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Civil Societies in Turkana County under the auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance have submitted a raft of recommendations to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources aimed at helping the local community to cope with the effects of climate change.

During the roundtable meeting that was organized by PACJA, the CSOs recommended that the county government designate an area for herding, adding that there was a need for a holistic approach to pasture management. They further urged that the county government introduces the practice of growing fodder in the county to boost their ability to feed their cattle.

They urged the county government to gazette more forest areas such as Lochoko to increase forest reserves and called for a tree planting component to be included in the county integrated development plan.

The local CSOs further called for the improvement of cooking stoves to make them more efficient thus reducing the felling of trees for firewood, adding that the initiative should be extended to the refugee camps as they too contribute to the felling of trees for firewood in the country.

The members noted the there was a need for the county government to control wetlands, water catchment areas and unsustainable tapping of water by small-scale farmers along River Turkwel.

On pollution, the CSOs noted that the county government would be required to ensure that Tullow Oil disposes of its waste safely so as not to affect the people and livestock in the surroundings.

They called on the county government to develop the county climate change policy and fast track the implementation of policies and Bills that have been put in place to safeguard the environment.

Saying that capacity building was important, the local civil society organisations urged the county government to conduct training through public platforms to teach the community about the importance of conserving their environment. They further called for the re-introduction of 4K clubs in schools to introduce the younger generation to issues of environmental management early.

The noted that the greening programme should be undertaken by all county departments and the communities, adding that there was a need to monitor the tree nurseries to ensure the growth of tree cover.

The members recommended that the county set up a climate change fund to help in mitigation actions, adding that the county should prioritize issues to do with the environment during the budget process. 

They highlighted the need for research in generating evidence on best practices in environmental conservation, adding that the county government should support community activities by providing resources and working with other partners to ensure the success of projects.

The meeting that took place on Thursday, November 16, 2017, was attended by 12 CSOs working within Turkana County.

The roundtable meeting was organized under the project “Improving Civil Society Engagements in Mainstreaming Climate Change at National and county level sectoral policies and programmes” that is currently being implemented by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in Baringo and Turkana.

To realize its objectives, PACJA is working in collaboration with relevant government ministries including the ministry of Environment & Natural Resources, Ministry of Water, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Energy and Private sector, as well as other civil society organisations both at the national and county level.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - President Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement has been met with strong criticism from African civil society sounding a knell against countries or parties that follow in his footsteps.

African civil society under the leadership of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA have called on countries “to make the ultimate choice either in support of people and planet or Donald Trump and profit”.

In a report, “CSO Demands to COP23” ,the civil society organizations stated unequivocally that the time of action in support of people and planet is now and not later. It cautioned that silence or inaction by any party(country) will be synonymous to backing Donald Trump’s pull out decision.

“Inaction by any party is equivalent to alliance with Donald Trump” the report stated.

They describe the pullout decision by Trump as an affront and travesty to climate justice, health of the planet and a threat to humanity in general and Africa in particular.

The report noted that Africa is feeling the pinch of climate change most with  alarm bells ringing already on a number of issues, which are the cause of great concern among the African civil society and African people in general;

The failure to close the finance gap, the inadequate current pledges to stay below 2°C; the delay in addressing ‘orphan issues’ under the Paris Agreement namely, common timeframes for NDCs, adjustment of existing NDCs, the response measures forum, recognition of developing countries’ adaptation efforts, guidance related to finance, setting a new collective goal on finance, developed countries’ biennial finance communications, and education, training and awareness; the slow pace and ambiguity in sequencing of work on the Paris Agreement Rule Book thus creating roadblocks in advancing the its formulation, among others,were short falls raised in the report.

The report hailed Fiji’s Presidency of COP23 which they said should be seen as symbolic, coming at a time island states have suffered enormously due to climate-related hurricanes and tornadoes. 

The report also called on delegates to fulfill demands: pursuant to Article 2 of the Paris Agreement with pledges to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, all parties to practically commit beyond their current level of emission target in their NDCs to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century and resubmit. 

It should be noted that President Trump’s withdrawal has galvanized criticism even from US citizens and companies as well as the International community.

Like African civil society, several of the largest U.S. companies — such as Apple, Exxon Mobile and Ford Motor Company have also pledged to either stick to the climate accord or continue cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades in clear departure from Trump’s position.

However African civil society organizations are still calling on those sitting on the fence to come out publicly and declare their position. “We believe that Trump has silent allies who may not be candid enough to come out and publicly denounce globally agreed pact which offers hope for the people,” the report said.

 According to PACJA's Secretary General, Mithika Mwenda, the report is in line with the action plan of African civil society to drive national governments to action. “Civil society has an important role to play in ongoing climate talks, working in tandem to push national governments to action,” he said.

“Leaders have the liberty to make their own decisions but civil society represents the voice of the grass root communities and this is very important,” Mithika said.

The African position paper by the African civil society also wants development of mitigation mechanism to consider lessons and experience from the Joint Implementation mechanism and Clean Development mechanism. 
“This should be backed by a centralized governance system of the mechanism for easy coordination, accountability and transparency” the report says.

It also demands that adaptation be crucial to protecting and promoting development gains, particularly in Africa and for support to be expedited to the least developed countries and other developing country Parties for the formulation of national adaptation plans.
 

 Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Secretary General Mithika Mwenda has lauded United Nations Environment for the positive changes it has made since the elevation of the UNEP into a fully-fledged agency of the UN during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

 Mr Mwenda noted that PACJA has enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the Regional Office for Africa, adding that the relationship is now anchored in a memorandum of understanding where they have elaborated on key areas where they can add value to each other.

“This is incredibly laudable, and this should be a lesson which we would like to share with other CSOs. We don’t lament but work in the spirit of constructive engagement. Where we differ, we have laid down procedures for dispute resolution – but I can’t remember an incidence that took us to this level,” he said in a statement read on his behalf by Lisa Kamau.

“PACJA’s example is an illustration of how we can work with UNEP to do what the civil society is known for – policy influence. Through this partnership, we have been able to greatly influence climate change and broader environmental policies under the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). PACJA has emerged as one of the most influential and visible environmental and sustainable platforms in Africa and globally,” he further stated.

His statement was read during a briefing workshop for NGOs on Engagement with UN Environment Assembly on Monday, September 25.

The meeting was co-organised by UNEP, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Transparency International and the National Council of NGOs and brought together NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs from across the country.

 

 

By Isaiah Esipisu

ABIDJAN, Cote d'Ivoire, (PAMACC News) – Kenya’s Prof Ruth Oniang’o and Mrs Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly from Mali have jointly won $10,000 worth of the Africa Food Prize - 2017.


The women, working at both ends of the agriculture supply chain were awarded the prize for their exemplary efforts in driving Africa's agriculture transformation at the 2017 Africa Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan. 

Hon. Prof Oniang'o is recognised as the leading voice of nutrition in Africa and for her relentless advocacy for the availability and affordability of diverse and nutritious crops for millions across the continent. She pioneered nutrition leadership in academia, research, and policy to improve food security and nutrition. Her groundbreaking work, with farmers' groups and rural communities connects agriculture and nutrition both in research and practice providing a natural link between agriculture and nutrition.   

Mrs Coulibaly, on the other hand has been feted for her mission to produce and supply improved and high-yielding seed that have led to improved incomes and nutrition for millions in Mali and other West African countries. 

Through sheer hard work and consistency, Coulibaly has overcome multiple hurdles to build a leading seed company that is fast becoming a model for Africa's agri-businesses.  Her company, Faso Kaba, specialises in the production and sale of a wide range of improved seeds, including cereals, oil seeds, market gardening, fodder and tuber seeds that can improve agricultural yields by up to 40 per cent. 

The Prize recognises and puts a spotlight on shining examples of agricultural projects that are transforming lives and economies. 

According to H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria and the Chairperson of the Prize Committee, the 2017 Prize winners come from both the public and private sector representing how both groups are working together to transform agriculture into a high value industry sector. He said that this year’s award attracted over 600 nominees.

"It gives me immense pride that this year's winners are both women. This is a clear demonstration that women in Africa are at the forefront in terms of connecting the rising food needs and the continent's vision for prosperity that is driven by agriculture and agri-business. The fact that the winners work at either end of the agriculture value chain, represent both private and public sector and are from different parts of Africa reflects the wide impact agriculture has in transforming economies and reducing poverty, way beyond the fields," he former Nigerian president.

A strong believer in farming being the bridge between humankind and nature, Prof. Ruth Oniang'o spends most of her time with smallholder farmers and women in rural areas helping them to transform their household's ability to produce, purchase and consume foods in higher quality and quantities. She reckons that smallholder farmers are the most valuable part of the market and the entrepreneurial value chain.

"I believe we are what we eat. I realized early on in my life, when I dreamt of being a doctor, that food is the first medicine," said Prof. Oniang'o in a statement to the press. "I am humbled to receive this Prize and believe it highlights the work we have done and more importantly, it will contribute towards shaping our continent's food future. I am a strong believer that Africa shall, one day, feed the world." said Prof Oniang'o.

For her part, Mme. Coulibaly observed that the opportunities for Africa agribusinesses are endless. She however, decried the enormous challenges African entrepreneurs especially start-ups face as they try to set up businesses. 

"I am honored and humbled to receive this Prize. It is, in part, a validation of the hard work that I have put into building Faso Kaba with the support of my family and staff. I would like to say that it has been easy.  There are many times when I almost gave up as I struggled to raise to finance the business. I am glad I stayed true to my vision, attended many trainings and worked with partners that believed in my vision," " she said.  Today, we have become a model that many people that are starting businesses come to. I no longer book appointments with the banks. They call me with financing proposal. I look forward to a time when businesses will not struggle to start like I did," she added.

The 2016 winner of Africa Food Prize is Dr Kanayo Nwanze, the former President of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). Dr. Nwanze was awarded for his visionary leadership and passionate advocacy to place African smallholder farmers at the centre of the global agricultural agenda, and for his demonstrated success in advancing policies, programs and resources that have improved the lives of millions across the continent.

This story was first published on http://www.pamacc.org/

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.

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