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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.

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00

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.

 

 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:00

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

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

 
Thursday, 15 February 2018 00:00

By Jacob Munoru

Traditional African cultural practices, previously regarded as inferior or incompetent, are increasingly gaining recognition as an important component of existing conservation strategies.

Local communities attach great value to traditional cultural practices, it is therefore apparent that official recognition of these practices will be an important factor complementing the current conservation knowledge.

Cultural factors can influence and regulate people’s behaviour towards forests or tree species and their habitats for instance among the Mt Kenya communities the Mugumo tree is considered sacred and traditional dwelling places for the Gods in some Kenyan communities are on the steep slopes of hills and mountains which are considered sacred, such beliefs and practices result in the preservation of these areas and act as important drivers of environmental change.

Traditional cultural practices among other strategies have promising potential to enhance sustainable resource use and conservation, therefore, realizing the desire for ecological and social sustainability.

Despite concerted conservation efforts, a considerable number of species is threatened with extinction mainly because of anthropogenic impacts such as deforestation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, the introduction of new exotic species and pollution.

Promotion of the use of cultural management knowledge coincides well with the philosophy of co-management approach that advocates sharing of power, rights, and responsibilities between the state and local resource users.

This argument is centred on the management capabilities of local communities and possible dangers of disregarding them. The fact that the communities have regular interactions and are more familiar with the resources in their environment than other potential actors makes them one of the best managers of the resource, who could contribute effectively to current conservation efforts.

Local communities understand the source of the water and for how long this resource can last if properly and efficiently utilized, and how to avoid acute shortages as is the case in our country now.

Traditional African cultural practices oversee and enforce community rules/regulations or taboos that when enforced, they act as a supreme court with the final say on all forest conservation matters. Their conservation role is still evident in some areas for example in Meru, the council of elders Njuri Ncheke shrine bushes, forests or woodlots and streams are well preserved, they act as carbon sinks in the areas where they are found therefore checking on pollution and global warming.

This has remained true despite cultural practices being marginalized by modern management systems and cultural dilution caused by immigration, formal education, and adaptation of modern religions.

Both colonial and post-colonial conservation policies ignored the potential role of traditional African cultural practices in contributing to conservation goals. Factors such as rapid population increase, inadequate local support for conservation policies, limited strategies for survival among the local communities and inadequate capacity of the government to fund law enforcement operations against illegal activities subject our forests to unsustainable use.

Our policymakers should, therefore, accord greater attention to traditional institutions so that local people’s conservation role is fairly acknowledged and potential synergies with conservation objectives realized.

The national and county governments should reward traditional people for sustainable conservation practices observed through their institutions and sensitize policy makers to include traditional conservation practices in conservation Agenda.

The practices both modern Silvicultural forest Management principles and the African traditional cultural practices in conservation are one of multiple strategies for complementing rather than replacing existing central management systems.

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