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Climate change is arguably the most severe challenge facing our planet in the 21st century. Human interference with the climate system (mainly through the emission of greenhouse gases and changes in land use) has increased the global and annual mean air temperature at the Earth's surface by about 0.8 °C since the 19th century

Kenya, like other African countries, is experiencing the brunt of climate change impacts and the associated socio-economic losses. The situation is exacerbated by the high dependence on climate sensitive natural resources. Over the past decade, droughts have become more severe and frequent, having a negative effect on all rural households and especially those in the arid and semi-arid lands. In counties like Embu, Kitui and Tharaka Nithi counties, the short rain season starts later and the long rains are very unreliable. This has led to extreme poverty and inequality in these regions. Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is seeks to engage stakeholders including policy makers in these three counties to develop climate change policies that take Natural Resource Management into consideration.

A two day consultative workshop in Tharaka Nithi County has been organized by the PACJA team to build the capacity of county stakeholders on the existing gaps in the current climate change policies,  and also have a chance to validate the Ecosystem Based Adaptation research that was conducted in county recently.

Speaking at the consultative forum, Hon. Margaret Gitari, Member of the County Assembly for Chogoria and the chairperson of the Environmental committee in Tharaka Nithi County in her opening remarks lauded PACJA, Caritas Meru, policy makers  and other stakeholders for choosing to partner with Tharaka Nithi County to develop this climate change policy. ‘This meeting is very critical and timely for the people of this country. The outcome will enable us address climate change stresses and shocks by strengthening the resilience of the community and ensuring that we are on a path to food security. The county government will support this process and ensure that it is passed once it gets to the house.’ She said.

This climate policy formulation process is supported by Trocaire and UKAM for the Community resilience and climate change adaptation project implemented by PACJA.

 

 

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has welcomed the move by the Kenya Members of the National Assembly to support the passage of the National Policy on Climate Change that will see the government set aside Ksh200 million annually over five years to address the impacts of climate change after it is passed.

Speaking in his office on Wednesday, PACJA Secretary General Mithika Mwenda lauded the move by the MPs terming it a step in the right direction. 

“This move is a step in the right direction and demonstrates commitment by the Kenyan Government to address climate change and its impacts on the citizenry,” he said. 

Mr Mithika took the opportunity to state that the developed nations, which are historically responsible for the rapid change in the earth’s climate, should bear the responsibility for the mitigation efforts, adding that partners should match the government’s commitment ten fold.

“We now leave it to the industralised countries to compliment this commitment. The amount proposed is little compared to the impacts being faced by the citizens so we insist that the responsibility rests with the industralised nations as per climate change conventions and the Paris Agreement,” he noted.

Yesterday (Tuesday) the MPs expressed concern that global warming caused by climate change will have an adverse effect on all the sectors of the economy including agriculture, industry, energy, water, trade and tourism.

The leader of Majority Aden Duale urged MPs to approve the policy to help transform Kenya by implementing the Vision 2013.

He regretted that the cost of managing climate change impacts is increasing day by day and thus need to be addressed urgently.

“If climate change is left unattended to, it will impede vision 2030 whose aim is to transform Kenya into a globally competitive, middle-income country,” he said.

Leader of Minority John Mbadi said effects of deforestation have had disastrous effects including reducing the country’s water levels. He proposed that in order to address the impact of climate change there is need to pass legislation to condition local companies to put a percentage of their profits into planting trees. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:00

Severe drought hits Southern Africa

BLANTYRE, Malawi (PAMACC News) -  Prolonged dry spell experienced across Southern Africa and the invasion of crop- eating worm are said to sharply affect harvests across the region, driving millions of people – most of them children – into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The warning follows an alert by the regional food security experts that “erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Army Worm infestation, are likely to have far-reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition” over the next 12-15 months.

The alert, by officials from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), listed Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and South Africa as the worst-affected countries.

The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt. Pasture has also suffered, threatening the survival of livestock herds.

In Malawi, it is estimated that about 140,000 farming families have been affected by the twin scourges of dry spell and Fall armyworms and in terms of hectares, 375,580 hectares of maize have been damaged across the country.

Lonjezo Chiguduli, a farmer in Malawi’s Eastern Region district of Zomba expressed sadness at loss of crops and predicted tough months ahead. Chiguduli said his maize farm was severally attacked by Fall Armyworms and the prolonged drought made things worse.

“I managed to contain the worms but I was hopeless and helpless with the dry spell. I don’t think my crops will recover even if the rains come today. It’s done,” said Chiguduli a father of three whose ageing mother also depends on him.

Solomon Makondetsa, a rice farmer also from Zomba said out of four of his rice plots, two of the plots have completely wilted that he had to uproot the crop.

Makondetsa said he invested about K450,000 (about US$623) which he said he will not be able to recover due to the prolonged dry spell.

A ray of hope though shown last week with most parts of the country experiencing rains for days, however, the rains have come with another problem, flooding. So far, there has been flooding in Salima District in the central region and Karonga district in the northern region of Malawi.

In December 2017, Malawi President, Peter Mutharika, declared 20 of the country’s 28 districts as disaster areas following the dry spell and invasion of the worms.

According to the statement released by World Food Programme (WFP), even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible.

“Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El Niño -induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow”, says Brian Bogart, WFP’s Regional Programme Advisor. “But it shows how important it is to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in the face of changing climatic conditions”.

There are now fears for another rise in the number of people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition assistance—this fell from a peak of 40 million during the 2014-2016 ElNiño crisis to 26 million last year.

The humanitarian community is now working with governments, SADC and other partners to assess the extent of the damage and its likely impact on those most at risk in the region.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

 
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 00:00

COP 23: What is at stake for Africa?

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Delegates from about 196 countries have gathered in Bonn, Germany for what has become a semblance of a yearly ritual – the 23rd conference of parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
 
The conference holds from the 6 -17 November 2017 in Bonn under the leadership of Fiji which is the first small island developing state to hold this role.
 
The COP is coming at a time extreme weather events like floods, hurricanes and fires have destabilised millions of people in Africa Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. COP 23 therefore aspires to propel the world towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path.
 
Africa and the COP Process

At the beginning of COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco, November 2016, the Paris Agreement era had been ushered in. Countries of the world had demonstrated commitment and the Agreement had come into force faster than anticipated. Due to this reality, COP 22 then focused on how to make Paris agreement work by setting up mechanisms and structures that would facilitate its implementation.
 
A year later and with with over 33 African countries ratifying the Paris Agreement, Africans are heading to Bonn with a bag full of expectations for the continent and the world.
 
As the region with least contribution to green house gas emissions and the most affected in terms of climate disasters, African delegates are not happy with the failure of the COP process to close the finance gap; inadequacy in pledges; delay in addressing ‘orphan issues’ under the Paris Agreement especially common time-frames for NDCs, and adjustment of existing NDCs. Others are recognition of developing countries’ adaptation efforts; guidance related to finance; and the slow pace and ambiguity in sequencing of work on the Paris Agreement Rule Book thus creating roadblocks in advancing the its formulation.
 
African demands

Prof Seth Osafo of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) believes that the slow progress by developed country parties towards reaching the US$100 billion goal of joint annual mobilisation by 2020 is not in Africa’s interest. Speaking at the African civil society Pre-COP workshop in Bonn, Prof Osafo said Africa’s interest lies in developed countries providing financial support to developing countries and positioning the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) to provide support to developing countries in finance, technology and capacity building.
 
At the Pre-COP workshop organised by African civil society actors including farmers, pastoralists, youth and gender groups under the umbrella of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), non-state actors from the region expressed their desire for loss and damage concerns to be fully taken into consideration as the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) shifts to serve the Paris Agreement after 2020.

According to Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General of the alliance, parties should establish a globally supported insurance mechanism (especially for agriculture and infrastructure sectors) in line with the objectives of the WIM for Loss & Damage by 2020. “We call on Parties to establish a framework, preferably outside but complimentary to UNFCCC, for addressing liability or compensation due to losses and damages in developing countries by extreme weather events and severe impacts of climate change” he added.
 
Pre-2020 commitments

Heading into the 23rd session of the Conference of Parties this year, one of the issues that have emerged as key expectation for African Parties to this year’s climate talks is progress on pre-2020 commitments.
 
African groups want COP23 to provide an opportunity for rich countries to revisit their commitment to undertake pre-2020 actions. The deliverables could be the concrete progress or signal with regards to the ratification of the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to enable the entry into force of the second commitment period (for emissions reductions by developed countries under the KP) and the operationalisation of the US$100b per year from 2020 and other resources for developing countries.
 
The implementation of pre-2020 commitments which cover actions to be taken before the Paris Agreement comes into force are of high importance to safeguard the future of the climate.
 
Rule book for Paris Agreement

Another issue of urgent African importance at this COP is progress on the work programme to implement the Paris Agreement. Negotiations on the Paris Rule Book will be critical to ensuring that the promises made in the Paris Agreement are met. Some of these promises include the commitment of governments to respect, protect and take into consideration existing human rights obligations.
 
To enhance the likelihood that the Paris Agreement is effectively implemented, when developing the Paris Rule Book, parties are expected to integrate human rights and the social and environmental principles reaffirmed in the agreement’s preamble, including the rights of indigenous peoples, public participation, gender equality, safeguarding food security and ending hunger, a just transition, and ecosystem integrity.
 
Facilitative Dialogue 2018

According to the agreement reached in Paris, a facilitative dialogue (FD 2018) is to be convened to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement and to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
 
The Facilitative Dialogue is expected to ensure the linkage between policies, actions and means of implementation. It will also be instrumental to maintaining the political momentum of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goal and the need to be informed by what science indicates as necessary for climate actions and ambition for next 15 years.
 
The design of the dialogue as an overall feature together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on 1.5°C, the work of the climate champions and work of non-state actors, are critical for this purpose.

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has undertaken the second series of training on Natural Resource Management (NRM), Adaptation to Climate Change and Agricultural Development in Embu County.

The training, which is part of the ongoing UKAM/Trocaire funded Community resilience and climate change adaptation project, was held at Ishiara Parish in Embu County on Wednesday (September 27th) and drew 41 participants from various sub-locations and community natural resource management groups.

The project is part of the deliberate effort to boost the resilience of vulnerable communities in three drought-affected semi-arid counties - Kitui, Tharaka-Nithi and Embu – which are threatened by the impacts of climate change.

Most of the participants in the training were smallholder farmers who also practice beekeeping and charcoal production.

Speaking after the training, Project Coordinator Obed Koringo said that the participants were adequately trained on the causes and impacts of climate change as it relates to the livelihood of the community. 

“The training provided the participants with the relevant skills and knowledge to tackle the negative impacts of climate change and harness the opportunities therein,” he said.

He noted that the training, which was conducted in the local language to facilitate understanding, also accorded the participants the platform to exchange knowledge and lessons learned.

The farmers were trained in the following:

  • Climate-Sensitive Agricultural production techniques
  • Post-harvest management
  • Integrated soil fertility improvement
  • Crop diversification
  • Land preparation technologies
  • Integrated water resources management best practices
  • Sustainable land use practices.

 

They were also trained on existing global and national climate change adaptation policies and frameworks and provided with integrated knowledge and skills that would enable them to shift toward sustainable agricultural practices.

The trainers strongly emphasized on the use of locally available materials and the farmers gained new knowledge on crop verities selection and diversification, farmland preparation, soil fertility improvement techniques, farm and household level water management and sustainable land use techniques.

At the end of the training, participants appreciated the new knowledge and skills gained through PACJA’s intervention. They committed to integrating the new knowledge into their farming practices and sharing their new knowledge with their respective communities. In so doing, they developed action plans and clearly highlighted how they hoped to achieve the same. Meanwhile, similar training was also undertaken in Mwingi, Kitui County.

 

Civil Society Organisations have been encouraged to see Africa’s problems as opportunities to create value and jobs.

Speaking during the briefing workshop for NGOs on Engagement with UN Environment Assembly, UN Environment Regional Information Officer for Africa Mohamed Atani said finding solutions to Africa’s problems could lead to the creation of jobs.

He noted that pollution is viewed as being bad for the environment but good for business, but challenged workshop participants to find ways of fighting pollution such as waste management, which he said could bring revenues. 

“Other people come to Africa and see these opportunities and invest while we who are here do nothing about them,” he noted.

The information Officer further noted that conflict in Africa is brought about by the desire to access and control natural resources, adding that we as Africans don’t hate each other. 

“In Africa we have conflict because we want access and control of natural resources,” he stated.

Speaking during the same meeting, Dr Alice Oluoko from the University of Nairobi noted that Pollution has become a global pandemic, adding that we all must stand up against it for a sustainable world. 

She added that Civil Society Oganisations have a voice that can influence the future stability of the society.

“CSOs have a voice that shapes, moves, and causes change and we must use this voice for the future stability of our societies,” she stated.

On his part, Mr Innocent Maloba from WWF International encouraged CSOs to speak up whenever they see the destruction of the environment, adding that authorities will then take over from there and halt the destruction.

The meeting was held at the UN Offices in Nairobi and attended by NGOs, CBOs and CSOs from across the country.

 

ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ivoire (PAMACC News) Eleven African countries are set to benefit from multi-million dollar Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA), which has been launched alongside the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). 

PIATA is an innovative and transformative partnership and financing vehicle to drive inclusive agriculture transformation across the continent.

Three development partners, which include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have jointly pledged up to U.S. $280 million to catalyse and sustain inclusive agricultural transformation in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

This is aimed at increasing incomes and improving food security of 30 million smallholder farmers. 

"We are pleased to be part of PIATA. We see it as an opportunity to leverage even more from the partners and their huge networks, for greater impact,” said Mr. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office during the launch of the initiative.

“We are looking forward to deploying the technologies that we have helped develop over the years, together with our shared knowledge and grant support, to work with our esteemed partners. Together we hope to catalyze Africa’s pursuit for prosperity through agriculture,” he told delegates at the AGRF in Abidjan.

The PIATA is an important collaboration between donors that aligns behind the Malabo agenda agreed to by African Heads of State and Government in 2014. It signals an enduring commitment to Africa’s transformation agenda. PIATA is but one of various means by which each of the partners are supporting African countries to deliver on agricultural transformation; its partners continue to provide support through avenues including direct support to continental agencies, government bodies and in-country partners. The partnership will allow partners to align and complement existing efforts, making new investments in developing input systems, value chains, and policy where they will have the most impact. 

According to the 2017 Africa Agriculture Status Report, Africa needs an agricultural revolution that is distinct and that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains, jobs and economic opportunities for large segments of the population.  Agriculture is still the best bet for inclusive African economic growth and poverty reduction.

Experts believe that such a transformation will require greater political, policy, and financing commitments from across the public and private sectors. It will also require new partnership models like PIATA, which is hailed as an outstanding example of how partners can collaborating with African countries' visions and systems to deliver on their own transformation, in line with their national economic development strategies.

 Mr. Rodger Voorhies, the Executive Director of the Global Growth and Opportunity Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “We’ve seen significant progress when countries recognize the critical importance of agriculture to their economic development and help catalyze agricultural transformation with targeted investments, evidence-based policies, and strong national plans. PIATA is an exciting platform that can help countries take the lead in driving agricultural transformation. Our investment reflects our desire to help countries develop high-quality plans linked to national and continental accountability frameworks.” 

 It was also observed that delivering on Africa’s potential requires both the public and private sectors to engage in new ways and strengthen collaboration. The role of the private sector and non-state actors in agriculture development and in support of formulation of country agriculture plans is critical for sustainable growth.

 This was emphasized by Mr. Sean Jones, the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID. “PIATA offers a new way of doing business across the many public and private actors working to ensure food security and economic growth as called for in country-owned visions and the goals laid out in the Malabo Declaration. Agriculture is at its core a private sector enterprise, and one of the best bets for job creation and inclusive growth when the right policies and investments allow the private sector to flourish. This partnership offers an innovative mechanism to unlock this investment and realize many of the targets laid out in the Global Food Security Strategy approved by our Congress.”

 The PIATA launch comes at a critical time in the continent’s agriculture history. Most African countries have undertaken a rigorous review of the sector, developing and adopting a new generation of sector development plans that prepare them to do business. Continentally, the African Union is coordinating the biennial review of the progress made towards the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals, which will be presented in the first Biennial Review Report, along with a scorecard for the Heads of State to guide them in the sector’s transformation. 

Welcoming the new partnership, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), expressed her belief that the initiative would contribute significantly to accelerating Africa’s path to prosperity by growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture.

 “We have witnessed significant progress in our agricultural transformation over the past decade, with countries that have prioritized the sector recording notable drops in poverty levels, improved food security and inclusive economic growth. PIATA will be critical in bringing key players together to support governments in their push to fully unlock the potential of Africa’s smallholder farming and agribusiness as the surest drivers of job creation and the continent’s inclusive economic transformation,” she said.

 AGRA is the primary implementing institution of the partnership under the institution’s new strategy for the continent and plan agreed with priority countries.

This story was first published on the PAMACC Website

 The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance on Friday last week organized a successful workshop that brought together 30 participants from pastoralist communities, CSOs, government and the private sector to discuss and share experiences on promoting climate resilient pastoralism in Kenya. 

The workshop sought to arrive at a common approach to achieving resilience in order to manage the risks posed by climate variation and change.

During the workshop participants shared tools, methods, and approaches to enhance learning and innovative ways to implement Community Based Adaptation, DRM, sustainable development and climate information services that they could incorporate into their lives and work to improve livelihoods of pastoralist communities.

The workshop focused on five thematic areas including promoting multi stakeholder interactions, governance, and policy, promoting community ownership and aspirations, risk management, and climate resilient investments in pastoralist areas.

Pastoralists in Kenya are among the most vulnerable to climate change variability with droughts in East Africa becoming more severe and frequent while less predictable.

According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, even the much anticipated March-April-May rains did very poorly across the country, most parts of the country experiencing below normal rainfall with areas remaining sunny and dry throughout the month of March 2017. 

“Due to this increasing vulnerability, pastoralists need to be supported not only to maintain the extraordinary resilience inherent in their traditional way of life, but also to adapt and – for some – to create viable alternative livelihoods in and beyond the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), which increase the adaptive capacity and build resilience of pastoralist communities,” noted the Julius Karanja, a project assistant with PACJA who organized the workshop. 

The necessary support is in the form of climate information and products, agro-advisory services, as well as support to enhance and utilize their indigenous knowledge.

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in collaboration with Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) consortium - a partnership of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), will in October organize the 7th Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA-VII). 

The conference will be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya starting October 11 to October 13, 2017, with the theme this year being: Implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa: From Policies to Action.

This year, CCDA is expected to attract 400-500 participants. Specific constituencies expected to attend from within and outside of Africa include researchers, academia, policy makers, parliamentarians, negotiators, development partners, intergovernmental organizations, media professionals, Multilateral Development Banks, the private sector, civil society, and youth and gender groups.

The meeting aims to critically examine the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of African countries and Africa’s readiness to translate NDCs into actionable development plans and programmes, assess the effectiveness of mechanisms to provide adequate means of implementation to meet the required levels of ambition; and examine global political economy issues for the effective implementation of NDCs in support of sustainable, inclusive and climate-resilient development on the continent.

CCDA-VII will be organized into five sub-themes constituting the “the 5 ‘Is’ of implementing the Paris Agreement in Africa” – Intentions, Interests, Issues, Investments, and Inventory

Click here for more information on the conference.

Contact Person: Sam Ogallah 

Partner: GermanWatch and CARE Germany

Region: Africa

 

This project seeks to scale-up existing CS capacities to advocate for ambitious proposals, bring on-the-ground expertise to the table, help embed GCF-funded activities in a broader societal support for transformation and increase accountability of national authorities underscoring the reality that Civil Society engagement is key to achieve the intended paradigm shift towards low-emissions and climate-resilient economies and societies (GCF funding mandate) which the GCF aims at.


The project aims to support broader African CS engagement in the critical early implementation phase of the GCF beyond existing capacities. The project consists of three work areas:

 

1. Preparing/testing readiness materials facilitating CSO engagement;

2. Supporting CSO engagement in key African countries (primarily those with early GCF projects);

3. Sharing of experiences at regional and global scale supporting expanded CSO engagement in Africa and beyond.

 

It is implemented in Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Morocco.  The project is implemented through a consortium which PACJA is part of with GermanWatch and CARE Germany leading the process.

 

Expected Outcome

 

Enhanced capacity among Civil Society Organizations that enables them engage in a critical and constructive way with governments and relevant institutions in order to contribute to an increase of the transformative effect of GCF projects.

 

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