obtained in 2013 the certification of their product from the African Intellectually Property Organization.

Farmers of the association say the certification has significantly transformed their lives and the economy of the region, attracting other farmers whose traditional cash crops are threatened by extreme weather.

“Growing Penja Pepper has now become the attraction of farmers in the region,” says Emmanuel Nzenewo, PPFA Executive Secretary.

The farmers blame the cyclical uncertainties on coffee and cocoa not only to climate but also to pests and diseases that are bringing heavy losses.

Losses from diseases and pests claimed between 30 and 40 percent of Cameroon´s harvest in the 2014-15 season, according to the National

Cocoa and Coffee Board, which regulates cocoa and coffee production.
 

A slump of more than one third in the prices paid for both coffee and cocoa beans by exporters, following a downward trend in prices on the international market in the past two years has made the situation of farmers even more perilous.
According to government data, coffee yields for the 2015-2016 season stood at just over 16,000 tons, down from above 38,000 tons in 2009-2010.

A kilo of cocoa beans fetches about 900-960 FCA francs ($1.50 to $1.65) in production areas, down from 1,600 francs in 2012-13.
In some remote areas prices are as low as 700 francs and the farmers fear it will fall even further.

“ We fear the prices will decline even further in the years ahead as climate threats worsen and this is bad news for small-scale farmers like myself,” says Ajong Cletus, one of the few cocoa farmers in Penja still holding on to the crop.

Though the government is struggling to encourage cocoa and coffee farmers to stay on their crop, they are also promoting the growth of the new cash crop, Penja Pepper.

Since the certification, the price of the cooking spice has sky-rocketed, from 2,500 fcfa per kilogram before September 2013 to reach 8,000fcfa per kilogram in 2014, and 14,000 per kilogram in 2015/2016, according to the ministry of trade.

The farmers say the price is encouraging, motivating them to work even harder.

“Because of the encouraging price per kilo, I have expanded my farm from 8hectares(20 acres) in 2012 to  12 hectares (30 acres) of the crop presently, thus producing and earning 50% more than what I got before certification of the product,” says Garbielle Elung, one of the farmers in Penja. The certification according to the farmers mean the product has been protected from imitation, thus guaranteeing its long term future.

The Penja Pepper production zone has so far increased from Penja village to include neigbouring villages like Loum, Manjo, Mbanga, Njombé-Penja and Tombel subdivisions in the Moungo and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions.

The Penja Pepper grown in the rich volcanic soils in the area experts say is resistant to extreme weather, both prolonged rains and droughts maintaining its unadulterated, special white and black colour and attractive flavor at all season.

The region’s natural micro-climate and location at the flanks of Mt. Kupemuanenguba according to agriculture experts protect the product from pest attack and provides for the pepper’s(spice) unique taste, attracting increasing demand in the national, regional and international markets. Thus the need and battle to protect the product against imitation.

.“The rich volcanic soil of Mt. Kupemuanenguba has given the pepper a soft and refined flavor and aroma that will appeal to anyone that loves good cuisine,” says Bernard Njonga, executive officer of ACDIC(Association Citoyenne de Défense des Intérêts Collectifs) an NGO that defends the rights of farmers in Cameroon

According to Emmanuel Nzenowo, executive secretary of the association, thanks to the successful certification, production reached 300 t in 2015 and 350 t in 2016 in response to growing demand from high class restaurants around the world. Prior to this, production was less than 150 t.

Approximately 60% of the product is consumed locally and in neighbouring countries, and 40% is exported to European markets according to Cameroon’s ministry of trade. The Penja Pepper is one of the only three African commodities, which also includes Oku honey from Cameroon and ZiamaMacenta coffee from Guinea, to be given such a label, prohibiting the product’s name from being used by producers outside of its original region.

With the label, Emmanuel Nzenowo says, adherence to strict guidelines by the farmers is ensured to maintain highest standards.

“Guideline rules include ensuring farmers are situated within mapped out perimeters by the association, accepting the norms and code of conduct set out by the association, protecting the crop against extreme climate and regular inspection by a team of PPFA members,” he explained. “This has contributed to the continuously improved quality of the product,” he says.  

Statistics from the ministry of the economy, planning and regional economy shows that the product with added value is today highly consumed in France, Switzerland, Germany and many other countries in Europe, not forgetting the 16 member states of OAPI including Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Senegal.   

In a desperate move to encourage farmers to stay on in coffee and cocoa production, the government has decided to half its levy on cocoa exports to boost revenues for farmers and exporters.

The government reduced the cocoa export charge rate by 50 percent, from 150 CFA francs ($0.27) to 75 CFA francs per kilogram, as from August 1, 2017, the Minister of trade Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana announced.

“This decision is a change in government policy to encourage farmers and avoid a drastic decline in cocoa and coffee production,” the minister said.

This article first appeared on the PAMACC website

Thursday, 05 October 2017 00:00

ABUJA, NIGERIA (PAMACC News) - As the UN General Assembly convenes in New York, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group calls on heads of state and government to reaffirm their pledge to tackle climate change by committing to fair and concrete climate solutions that will protect all people and the planet. The theme of this year's UN General Assembly debate - 'Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet' - is a timely and vital reminder of the importance of safeguarding a liveable world for ourselves and future generations. 
 
Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, said: "the urgent need for serious climate action has never been clearer. Over the past months we have seen devastating events exacerbated by climate change, from deadly hurricanes and flooding, to wildfires and heatwaves. No corner of our planet is safe from climate impacts. Global temperatures have already risen 1.1°C and the frequency and severity of these events will only worsen with further warming."
 
"Collective commitments by the global community to date are woefully inadequate in the face of our shared challenge of climate change. Current pledges under the Paris Agreement put the world on course for 3.5°C of warming by the end of the century. This is a death sentence for many communities across the world, particularly in poor and vulnerable countries. Humanity cannot afford to delay."
 
"There is a widening gulf between the climate finance that is provided and mobilised and the reality of finance received and needed. Without adequate climate finance and support to developing countries, mainly LDCs and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are left without a lifeline. Many trillions of dollars are required to implement the Paris Agreement."
 
"The LDCs are committed to being at the frontline of the clean energy revolution. The LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative will deliver sustainable climate action and lift communities out of poverty. If we are truly to set the planet on a safe course, all countries, and particularly those who contribute the most to climate change, must follow suit. Renewable energy has the power to place us on a path to a cleaner, fairer and more prosperous world for all."
 
"Spread across Africa, southern Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean, the 47 LDCs all face immense challenges in adapting to climate change and addressing the loss and damage it unleashes. LDCs are taking ambitious domestic action to lead by example, and call on the rest of the world to do the same in line with their capability to respond and responsibility for the problem. State, city and business leaders from around the world have just met in New York for climate week, and the LDC Group urges leaders at the UN General Assembly to carry the conversation forward and inspire real action from all nations across the globe."

This story first appeared on the PAMACC website

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