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Items filtered by date: December 2018

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) joined the rest of the world in celebrating the World Environment Day 2020. This important day is celebrated on June 5, every year. This day is set aside by United Nations for the purpose of raising awareness on environmental issues. The theme of this year’s celebrations revolves around biodiversity under the slogan: “It is time for Nature”.

Our platforms across the continent marked the world environment day through a variety of activities, with the common thing being webinars covering regions, videos making calls on the world to join in the work to treat nature better, as well as activations in social media for the same purpose. From Madagascar, to Ethiopia, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Ghana, the calls targeted all, from youth, to women, men, those living with disabilities, children, to act as individuals, and also to push relevant authorities to do their part in conservation. The videos were uploaded in the PACJA’s Youtube and shared widely.

In Kenya, the Kenya Platform on Climate Governance (KPCG), started the celebrations in May through a webinar on “Sustaining environmental conservation during and post Covid-19”. The Platform has also been mobilising the communities living around Mt Kenya ecosystem in planting more than 100,000 bamboo seedlings. The celebrations on June 5 culminated in a high-level webinar on biodiversity health and livelihood. It was co-hosted with other partners including WWF, Council of Governors and the UN Environment Programme. The platform also conducted activities at the county level to mark this important day. They included planting of trees and cleaning up the Indian Ocean beaches in Lamu. Several staff at the PACJA secretariat in Nairobi, starting from the Executive Director Mithika Mwenda, the Head of Programmes Salina Sanou, thematic lead on Resilient People, Society and Economies, as well as Project officer Collins Oduor and members of the KPCG (through MPIDO) Elijah Toirai and Abdul Baabad (Takataka Foundation in Lamu)  participated in debates and interviews on national and regional radio stations to discuss several aspects of climate change, climate justice and biodiversity. To sum it up, a game to interest the youth on matters of conservation and climate change was launched, while a word-smith and youths recorded another video in the Kibra slums, one of Africa’s biggest informal settlements, with a message to the youth to help preserve what nature gives for free.

Our platforms in the southern part of the continent, including Botswana and South Africa hosted a high level webinar themed: “Reducing Biodiversity Loss and Finding Solutions in Nature for Climate Change”. They Bohtswana team further shared sanitary towels, protective gear to prevent transmission of Covid-19 among locals as well as food stuff to the needy.

PACJA-Nigeria (CSDevNet) also hosted a high level webinar on biological life and coastal communities. PACJA Morocco took part in this webinar. PACJA Gabon and Ivory Coast platforms marked the day through a webinar, while Burkina Faso and Togo planted trees to mark the day, while PACJA’s platform in Tunisia focused on conservation of medicinal plants as part of celebrations to mark the World Environment Day. This they did by convening a physical meeting with representatives of several civil society organisations and other local actors from Bizerte to discuss the Northern African country’s strategy on preservation and enhancement of medicinal plants in the region.

Biodiversity is an asset to our planet. All parts of an ecosystem – animals, plants, microbes, and humans – are interconnected. In order for the planet to thrive, we need to not only find ways to meet increasing demands for better lives, but to do so in ways that also protect healthy ecosystems and the many organisms that inhabit them. We are living in times when biodiversity is severely threatened. We have seen many cases of organisms becoming extinct while the population of others is declining sharply.

Lately there has been a worrying trend of human beings interfering with forests and animal habitats. This has culminated in human-wildlife conflicts. Unfortunately, conflict between people and wildlife today ranks amongst the main threats to conservation in Africa - alongside habitat destruction. As a result, there exist many human-wildlife conflict hotspots in the continent. Such conflicts are mainly attributed to increased human population and loss of animal habitats. Uncontrolled human activities, especially crop farming, charcoal burning, timber harvesting for commercial purposes, and human settlement have denied nature its rightful peace. In some areas, there is even competition between human beings and animals for the few existing water points.

The worst and latest trend that is a threat to wildlife habitats has been infrastructural developments implemented in total disregard of sensitivity of these fragile and yet critical ecosystems.

PACJA has been at the forefront in advocating policies that are responsive to the global needs for conservation of biodiversity. This year, we were looking forward to the 15th Conference of Parties for the convention on biodiversity aim to agree on the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), including 2030 targets for maintaining biodiversity and a longer-term vision for nature. These negotiations are important since the contemporary world is unprecedentedly losing biodiversity, carbon stocks, and ecosystem services. A failure to conserve habitats and halt species’ extinction would have knock-on effects on objectives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), since significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from the destruction and degradation of forests, peatlands, wetlands and other high carbon ecosystems. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected many conferences, including UNFCCC’s COP 26. The Covid-19 pandemic was unprecedented but it has disrupted the entire globe, whereupon in such phenomena, social structures and institutions are put into test. Unlike other calamities like climate-induced droughts, flooding, hurricanes and typhoons that are usually localised and come and go fast, the rapid manner in which Covid-19 has engulfed the entire world has left humanity in a state of shock, socially, economically and politically, and will lead to emergence of new cultural practices, power relations and resource distribution.

The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the already delicate situation in the African continent, which faces a myriad other challenges, including climate-induced droughts, floods, landslides, desert locusts invasions and water scarcity; and deepening poverty.

Africa faces a high potential for increased emissions, as its forests are under continuous threat from deforestation and degradation. This is because Africa is home to the largest proportion of forest-dependent subsistence households in the world. Consequently, the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Africa are mainly subsistence livelihood-related national and local scale drivers. This situation is likely to be worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exerted a lot of pressure to the economies world over and more so in Africa. Many people have lost jobs and their livelihoods. The rural poor communities in Africa are barely struggling to survive. There is a likelihood that the forests in Africa will experience increased pressure from communities seeking survival in the midst of this Covid -19 crisis, thereby watering down the gains so far made in conservation.

PACJA being a network with more than 1,000 CSOs distributed in 48 countries across Africa has curved its niche in the climate change space. We believe the World Environment Day is a critical time when the world should reflect on the planetary health. We believe that there are linkages and interdependencies between biodiversity and climate change in the preparation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This is informed by reports and assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services without prejudice to the process for developing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and respecting the mandates of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNFCCC.

 

In the end, and in order to promote biodiversity economy, PACJA called for an ambitious post-2020 framework, underpinned by transformative change to curb biodiversity decline, with strategic goals that address all three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity with smart targets that address the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, predictable financing and transparent reporting and monitoring.

Thursday, 04 June 2020 00:00

Call to action this World Environment Day

The need to push for individual, communal and the larger societal commitment to conserve the environment for its benefits compels us to find ways to act, even if pressed by situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought nations to near stand-still.
We appreciate the existence of progressive global policy guiding instruments aimed at restoring the lost potential of the biodiversity, but must be cautious and strategic in the manner we handle threats as well as be keen on the opportunities that exist for the betterment of the universe.


We must not sit pretty as the seas and air are so polluted that breathing almost becomes a crime…a death sentence, and desertification, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity expose us to hunger, famine, unreliable and unpredictable rain patterns and in a lot of cases land/mudslides and lately even cyclones. Those that turn our lives upside down in the twinkling of an eye.
That a pandemic like Covid-19 halted the whole world’s wheels but could not dare prevent mudslides and flooding in Africa (Kenya and DRC) as well as tornadoes in the US is clear indication of the seriousness with which we must take matters of nature. Even the desert locusts just hibernated to let Covid-19 settle, then returned with a bang, what may expose many to a food crisis in the foreseeable future.


We must give agriculture, water and health sectors the attention they deserve, but at the same time be cautious not to mess with the ecosystem. The demand for action from different stakeholders of climate justice must override personal interests.
As the world celebrates this year’s World Environment Day, with the theme: “Celebrate Biodiversity”, we can count a few milestone in ensuring the relationship between humans and the rest of nature is symbiotic, but also remember this is still a call for action.
We take pride in knowing that we know what needs to be done, as a people in Africa, but regret that many a hand are tied to the burden of inadequacy of resources, from finances, knowledge to technology and even infrastructure. Still, our work may be limited, but we have to try.


We must consciously choose to act for the good of biodiversity, because we know nature has ways of reciprocating. Time has come for us to act, from individual to the larger societal level.
We appreciate the works of champions of climate justice, the ones who not only ensure laws governing the well-being of the biodiversity are in place but also follow up to ensure relevant authorities do what they are supposed to do as far as conservation is concerned.


We must teach people to not only address the climate crisis with what is at their disposal, but also help them understand their surroundings and tailor make solutions to avert climate crisis.


This year, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has been compelled to do a webinar on a day it usually handles the situation differently. We are reminded that when the going gets tough, only the tough get going. But our work must not be limited by the Covid-19 pandemic. We must endeavour to break free and help nature to help us.


The strategies we apply locally, which this time includes engaging the 47 county environment directors through council of governors and supporting Lamu-based teams in clean-ups, tree planting and waste collection and sorting may just be a drop in the ocean, but it means something…and will change something.


Everyone needs to play a part in this fight to help nature smile by just appreciating it. Women and youth, male and female, disabled or not, we are in this together. When it rains, it rains for all, and when it floods, no one is spared. We must individually and collectively think of ways to conserve rather than destroy the biodiversity.

  • Introduction

The year 2020 was expected to see stock taking on the five-year Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards averting climate crisis. Issues of political backing, design of NDCs and whether they conform to specific nations’ needs, individual national efforts, coordination, budget, scrutiny, monitoring and reporting all have been interrogated. The situation in Africa is wanting. Today, the climate crisis is deadlier, with recent flooding and mudslides killing hundreds and causing displacement of thousands. Besides deaths of humans and livestock, there has been disruption of livelihoods, loss of property and destruction of infrastructure. For the past few months, and as the rest of the world focuses on the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), which has also killed in droves since its first attack in Wuhan, China in December, 2019, climate and environment reporting has been relegated to the periphery of world news.

Despite the world’s concerns about the direct impacts of climate change on people, society and economies, all effort has been directed to mitigating the coronavirus effects. Meanwhile, forest fires, cyclones, land/mudslides, droughts and flooding remain synonymous with Africa. There have been clashes and raids over resources, despite governments’ engaging in disarmament. The nexus between such conflicts and climate change is clear. Hunger, unemployment, poverty and retarded economic growth still hound the continent.

The role of the media and other communicators in addressing the climate crisis by sharing information and expanding awareness among stakeholders is vitally important. Journalists, with the help of convergence and the Internet, remain key in maintaining the knowledge-action continuum between research, extension, and stakeholders. They are the mouthpieces of the vulnerable people at the frontline of climate change impacts, and the advocates for climate action at all levels. As part of its effort to promote climate and environmental journalism, and enhance awareness on broader climate discourse and intervention measures, PACJA pioneered the  African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards, a biennual reward scheme that has built an enviable mass of journalists across Africa, thus elevating the subject of climate change in the continent’s news platforms.

 The ACCER Awards, since 2013 and growing

One of the many sectoral initiatives pioneered by PACJA as a way of broadening awareness and conversation around climate change and environmental conservation, the ACCER Awards  was inaugurated in 2013 at a Gala Night bringing together representatives from Governments, development partners, civil society and private sector.

The 2020 Awards is the fourth in a series, and comes at a time uncertainty abounds regarding climate action in the context of Covid-19 crisis. This makes journalists and media networks important actors in unpacking and building the synergy for the two crises, making a compelling case for them to be tackled simultaneously. A 2018 Research Programme on Climate Change, Food and Security, dubbed: “Linking knowledge with action: The role of media in climate change adaptation and mitigation” highlights the need for journalists to understand the climate crisis, and highlights how they can help link knowledge to action.

For the past eight years since 2013, PACJA has used ACCER Awards to identify, mobilise, bring together and train journalists on various aspects of climate change and environmental reporting. The galvanisation of a critical mass of journalists through ACCER Awards has evolved into a Platform, the Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC), which has grown into a formidable network for hundreds of journalists across the continent. The table below highlights the winners and runners-up of the previous ACCER Awards.

 

 

2013

2016

2 018

shortlisted

Total Entries

Winner & Country

Dianne Ninahazwe

Burundian

 

 

 

 

 

 

First R-U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd RU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

PACJA, in partnership with several partners from both public and private sectors, have translated the ACCER Awards Scheme into a tangible and concrete outcome that has generated remarkable interest among journalists, media houses and other stakeholders. In building on the success to deliver an Awards Scheme that has emerged as the most prestigious environmental incentive in the African continent, the organisation will draw lessons from the past ACCER Awards and other related schemes.

 

Continuous capacity building under The ACCER Awards Finalists Academy (TAAFA)

 

In partnership with several stakeholders, PACJA initiated an innovative fellowship as a capacity building programme for ACCER Awards finalists to ensure continuous, enhanced, in-depth reporting and media coverage of environmental and climate change issues with a key focus on Africa.

Through TAAFA, continuous training is offered to journalists to enable them understand the efficacies and developing geographies of climate change, and such evolving issues as adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, capacity building, climate finance, transparency and Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Agreement.

Participants to the TAAFA are picked through ACCER Awards process, starting from application, preliminary judgment and finalists.

ACCER AWARDS 2020: Making climate action a way of life

 There is no doubt that climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity and the health of the planet. Before the Coronavirus struck, the international discourse on climate change was the most topical issue shaping the global geopolitical interactions. The nexus of the two crises – climate and Covid-19 – will dominate the global stage for the foreseeable future. Political campaigns, even for the superpowers, are pegged on where each country is headed in terms of health, food security, energy access, economic stability and general security.

 

Objectives

  1. To ensure Africa’s climate story is told as it is, highlighting the areas unseen by the rest of the world, and which determines how intervention is reached
  2. To motivate journalists and media houses in Africa to effectively cover and report on Climate Change and Environment
  3. To illuminate innovative best-practice approaches in Policy and Practice towards response strategies and programmes
  4. To enhance proactive media participation in African Climate Change discourses with a view of perspectives and narratives
  5. To sustain and boost coverage of Climate Change issues by journalists in the mainstream media and media networks
  6. To promote and create awareness about opportunities existing in green investment both in public and private realm.

ROLLING OUT THE 2020 ACCER AWARDS

 

Criteria for identification

Identification of recipient of the awards will be conducted through an online call for application, shared out with media networks all over Africa. This will be done through:

  • A link in the PACJA Website set for ACCER Awards 2020
  • Social Media activations
  • Reaching out to universities and colleges with strong journalism and environmental programmes
  • Emailing media houses

It will be an interactively participatory process. An independent panel of eminent professionals from diverse backgrounds will be assembled to lead the process.

 

Entries, selection and Award categories

Potential awardees will present direct entries with brief citations demonstrating how their journalism may have practically enhanced access to information delivery in a specified area. An independent panel of judges will review the entries and make a decision on the winners and runners-up for each Award category. The judges will have the final word on who is awarded for each category outlined below:

 

  1. ACCER Investigative Journalism: Print or broadcast journalist who has highlighted and profiled a sensitive environmental problem
  2. ACCER News Feature: A Radio program and journalist who has created a programme that has increased understanding of environmental issues, and made it easier for the masses to understand issues on Climate Justice, Climate Change, Sustainable Development or New Technology.
  3. ACCER Photograph of the Year Award: A photo that speaks a thousand words on a matter that touches environment
  4. ACCER Blogger Award: A multimedia journalist who made great use of online facilities to break a story, follow-up or bring attention to environmental issues
  5. ACCER Emerging Young Journalist: A journalist aged between 19 and 25 and with a passion on environment or climate issues in a tangible way
  6. Citizen Journalist Award: A citizen of Africa who does not belong to any media house, nor is trained as a journalist, but who demonstrates great skill in following up on matters of climate or environment through a medium accessible by public. Such a person can be nominated by a different party.
  7. Consistency and Niche Award: a). Best Female b). Best Male. A journalist may submit links to work done consistently for the last two years, showing passion in addressing the climate crisis. They must be at least 5 features, commentaries or news features.
  8. Do Something Humanitarian Award: The Applicant will show exactly what s/he has done (e.g improving food security by enforcing smart farming, ending soil erosion, ending climate related conflict)
  9. Embrace Disability Award: This is an award for anyone living with disability but whose work to combat climate crisis has been felt widely. They may be journalists or not, but will have to illustrate what they have done in a note. The Award will be split between best female and best male PLWD.

 

Judging Criteria

  • Applicant identifies a climate related problem and shows effort(s) to find ways to deal with it. This will mean not just highlighting an existing issue but also going a step further to ask responsible authorities tough questions, including why things are the way they are and when the affected should expect change
  • Applicant shows consistency and passion in addressing matters of climate change and environment. Award winners MUST have made a significant long-term commitment to improving the lives of others through their stories.
  • The applicant demonstrates extensive and tangible acts that have saved large communities from the effects of climate change or reduced the risk of the same in a visibly big way.

 

 Terms of Reference for the judges

There will be a seven-member panel of judges whose main role will be to:

  1. Carefully review the selection process, with a view to improving and/or developing clear parameters against which the various entries will be rated.
  2. Consider, examine and rate the entries/nominations based on the agreed parameters. The rating will be based on extensive consultation among the judges in order to ensure consensus
  3. Develop and present a report indicating the final decision with regard to the overall winners, winners in each category and runners-up
  4. Prepare and submit a report to PACJA highlighting lessons learnt, areas of improvement for future awards and possible opportunities to be considered for the awards, among other issues
  5. Carry out any other duty that may be agreed upon with PACJA

 

Important to note

The Judges reserve the right to disqualify any entry if it does not meet the contest criteria and present regulations

  • By entering, participants warrant that their print/audio materials are original work and do not infringe on any third party’s rights
  • Contest entry constitutes an agreement to allow PACJA to publicise contestants’ names, occupations, countries, and to publish entries
  • Contest entry also constitutes an agreement to allow PACJA to use the material in its publications and in promotional activities. Applicants will retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their material
  • If for any reason the competition is not completed as planned, PACJA reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend it
  • The decisions made by the panel of judges are final and beyond dispute

All participants in this competition implicitly accept the rules presented in this document

 

 

Entry Requirements

  1. Eligibility

The competition is open to all journalists from Africa and who are from established media houses, private or public-sector media. Freelance journalists and bloggers are also eligible.

  1. Submission Format
  2. Entries must be original pieces written in English or French
  3. Articles must have been published between August 2018 and June 2020

iii. Each candidate will submit only one print (in word doc or docx format), audio piece (in mp3 format) or video clip. Entries are to be submitted by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Print word limit: Maximum 1,200 words. Font: Garamond, 12 point; 1.5 line spacing.

Audio pieces: Maximum five minutes.

TV pieces: Maximum five minutes

  1. All applicants must submit a cover page containing the article title and author’s name, along with a short biographical note including name and full contact details, including email address, telephone number(s), postal address, town, country, and a scanned photocopy of the author’s identification card or passport sent as a JPEG.

 

III. Deadline

Submission of articles begins on June 10, 2020. The deadline for receipt of submissions is July 30, 2020. Entries are to be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Entries received after deadline will not be considered.

 

  1. Competition Theme

Making climate action a way of life

  • How are communities making use of existing legal frameworks to demand from their governments climate action and prevent exposure to looming disasters?
  • What notable contributions have stakeholders made in the achievement of environment conservation?
  • What are the glaring gaps that make Africa most vulnerable in the case of a crisis different from climate emergency
  • The case of Africa as a continent with special needs, and why the developed world must choose to release the necessary funds
  • Are the COP negotiations really benefiting Africa?

 

  1. Judging Criteria

Judges will review entries and decide on the winners in the print/web-based, TV and radio categories. The pieces should demonstrate that the author understands the issues outlined above.

The main selection criteria for the pieces are:

  • Originality, structure, and quality of writing/broadcast piece
  • Creativity and color (use of relevant interviews and examples to illustrate the issues)
  • Variety of voices/quotes used
  • Quality of language (engaging writing/radio style, accurate spelling and grammar, etc.)
  • Respect of the prescribed format

 

The following will be key:

  • Have you identified the problem and outlined how communities are using interesting measurable ways to solve it?
  • How have you, through your story, shown your commitment to combating the climate crisis? What reaction has your story elicited?
  • Has your story opened any eyes? Have you created any awareness worth changing the manner in which communities governments or other stakeholders treat the climate crisis?

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted plans by civil society organisations, especially the ones that, like the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, focus on climate change.

To champion climate justice, PACJA, in all its platforms, had planned several activities that also involved physical work in partnership with several other stakeholders, but, like the rest of the world, a lot has remained to be done virtually. When he spoke to the Press Monday, Oboue Anicet Durand, the PACJA Corte d’Ivoire National Coordinator, regretted that a lot of things would have to be done at a later date, especially where activities involved working with indigenous or other communities.

Mr Durand was interviewed by MEDI 1 TV channel where he shared on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on environmental and climate championing activities and actions.

“A lot of action plans’ implementation will have to wait, and this problem is not unique to PACJA Cote d’Ivoire, or even the entire PACJA organ,” said Durand. Indeed, the activist’s claims can be confirmed, as only this week the UNFCCC’s national Focal Point announced that its next Conference of Parties (CoP26) had been postponed to November 1-12 2021.

Several other conferences or meetings that were to ensure the climate crisis discourse, including its mitigation and adaptation, negotiations and tracking of pledges by individual nations on reduction of Green House Gas emission and releasing of green climate fund, was advanced.

Already the Subsidiary Body meetings that were supposed to happen in the second quarter of the year have been pushed to October.

Some of those that CSOs may have to postpone are bilateral meetings with funders or donors, such as the African Development Bank, in the case of PACJA. “For us they include restitution of Africa’s participation in COP25; bilateral meetings with key stakeholders and the Ivorian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, of the UN-Environment, awareness activities in universities, high schools and colleges,” said Durand.

PACJA, including its Côte d'Ivoire platform, has, however been able to hold online meetings with employees and other technical and financial partners. In Kenya, PACJA, with the leadership of its Executive Director Mithika Mwenda, planted at least 100,000 bamboo trees in riparian and other areas. The trees are expected to save the environment while at the same time giving local communities a source of income.

For now, the PACJA Cote d’Ivoire will be actively involved in a pan-African webinar to analyse the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on climate actions in countries such as Morocco, Gabon, Senegal and Côte d Ivoire itself. “A strategic risk plan is ready with a view to strengthening actions with the sub-regional and United Nations institutions and agencies,” he said, adding that the world would eventually find a way around the health crisis and adapt to an already visible new normal.

On May 26th, the UNFCCC announced: “Having consulted widely, and taking into account the international event calendar, the UK is proposing to hold CoP 26 on November 1-12, 2021”.

Already PACJA Executive Director Mithika Mwenda had welcomed the proposal to have the CoP 26 delayed, despite knowing that there would be another huge loss.

PACJA’s attention has not, however, shifted from the activities that help us champion climate crisis, and now plans to use every available opportunity to make the next big event, which is the World Environment Day, as helpful and successful as possible.

Other PACJA platforms in Cameroon, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, to mention a few, have equally stepped out of this world quarantine and distributed food aid and sanitation equipment to the needy, as well as contributed in the stocking of personal protective equipment for medics, as was the case in Gabon earlier this week.

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