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The 19th meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) board took place from February 27 to March 1, 2018, in Songdo, Korea.

During the meeting that was attended by a member of the Pan African Climate Justice Secretariat, the board agreed on a process for the replenishment of its resource.

A request was made to the Co-Chairs, with the support of the Secretariat, and in consultation with members of the Board, to oversee the preparation of necessary policies and procedures for the formal replenishment process and further decided to “advance work under its 2018 work programme to conclude the essential preparatory arrangements for the first formal replenishment process of the GCF, noting this is without prejudice to the timing of a decision to initiate replenishment”.

The Board also reiterated its intention to review the Strategic Plan as part of the formal replenishment process.

This year the Green Climate Fund (GCF) can benefit from the ongoing PWP discussions and realize new and progressive commitments.

For this to happen replenishment process should be ready and a supportive decision by the board accompanying it. Replenishment of the Fund is pegged on the Fund’s cumulative funding approvals exceeding 60 per cent of the total contributions received during the Initial Resource Mobilisation (IRM).

The GCF’s IRM period was between 2015-2018. This is according to the Board’s ‘Policies for Contributions’ Replenishment requires a trigger which emanates from committed funds to projects proposals being at the 60% mark of IRM.

One of the positive outcomes of the meeting was the approval of the Indigenous Peoples' Policy by the Green Climate Fund.

This happened after a long process of consultation with various stakeholders on the Policy since the 17th Board meeting where the first draft was presented in the agenda.

The policy draft was later presented at the 18th Board meeting after passing through various stages of input and elaborations with various stakeholders.

The Indigenous Peoples groups have pushed for the Policy approval and finally, their persistence has borne some fruit.

The Indigenous Peoples' Policy was finally approved on the 27th February 2018 at the 19th Board meeting in Songdo, Korea

 

Please download a detailed document on the outcomes via this link

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance today launched the thematic working groups under the Angaza Project in a meeting that was held at the Ngong Hills Hotel in Nairobi.

The meeting also served as a planning forum for the momentum committee advocacy strategy.

The meeting took place just three weeks after the second national stakeholders consultative meeting that was held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Nairobi where stakeholders volunteered their participation in five thematic working groups under the momentum platforms. 

The groups were aimed at providing platforms within which CSO stakeholders can strategize, deliberate, and work on multi-sectoral climate change issues under the five broad themes.

These included the climate adaptation working group that will be responsible for examining the climate governance framework in Kenya, including the national climate change action plan to identify gaps and areas of improvement, and proposing relevant changes and inputs.

The second group will focus on climate mitigation where it is expected to generate ideas and proposals under mitigation, particularly within the Kenya INDCs.

The third group will focus on Technology transfer, knowledge management and capacity building where it is expected to generate its proposals based on knowledge management, capacity development, public awareness and communication and integrating climate change into Kenya’s education system. 

The fourth group will, under the leadership of Transparency International, work on generating proposals for mainstreaming of climate finance tracking in the government and other sectors. 

The group is also expected to come up with proposals on pathways to new climate financing options and access to such funds by county governments and county level organisations including community groups working on adaptation and mitigation.

The fifth group will focus on gender and marginalized groups where it is charged with coming up with ideas on how to improve the current situation by coming up with specific recommendations to address these issues. The group is expected to generate recommendations on other gender-responsive climate policies and actions at county and community levels particularly where national climate policies have gaps in implementation.

Following today’s meeting, the thematic groups’ structures were well defined with lead organisations, co-conveners and members identified as well as the linkage between groups established.

The group members came away with a better understanding of the goal and objectives of the Angaza Project and the support to be provided to the thematic groups.

As part of the strategy to strengthen CSO coordination on national climate change policy advocacy, the Angaza project, Implemented by PACJA, will support the groups through strategic technical and financial facilitation to implement their action plans.

 

By Isaiah Esipisu

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change seeks international interventions to hold the rise in the global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels and cap it at 1.5 °C.

But according to a new study conducted in all of Kenya’s 21 semi-arid counties, at least five have surpassed the 1.5-degree mark and the impact, especially on cattle survival, is devastating. Worrying projections show that the temperatures will rise even further in the coming years.

This comes just four years after a World Bank report synthesising scientific knowledge on global warming, which warned that the earth was on the path to get 4o° C warmer by the end of the century — with huge implications for humanity.

DEVELOPMENT

A new study commissioned by the Canada-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) — through the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (Prise) project — show West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet as the most affected counties with a temperature rise of 1.91o° C in the past 50 years. Others are Turkana (1.8o° C), Baringo (1.8o° C), Laikipia (1.59o° C) and Narok (1.75o° C).

The study also startlingly found that the population of cattle in the semi-arid counties has decreased by 26 per cent in the past 38 years up to 2015.

The scientists who carried out the study attributed this to the constantly rising temperatures due to global warming and reduced or unpredictable rainfall patterns.

SCIENTISTS

So far, Turkana is the most affected, recording a drop of nearly 60 per cent, followed by Machakos, Garissa, Kitui and Kajiado, according to the study conducted by scientists from Kenya Markets Trust (KMT).

This is bad news, particularly for Turkana, Garissa and Kajiado, because livestock is the mainstay for the residents.

However, all is not lost. While the cattle population was on the decline, that of sheep and goats in the 21 counties rose by 76.3 per cent, with some, such as Laikipia and Lamu, recording a 256.6 per cent and 458 per cent increase, respectively.

WAKE UP CALL

According to the scientists, cattle can thrive if temperatures do not surpass 30oC and not below 10o° C. But small animals like sheep and goats, and also camels, can tolerate warmer temperatures; hence the reason they multiplied exponentially.

These findings should be a wake-up call for all counties. They should use the data to re-evaluate what is happening in terms of rising temperatures and rainfall variations and the projections to come up with sound policies that are responsive to climate change.

One way of adapting to climate shocks and stresses will be by developing policies with clear knowledge of what the near future is likely to look like, with a focus on appropriate technologies, while being mindful of crops or livestock that are going to survive in projected climatic conditions.

TECHNOLOGIES

Kitui, Tharaka-Nithi and Embu counties are joining hands with the Pan-Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and faith-based organisations to develop climate change policies based on experiments by farmers to identify local technologies that can aid adaptation.

Considering the Prise research findings, some counties will need to re-think and prioritise their livestock investment options to take comparative advantage of the resources they have. They could invest in slaughterhouses — for example, Laikipia and Isiolo (cattle), Marsabit (goats) and Wajir (camel, sheep and goats).

County governments must, therefore, consider such important knowledge as they develop their spatial plans.

Mr Esipisu, a freelance journalist, is the coordinator for Pan-African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC). This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article was first published on the Daily Nation website

Governments from over 41 African countries alongside private sector, civil society and development partners, are in Nairobi this week to explore ways of achieving cleaner mobility across the region.

The week-long meeting which is dubbed “the Africa clean mobility week” seeks to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in Africa by leveraging on technological advancements driving low-carbon mobility within and outside the region.

The Africa clean mobility week, according to the conveners, represents Africa’s quest to transit to cleaner mobility, building on the outcomes of the 2014 Africa Sustainable Transport Forum.

It would be recalled that African ministers, at this forum held in Nairobi in 2014, adopted 13 action points aimed at boosting Africa’s capacity to harness the impact of cleaner mobility on health, environment and economic growth in the region
 
Transportation and climate change

Transportation remains at the very core of development. The sector, considered as an essential enabler of business, comprises movement of persons, products or services using the road, air, rail or water.

As important as this sector is, it is not insulated from the impacts of climate change such as heavy rains, sea level rise and pollution. It is also a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions which lead to climate change.

According to a new briefing published by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS), physical impacts of climate change on primary industries are likely to include damage to infrastructure and industrial capital assets, and could reduce availability of renewable natural resources including water.

The briefing which distilled the key findings from the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report for the transport sector indicates that most sector scenarios project that global demand for industrial products will increase by 45–60% by 2050 relative to 2010 production levels.

Rising demand for products used to reduce GHG emissions and to adapt to climate impacts could, perversely, create pressures to increase industrial emissions, the briefing asserts.

Also, a 2016 World Bank report says that transport was the largest energy consuming sector in 40 percent of countries worldwide in 2012. It was the second-largest consumer in the remaining countries. According to the report, carbon dioxide gas emissions from energy are expected to grow by 40 percent between 2013 and 2040.

Combating climate change through clean mobility initiatives, therefore, becomes a right step in the right direction.
 
Imperatives of cleaner mobility in Africa

Across the world, the challenge of curbing or decreasing the sector’s contribution to climate change particularly in urban centers remains ever present.

In Africa, urban transport and the transition to low-carbon mobility have remained strange bedfellows owing largely to commuters’ willingness to leave their cars at home and turn to greener modes such as public transit, cycling, or walking.

Getting Africans to make the switch appears an uphill task as decades of car-centric development, combined with the car culture which projects the private car as a status symbol, have made it hard for African governments to take people out of their vehicles.

With unprecedented motorization rate spurred by high rates of urbanization and economic growth, most countries in the region are not able to plan and provide adequate transport infrastructure and services.

In addition to this, the Stockholm Environment Institute in 2012 reported that only a few sub-Saharan countries operate routine monitoring systems for air quality monitoring standards (Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).

Out of the countries investigated, the report discovered that 27 have environment protection acts which were poorly implemented or not implemented at all despite the specifications about air quality in them. This is despite evidence that poor air quality could lead to around 50,000 deaths a year in the region.  

A platform for clean mobility solutions

Despite these challenges, all hope appears not lost as the clean mobility week aspires to develop strategies that promote the importation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles; how tools to assess fuel economy policy impacts will be disseminated; and opportunities to leapfrogging to electric motorcycles, electric vehicles, and electric buses.

Already, the Africa clean mobility week has recorded a milestone with the signing of an e-mobility partnership agreement between TAILG and the UN Environment on Tuesday.

The agreement targets the introduction of electric vehicles in Africa and other areas of the world by TAILG, a Chinese firm that manufactures electric vehicles.

Speaking on the sidelines of the clean mobility week, Xu Rong, TAILG Marketing Director, said the agreement will help governments of Africa and other areas of the world start phasing out defective vehicles, thus curbing air pollution.

"We intend to show the benefits of driving electric vehicles in accelerating clean environment that is free of pollution," Xu added.

Access to financing opportunities for cleaner mobility initiatives such as this will take center stage during the week just as case studies of inclusive transport programmes mainly through investment in non-motorized transport and public transport infrastructure will be shared.

The Africa clean mobility week is expected to draw to a close on the 16th of March 2018 after spotlighting the role of media and the relevance of South-South cooperation on sustainable transport management.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

MIDRAND, South Africa (PAMACC News) - Legislators at the Pan African Parliament are eager to pursue industrialised countries, whose activities have resulted in excess emission of greenhouse gasses that have led to global warming, but the African civil society on climate change has a different message.

Latest research findings in Kenya for example, show that temperatures have risen in all the country’s 21 semi-arid counties with five of them surpassing the 1.5 °C mark in the past 50 years. This, according to the study, has led to a sharp reduction in livestock population, impacting heavily on livelihoods.

Paris Agreement on climate change calls for international interventions to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

“The changing climatic conditions is a problem all over Africa, and the first thing we must do is accept that there is a problem that must be tackled immediately before pursuing those who caused it,” said Augustine Njamnshi, a board member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which brings together over 1000 African climate-related civil society organisations.

“If a man puts your house on fire, will you start by pursuing the man, or will you try and put out the fire, then follow up with the arsonist thereafter?” asked Njamnshi during a training workshop for African Members of Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.

The Kenyan study, which was conducted by scientists from the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) – through a project known as Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE) reveals that cattle population has reduced by over 26% between 1977 and 2016.

“Our projections show that the temperatures are going to increase even further in the coming years, and the impact is likely going to be more devastating,” said Dr Mohammed Said, one of the PRISE researchers. 

During the MPs training in Midrand, the lead trainer, Stephen Mutimba pointed out that African continent, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, is exposed to climate variability and extremes at frequencies which exceed normal thresholds, and that such events could significantly erode gains already made in poverty reduction.

There is, therefore, need for different countries to devise coping mechanisms so as to save livelihoods.

Mutimba said that governments can only prepare for disasters that may result from the extreme weather events only if they have access to adequate climate information.

“Climate information and services are key resources for governments and communities to prepare for these changes and when well integrated into policy and practice, they can help reverse this trend and enhance cross-sectoral climate resilient development,” he told the legislators.

According to Mithika Mwenda, the PACJA Secretary General, there is an urgent need for legislators to work hand in hand with the civil society and researchers for climate adaptation and in advancing the climate discourse at the global level.

“We all need to embrace the Talanoa dialogue,” said Mithika. ‘Talanoa’ is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills, and experience through storytelling. 

Amongin Jacqueline, the Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment agreed with Mithika, saying that the Talanoa dialogue will help in stock-taking of the achievements so far, as well as the challenges, which should inform the way Africa should engage in global climate negotiations.

Studies have shown that Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially in water, agriculture, forestry, and coastal development sectors. 

World Food Programme estimates that about 650 million people live in arid or semi-arid areas where floods and droughts impact lives and productivity.

In the arable land areas within the Sub-Saharan Africa region, scientists say that there will be a decrease of 19% in maize yields and 68% for bean yields. As a result, severe child stunting (leading to higher mortality risk) could increase by 31%–55% across the region by 2050 due to climate change.

“The earlier we start tackling the challenge of climate change, the better for our continent,” said Njamnshi.

The one-day training was organised by the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) in collaboration with PACJA to enhance MPs' knowledge and understanding of the potential application of Climate Information Service policies in development planning with the aim of catalyzing the uptake and use of climate services by vulnerable communities.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

Midrand, South Africa, 10 March 2018 – Legislators at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) are eager to seek accountability by industrialised countries, whose activities have resulted in excess emission of greenhouse gasses that are causing global warming, but the African civil society on climate change has a different message. 

These were some of the ideas at a training for Pan-African Parliamentarians conducted by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) in collaboration with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and the African Climate Legislative Initiative (ACLI) on uptake and use of climate information services (CIS)by vulnerable communities. The event convened at the PAP in Midrand, South Africa on the 10th March 2018 was attended by 31 members of parliament drawn from across the continent.

The training event was organized under the Pan-African component of the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme, which is implemented by ACPC. Mr. Frank Rutabingwa, the WISER coordinator at ACPC, informed participants that the objective of WISER is to contribute to the enhancement of the policy and enabling an environment for increased application of CIS in development planning.

Speaking at the event, participants recalled that the Paris Agreement on climate change calls for international interventions to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

According to Mithika Mwenda, the PACJA Secretary General, there is an urgent need for legislators to work hand in hand with the civil society and researchers for climate adaptation and in advancing the climate discourse at the global level.

“We all need to embrace the Talanoa dialogue introduced in the UN Climate negotiation process,” said Mithika. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, ideas, skills, experiences, build empathy and to facilitate wiser decisions for the collective good.

Amongin Jacquiline, the Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment agreed with Mithika, saying that the Talanoa dialogue will help in stock-taking of the achievements so far, as well as the challenges, which should inform the way Africa should engage in global climate negotiations.

 

In addition, Augustine Njamnshi, a board member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) noted that “The changing climatic conditions is a problem all over Africa, and the first thing we must do, accepts that there is a problem that must be tackled immediately before pursuing those who caused it”.

A Kenyan study commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and conducted by scientists from the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) through a project known as Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE), reveals that cattle population in the country has reduced by over 26% between 1977 and 2016.

“Our projections show that temperature is going to increase even further in the coming years, and the impact is likely going to be more devastating,” said Dr Mohammed Said, one of the PRISE researchers.

During the training, the lead trainer, Stephen Mutimba pointed out that the African continent, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, is exposed to climate variability and extremes at frequencies which exceed normal thresholds, and that such events could significantly erode gains already made in poverty reduction. There is, therefore, need for different countries to devise coping mechanisms so as to save livelihoods.

The trainer also underscored that governments can only prepare for disasters that may result from the extreme weather events only if they have access to adequate climate information.“Climate information and services are key resources for governments and communities to prepare for these changes and when well integrated into policy and practice, they can help reverse this trend and enhance cross-sectoral climate resilient development,” he told the legislators. 

Studies have shown that Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially in water, agriculture, forestry, and coastal development sectors, while the World Food Programme estimates that about 650 million people live in arid or semi-arid areas where floods and droughts impact lives and productivity. 

In the arable land areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, scientists say that there will be a decrease of 19% in maize yields and 68% for bean yields. As a result, severe child stunting (leading to higher mortality risk) could increase by 31%–55% across the region by 2050 due to climate change.“The earlier we start tackling the challenge of climate change, therefore, the better for our continent,” said Njamnshi.

The ACPC and PACJA committed to continuing the engagement with both PAP and ACLI in order to further strengthen awareness and catalyse action on CIS application in development through robust policies and plans.

 

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has lauded the County Government of Wajir for setting up a climate change fund even as the country witnesses a positive move in climate change policies.

This is after the county government announced plans to spend Ksh96.8 million on the newly launched Wajir County Climate Change Fund to support climate change action projects in the county.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Wajir Deputy Governor Ahmed Muktar said the fund, through the Wajir County Integrated Plan, would help implement climate change mitigation and adaptation projects through the promotion of renewable energy and tree planting exercises across the six sub-counties.

“Wajir County has been experiencing increasingly frequent and severe droughts that have weakened the livelihoods of our people and the economy of the county. These are often followed by flash floods that also damage the limited but critical infrastructure of the area such as roads and living areas. As a county, we made a decision to come up with better and coordinated ways of dealing with these challenges even as we wait for national level policies and plans,” said Muktar

“Climate change poses a great risk to development processes and efforts, further emphasizing on the need for an appropriate development pathway that takes into account the diverse risks and uncertainties associated with climate variability and change,” he noted.

Wajir now joins Makueni and Kitui counties as one of the county administrations that have passed laws on climate change action including mitigation and adaptation measures.

The news came just a day after the UN issued carbon credits to a programme that helps farmers install biodigesters in their homes in Burkina Faso.

Over three billion people worldwide cook with charcoal or wood, causing polluted air that contributes to millions of premature deaths every year. Cooking with biogas generated by the digesters – installed by private companies supported through the World Bank’s Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev) – reduces this pollution, while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions, combatting deforestation, and improving the livelihoods of farmers. 

Climate change policies in African countries have seen an upward trend, mostly owing to the Paris Agreement that required party states to set up laws in order to implement the treaty that comes into play in the year 2020.

In February this year, Kenyan members of parliament vowed to support the passage of the National Policy on Climate Change that will see the Kenyan government set aside Ksh200 million annually over five years to address the impacts of climate change after it is passed.

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 2030.

He regretted that the cost of managing climate change impacts is increasing day by day and thus needs 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.

The Indigenous Peoples' Policy has finally been approved by Green Fund Climate. This is after a long process of consultation with various stakeholders on the Policy since the 17th Board meeting where the first draft was presented in the agenda. The policy draft was later presented in the 18th Board meeting after passing through various stages of input and elaborations with various stakeholders. The Indigenous Peoples groups have pushed for the Policy approval and finally their persistance has borne some fruit.

The Indigenous Peoples' Policy was finally approved on the 27th February, 2018 at the 19th Board meeting underway in Songdo, Korea

Why this Policy is very critical to the Indigenous people

It will;

  • Support and promote the positive contributions of indigenous peoples based on traditional knowledge systems, livelihoods, sustainable resource management systems and practices to climate change mitigation and adaptation in a manner that is accessible, culturally appropriate and inclusive;
  • Enable the critical role of indigenous peoples in assisting the GCF to ensure more effective, sustainable and equitable climate change results, outcomes and impacts;
  • Provide a framework for GCF to anticipate and avoid adverse impacts of its activities on indigenous peoples’ rights, interests and well-being and when avoidance is not possible, to minimize, mitigate and/or compensate appropriately and equitably for such impacts;
  • Enable and ensure the full respect for the rights, dignity, aspirations, identity, culture, and natural resource-based livelihoods of indigenous peoples in the whole spectrum of activities and initiatives of the GCF, in full alignment with applicable international obligations and standards such as International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP);
  • Recognize and respect in all GCF-financed activities, the indigenous peoples’ rights to collectively own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired;
  • Recognize, respect and protect the culture, knowledge, and practices of indigenous peoples, and to provide them with an opportunity to adapt to changing conditions in a manner and in a time frame acceptable to them;
  • Recognize, respect and protect their cultural and spiritual heritage and values, traditional knowledge, resource management systems and practices, occupations and livelihoods, customary institutions and overall well-being;
  • Recognize and effectively apply the principle of free, prior and informed consent,in accordance with relevant international laws and standards, and international best practice principles; and
  • Establish and maintain a continuing engagement based on fully informed consultation and effective participation of the indigenous peoples –including indigenous women and youth -affected by GCF-financed activities throughout the implementation of the activities

With its adoption, the Indigenous Peoples groups and Civil society at large have a greater role to efficiently and effectively engage in the implementation process  and ensure responsive and clear elaboration of various operational guidelines, methodologies and development of facilitative guidelines such as Free, Prior and Informed Consent.  Integration of the policy into other processes and supportive policies is imperative.

The engagement has therefore just started and the beauty of it is that a multi-stakeholder consultative process that has Indigenous peoples at the heart and steering wheel of this process has been established.

 

 

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

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

 
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