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Pan African Climate Justice Alliance Secretary General Mithika Mwenda has been elected vice chairman of the Institutional Collaboration Platform (ICP) of the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) in Africa.

The CR4D in Africa Platform is an Africa-led initiative that was launched to strengthen links between climate science research and climate information needs in support development planning in Africa.

It was the outcome of the African Climate Conference 2013 that was held in Arusha, Tanzania, which brought together more than 300 participants drawn from top African climate scientists, policymakers, climate service providers, and practitioners to discuss the state of African Climate science and existing gaps in climate knowledge.

Participants at the ACC-2013 recommended the establishment of an African Climate Research Agenda for Climate Services and Development in order to advance new frontiers of African climate research, focusing on four priority areas of Creation of co-designed multi-disciplinary research to improve forecast skills and reliability, Filling gaps in multi-sectorial and multi-disciplinary data sets for sector-specific vulnerability and impacts assessments, Enhancing Africa’s scientific and institutional capacities and networks to undertake cutting edge user-drive climate research and Fostering effective collaboration and interactions among climate science, services, policy, and practice communities in order to improve mainstreaming of climate services in decision-making. 

The initiative is supported by partnership between African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) of UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), with the ACPC providing Secretariat services. 

 

 Jenniffer Kalunda, a 36-year-old farmer from Mathiakani in Kitui County is expecting a bumper yield in the next rainy season after adopting climate change adaptation practices taught by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

According to Mrs Kalunda, she decided to follow the advice on early farm preperation, soil and water conservation technology by digging terraces, and crop diversification.

The mother of four told our field officers that during the dry season she works at a nearby quarry, adding that she hopes the interventions will yield more produce for her family and for sale to her neighbours.

She noted that she had experienced the impacts of climate change and thanked PACJA for organising the Community training on Climate Change Adaptation, Natural Resource Management and Agricultural production that she believes will enable her to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

GAZI BAY, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Putting on gumboots and armed with clubs and machetes, Hassam Bakari, 44, a forest guard in Makongeni mangrove fishing village at Gazi Bay along Kenya’s coastline slashes through a thick canopy, making his way along a trail of mixed shrub trees in swamps.

Hassam is among over 400 community members of the Mikoko Pamoja (in Swahili meaning Mangroves Together) project driving the expansion of Kenya’s first blue carbon credit scheme, providing multiple income generating activities and fighting climate change in the region.

“We now protect this area day and night because the livelihood and future of our children depends on these mangroves,” Hassam said during a visit of researchers and environment experts to the mangrove restoration project in the run up to the UN Environment General Assembly on December 2, 2017.

Like Hassam, the people of this coastal community say they are giving their all to make the mangrove restoration project a global reference, but for lack of financial means the impetus for expansion and protection is coming from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), via the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP.

According to Anne Wanjoru, Social impact officer of Mikoko Pamoja, the expansion of the mangrove restoration project had become necessary following increasing acceptance of the population to engage fully in the project.

“The population are now willing to voluntarily participate and this is driving the expansion and protection scheme of the project, “Anne said.
The expansion phase of the project that started in 2015 with funding of 100.000 dollars from GEF via

UNEP has seen the acres of the mangrove forest of Mikoko Pamoja increase by 117 bringing the total size of mangroves in Makonzeni, Gazi and Chale to 615 acres.

For the local population this means more income not only from a surging carbon credit sales, but also a multiplication of income generating activities.

“We are getting more and more tourists, scientists, researchers visiting and this means big markets for our fish, handicraft, restaurant business and improved income for the population,” says Jesphat Mmtwan the project coordinator.

The new community plan of action is not only limited to expansion. Efforts at protection have more than double. Every household in the community sends representatives to act as forest guards.

“We are one family here and need to protect what we have toiled to put together,” said Mohamed Ardi, another fisher man and trader in Gazi bay.

A tower of over 40 meters high has been constructed to permit community forest guards have an overview of the area against invaders while a 450 meters broad walk also set up not only to permit tourists and other visitors get a better appreciation of the rich mangrove forest but also to reinforce security, the project officials say.

The expansion of Gazi bay mangrove has made the project the biggest in Africa according to UNEP programme management officer, Gabriel Grimsditch.

On a global scale, the restoration expansion will serve as a push to ongoing drive towards including mangroves in the national Redd+ action plan and strategies.

Mangroves, scientists say has a higher capacity of capturing carbon than biomass (terrestrial rianforest trees).

According James Kairo, chief scientist with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, KMFRI , pitlands in mangroves store three times more carbon than terrestrial rainforest.

The biggest storage on carbon is in the soil and in mangrove areas, tidal movement make sediments get trapped by mangroves and there is build up of carbon storage, he explains.

“Mangroves are unique tropical forest with an exceptional ability to capture and store carbon,” Kairo says.

The Gazi Mangrove project for example stores over 3000 tonnes of carbon per year which is sold at over 12,000 US dollars annually according to statistics from KMFRI. The carbons are bought mostly by Earth Watch and the money obtained is ploughed back into development projects in the community, the villagers benefiting from the projects admit.

Money obtained from sale of carbon credits is used to buy books for children and equip schools, making it easier and encouraging for parents to send their children to school, a complete break from a long standing tradition where children were initiated into fishing and many abandoned school because their parents could not afford.

“Schools in Gazi and Makongeni have been reconstructed with more classrooms, textbooks distributed to pupils for free and this has encouraged many more parents to send their children to school,” says Anne Wanjiru.

The Mangrove forest in the area had in the past suffered from serious degradation by activities of, commercial loggers, and industries dealing with wood from mangroves as well as local fishing community members smoking fish. The community members say illegal and abusive mangrove cutting use to scare fish away making life perilous for the fishing communities of Makongeni, Chale and Gazi villages.

“We could hardly get fish even to eat, talk less of selling to earn income to support our families and send our children to school,” says Josephat Mnwarima, fisherman and coordinator of the Mikoko Pamoja mangroves restoration and protection project.

But now things have changed for the better according to members of the fishing community.

“I now catch three times more fish than I used to before 2010,” says Wanga Ahmed a fisherman from Wasini Island one of the villages in the area.

He expresses hope that with the ongoing expansion scheme, their community will in the future by a haven for varied species of fish bringing more income and better living condition to the population

UNEP says the mangrove forest expansion scheme is a global project also happening in other countries in the continent like Madagascar, Mozambique.

“UNEP is supporting similar initiatives in other countries in the continent,” Gabriel says.

However the scheme is not without challenges.

“We have had a series of challenges driving the expansion scheme,” he admits.

These include difficulties in carrying out scientific assessment of carbon stocks, getting the mostly illiterate village communities understand the importance of the project and also getting more buyers of carbon stocks.

“We also have problems of leakages. In the course of protecting one area we sometimes discover the mangrove cutters have relocated to other areas,” Gabriel says.

As solution, he says UNEP is supporting the planting of casuarina trees, a specie that grows quickly for wood used by locals thus preventing the cutting of mangroves.

African authorities have saluted the support by development stakeholders to the Kenyan local community mangrove conservation initiative to fight climate change, calling on the project to be replicated in other coastal regions in the continent.

“We have to be proud of our continent and support good practices that serves as world model like the local community-led mangrove conservation efforts in Kenya. In the next African environment ministers meeting in South Africa 2018 efforts at replicating such initiative will be put on the table,” announced  Pacome Moubelet Boubeya, President of African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, at the ongoing UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

OPINION

 “The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.” – Dr. Glen Barry 

The global environment is collapsing and dying. For too long we have lived our lives as if nature doesn’t matter and have failed to embrace an ecology ethic. We have treated water, air, land, and oceans as resources to be plundered and as waste dumps. Nothing grows forever – certainly not economies on the back of finite ecological systems – and mass psychosis pretending infinite growth is possible is a death wish.

Such ecological imprudence is now catching up with us, threatening our very daily bread.

Climate change is having profound impacts upon agricultural systems including a lack of regular seasonality. That is, the boundaries between cold and warm, and dry and wet, periods have become highly variable. In much of the world this makes it difficult to know when to grow your food. Knowing when to plant and when to harvest is becoming extremely problematic and this aseasonality is decreasing yields. This climate weirding is the direct result of our haphazard changing of atmospheric chemistry.

Climate change is making it more difficult to grow food the way we have been. Huge swathes of farmland are faced by droughts and floods. Temperate region’s lack of cold weather and snow has meant an increase in agricultural pests. Similarly, factory animal agriculture and fisheries are being hammered from disease, parasites, and decreased feed stocks brought on by abrupt climate change.

Shifting seasonality, and at times even a lack of seasonality, simply exacerbate problems associated with industrial farming. Modern agriculture consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels which cause both warming and are finite. Factory animal farming’s prodigious amounts of fecal waste become even more toxic in the heat. Increasingly toxic GMO Frankenseeds are being peddled in conjunction with a soup of dangerous chemicals as a means to keep production high.

Our increased dependence upon limited genotypes mean that one crop or animal disease could swiftly kill vast amounts of agricultural products ushering in massive price increases and widespread hunger. Soils are eroding and becoming less fertile due to increased industrial intensification.

Any increase in plant growth from increased temperatures and/or carbon dioxide is quickly eliminated as another limiting factor such as water and nutrient availability goes unmet. In many cases rising temperatures simply kill plants. And the food that is grown is often stressed and thus contains fewer nutrients. The end result of climate-stressed industrial agriculture is low-quality junk foods that are killing our bodies and our planet. Much of the over-developed world is addicted to the sugar and additives found in this industrially produced crap.

As the global food supply becomes more precarious and subject to unexpected extreme weather events, the global population continues to soar and has now reached approximately 7.5 billion people.

Already nearly one billion people experience chronic hunger, sapping their soul and energy, and providing limited opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life. Billions of emerging consumers now view steaks and hamburgers as their birthright, with all the attendant medical and ecological costs. In much of the world the cost of food is by far the greatest expenditure, and quality food is increasingly expensive in over-developed nations as well.

The world’s agricultural system is weak and vulnerable to major disruption that will soon result in an international famine of the sort that already ravages numerous nations such as Haiti and Somalia. Abrupt climate change may well be the final straw that ushers in global mass hunger and collapse into the bad sort of anarchy.

It is difficult to communicate the horrors that await us if the globe faces widespread failure of food systems. Suffice it to say that post-modern collapse will utterly strip cosmopolitan consumers of technological vestiges of comfort including variety of high-quality and nutritious food. Rural areas will face a shortage of open-pollinating seed due to seed monopolies, and lack of traditional farming know how. Everyday life will be a struggle to avoid murder, find food, and otherwise meet basic needs. Sadly this is already the reality for a billion people who live in abject poverty, and soon it will be all our fates if we don’t change.

It is increasingly probable that climate change will precipitate a massive crop failure on a global scale. Perhaps America’s wheat and corn crops fail. Or globally a drought persists for years that wrecks the majority of Earth’s foodstocks. Or a super pathogen takes out genetically modified corn. One can expect in our lifetime for periods where the supermarkets are mostly empty and each of us left to persist from what we can raise, exchange, or gather locally.

Imagine the coming horror of starvation in the heartland as formerly petite bourgeoisie experience the depredations of the street people they once ignored.

The solutions are difficult yet known. We must re-localize our agriculture systems. More of our food must be grown in our own bioregion, and exchanged and consumed locally. Much more of our population is going to have to find employment in growing food. Every human being will be called upon to grow an increasing percentage of their own food, and bartering and otherwise exchanging their surplus with those nearby.

The use of fossil fuels must be eliminated from the global food chain. Factory animal feedlots must be eliminated and whatever meat is produced come from time-tested small scale animal husbandry practices (or when desired eliminated).

Monocultures protected with synthetic toxic pesticides and herbicides are literally death traps. We must return to inter-cropping and no-till agriculture that focuses upon maintaining the soil’s structure and fertility. The emphasis must be upon organic food production and permaculture from natural seed stocks, whereby the boundaries between natural ecosystems, tree crops, and food crops are not strictly delineated.

Permaculture is committed to realizing the full potential of righteous land and soil management to benefit the community’s well-being including both high-quality food and ecosystems. Increasingly our forest tree crops and traditional garden vegetables will be intermingled, to the extent feasible given a bioregion’s flora, as forests and gardens merge.

In general, an agro-ecology ethic requires a profound shift in global consciousness to re-embrace our oneness with nature. Industrial agriculture has viewed natural ecosystems as decadent wastelands that should be destroyed, rather than embracing them as the ecosystem engines that make the biosphere habitable. And which provide the genetic seed stocks and inspiration for constructing semi-natural productive ecosystems.

Continued exponential growth in human populations, particularly as some have so much as many have so little, can only result in global ecological collapse. Human population growth must be limited with urgency through incentives, and educating all girls and boys, including in the use of contraception; or the global environmental system will seek balance far more harshly. And there is no path to food sustainability that does not include reducing military expenditures, a basic income, and more sharing. Fairness is not communism.

In sum, much more work must be done to achieve the balance between natural and semi-natural productive ecosystems necessary to sustain Earth, her humanity, and all creatures. My peer-reviewed science “Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse” suggests that 2/3 of Earth’s land mass must remain as ecosystems, 2/3 of which must be natural ecosystems (44%), and 1/3 semi-natural permaculture and other productive ecosystems (22%).

Or we face biosphere collapse and the end of being.

The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.

EcoInternet is committed to re-localizing, detoxifying, and making global food systems ecologically sustainable. We are in the process of creating Internet resources which will help fulfill this vision. And we could use your help. More soon on these exciting initiatives.

This article first appeared on www.pamacc.org 

The Arctic is melting with no turning back. Climate change increased rainfall during Hurricane Harvey by at least 15%. And several extreme weather events that occurred in 2016 would not have been possible without man-made global warming.

These are among the findings being discussed this week at this fall’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, the largest gathering of Earth scientists in the world. Taken together, the findings show the deepening urgency of the fight against climate change.

“Climate change is hurting us without a doubt,” said James Byrne, a professor at the University of Lethbridge who studies climate change, at a press conference. “Houston, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, British Columbia — worst fire season ever. California, I think they declared it the worst fire season.”

Scientists have explored the link between climate change and extreme weather events for years, but many of the conclusions have relied on forecasts of potential future damage. This year, scientists say, the findings are no longer theoretical. Man-made global warming is causing problems here and now.

Take the American Meteorological Society’s report on extreme weather events in 2016, the sixth annual iteration of the report. In the past, the group found that likelihood had increased the chances of certain extreme weather events. But this year scientists found that 2016’s record global temperatures and historic warm waters in the Bering Sea “would not have been possible” in a world without human-caused climate change.

“These events were not just influenced by human-caused climate change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld of the American Meteorological Society at a press conference. “Some of the events in 2016 could not have happened without climate change.”

The report also highlighted global heat waves, an extreme occurrence of El Niño and bleaching of coral reefs. These extreme events are all closely tied to climate change, though they remain theoretically possible in a world without the phenomenon.

Another report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the state of continued ice melt, loss of snow cover and warm temperatures will be the “new normal” in the Arctic. The signs of climate change in the region have been pronounced for years as air temperatures have risen there at twice the rate as they have globally.

The effects of a melting Arctic — and the strong likelihood that it will not return to a normal state anytime soon — has significant implications far beyond its boundaries. Arctic sea ice plays an important role moderating global temperatures as it reflects sunlight back into space. And scientists say that the swift warming in the Arctic is a concerning sign of what’s to come globally. “Unlike Vegas what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” said Tim Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator, at a press conference. “It affects the rest of the planet.”

Two separate studies presented at the conference showed that climate change worsened rainfall when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston earlier by somewhere between 15% and 38%. That storm brought nearly 50 inches of rain to some areas and caused billions in damages. The research comes as scientists increasingly try to draw explicit conclusions about the effect of climate change and individual storms, a practice unthinkable just a decade ago.

The warning from scientists comes as policymakers across the globe continue to grapple how to stem temperature rise. Countries have committed to trying to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, but recent research shows leaders remain far from meeting that goal.

This article was published in http://time.com/

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has welcomed the commitments by developed states and private businesses to move away from fossil fuels toward greener enterprises in a bid to mitigate climate change.

Speaking in Paris, France during the One Planet Summit, PACJA Secretary General Mithika Mwenda lauded the commitments by private organisations to mitigate climate change, saying it was time rich nations took responsibility for the part they played in speeding up climate change.

Here are five of the major areas covered during the summit:

  • Oil and gas

The World Bank said it would stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction — representing about two percent of its current portfolio — from 2019, becoming the first multilateral bank to take such a step.

From next year the bank will publish a yearly index of greenhouse gas-related projects it provides funding for and will price in carbon costs when it comes to assessing future investments.

  • Coal

Insurance giant Axa announced it will cease investing in any company involved in the construction of coal plants and will withdraw about 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion) from the sector.

The French firm also said it will pull 700 million euros from projects linked to tar sands pipeline projects, and put nine billion euros into "green" infrastructural investment through 2020.

  • Investors

More than 200 large-scale investors, including HSBC and the major US pension fund CalPERS, have agreed to put pressure on the world's 100 most polluting companies to persuade them to reduce emissions.

The "Climate Action 100+" initiative will target oil giants such as BP and Chevron as well as transport behemoths Airbus and Ford and mining groups ArcelorMittal, BHP Billiton and Glencore.

  • Aid

The French Development Agency (AFD) signed agreements with a clutch of African states including Niger and Tunisia to help them in their fight against climate change, including countering the effects of erosion.

Under the agreements, 30 million euros will be set aside for 15 developing counties over four years.

  • Farming

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission promised to earmark more than $600 million for agricultural research to combat the effects of climate change.

The Gates Foundation itself pledged $315 million to help the poorest players in the sector, notably in Africa, adapt to global warming, while the European Commission pledged $318 million.

The One Planet Summit was convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

More information from AFP

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, with funding support from Trocaire through the Irish Aid 2017-2021 Kenya programme, on Monday conducted a training on energy policies and adoption of available technologies in Mwingi, Kitui County.

The training that was held under the project “Enhancing Policy Change on Natural Resource Management and Climate Change at the National and County level’’ brought together 40 participants drawn from the Natural Resource Management (NRM) group and Community Disaster Management Rapid Response (CDMRR).

The groups were taken from Ngumi and Ngomeni Wards in Mwingi Sub-County in Kitui County. During the training, the participants were trained on to the existing policies at the county and national level. The participants also gained knowledge in the following critical topics: Energy Efficient Cooking stoves, Efficient Charcoal production (including Kitui county charcoal production regulation), Solar power, Biogas production, and Biomass.

The participants learned that by adopting clean energy technologies they would reap immense benefits including reduced time and cost needed to get energy services while protecting their local environment and subsequently, contributing to hunger and poverty reduction in their communities.

Speaking after the conclusion of the session, the participants noted that they are happy with the new knowledge and skills acquired during the training, adding that after the training they developed key policy message to address to their policymakers.   A similar training is ongoing in Ishira-Embu County.

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The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is today (December 7) holding a Food Security and climate change workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania under the OSIEA funded project dubbed “Strengthening The Capacity Of Pastoralists Organizations To Engage In Climate Change Processes At National And Regional Levels”.

The workshop that brings together pastoralist organisations from different areas in the country aims to build the capacity of said organisations in dealing with climate change to enhance food security of pastoralists as well as exploring other economic activities with a view of enhancing the community’s resilience to the effects of climate change.

The meeting will also provide a platform on which to discuss a supportive policy arrangement that would encourage climate action in pastoral communities.

Pastoralism is the main source of livelihood in arid and semi-arid areas of eastern Africa where livestock has not only economic value, but also social. However, climate change presents a danger to the stability of this way of life

According to a 2015 report, Tanzania has the second largest livestock population in the African continent comprising 25 million cattle, 98 per cent of which are indigenous breeds, complemented by 16.7 million goats, and 8 million sheep, with livestock activities contributing 7.4 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

 

 

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