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.
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance lauds the Ministry of Environment in Kenya for acknowledging the voices of vulnerable groups in the review of National Climate Change Action plan. Indigenous groups like Pastoralists, Women and children are most affected by climate change and their views should be in mitigation and adaptation action plans.
CS Keriako Tobiko noted that gender mainstreaming was crucial in formulation of climate change action plans adding that it was imperative to enlist the views of the most vulnerable groups in the community as they held the highest stakes in the phenomenon.
The Environment and Forest CS was speaking when he was presented with a zero draft report of the National climate change action plan proposed for 2018-2022, by an Inter-Ministerial, multi-sectoral task force.
The task force was urged to include views of the most vulnerable groups in society including pastoralist communities during the planned county consultations across the country.
We welcome this great step and encourage other stakeholders in the media and faith- based organizations to join in these task force to drive advocacy and awareness creation.
The National Action Plan will go through a National Validation, parliamentary scrutiny and once approved by the climate change council chaired by the President will be adopted.
We are at the Africa Carbon Forum taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya from 11-13 April, 2018. This forum is a collaboration of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Nairobi Framework Partnership (NFP). This year, the Africa Carbon Forum is celebrating its tenth gathering under the theme Creating Action For Sustainable Development - Driving Change In Africa.
The Africa Carbon Forum, is an annual event with participants from all countries in Africa. The goal of the forum is to unify members from the public, private, and non-state sectors in climate change dialogue in reference to the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the forum aims to open a dialogue on how to mobilize investment in the implementation of NDCs, and achieve enhanced climate resilience through achieving a low level of carbon emissions through sustainable development. The workshops will focus on practical examples of policies, initiatives, and actions supporting NDCs, barriers to engaging key sectors in implementation, and financial frameworks to support these actions.
Stakeholders from all African countries in several sectors have attended this forum to join the discussion in achieving climate resilience. Members from the private sector, CSOs, international organizations, National Governments, academia, and technology were all present, the Director of Climate Change & Green Growth division of the African Development Bank, Director of the County Programming Division of the Green Climate Fund, and the Manager of Sustainable Development Mechanism from the UNFCCC.
This three-day event allows professionals from all over Africa with an opportunity to hear about the achievements made in climate adaptation and the barriers that are still faced. Furthermore, participants are given tools and advise on how to proceed with current climate adaptation projects, such as legal framework and policy formation. The most common challenge that has been addresses is climate finance, engagement of private sector investment, and the mobilization of funds to fulfill adaptation measures.
Through this forum, stakeholders in Africa will be provided information about current climate adaptation measures and tools in order to enhance adaptation actions in future development plans. Participation of the private sector and civil society is essential in achieving progress in enhanced climate resilience and all sector engagement.
Within the African Carbon Forum, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) represents Civil Society Organizations' perspectives on how climate resilience can be enhanced across Africa and in a bid to play a complementary role to actions undertaken by the private and public sectors
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has partnered with Morocco-driven Adaptation of Africa Agriculture Initiative (AAA) to enhance the voices of smallholder agricultural farmers and climate - resilient agriculture in international climate change discourses.
At a workshop hosted by AAA during the 2018 Crans Montana Forum, a South-South convergence at the Coastal City of Dakhla on 15 – 20 March 2018, PACJA Secretary General Mithika Mwenda decried the deliberate alienation of agriculture in the climate change response measures. “Agriculture is the backbone of the African economies yet it has taken long to anchor the sector in climate change responses”, he said, welcoming the historic decision adopted by countries in Bonn during the Fiji-hosted COP23, which outlined a plan of action for agriculture in negotiations among other key issues.
Agriculture and food security was one of the themes at the Forum, which brought together more than 1,000 participants from around 100 countries to exchange ideas and build partnerships on emerging global challenges affecting Africa and the global South.
“No one will solve our problems but ourselves”, said Mr. Mwenda, answering a question from participants who wanted to know why countries in Africa are dependent on the North even on the simplest of ideas and solutions. “African countries possess massive natural and human capital yet we are unable to solve myriad of problems ranging from climate change, malnutrition and food insecurity, migration, unemployment and terrorism”, he said, pointing a finger to the leaders whom he accused of failing to inspire their citizens in building confidence on themselves. More than a decade since many African countries attained independence, he noted, many Africa countries are still dependent on their former colonial powers.
Prof. Riad Balaghi, the AAA Chief, welcomed the partnership with PACJA, expressing optimism that the Alliance will use its vast constituency and convening power to further the objectives of agricultural adaptation and resilience in ensuing negotiations under United Nations. “We delighted to welcome PACJA and thank the Coalition for supporting this African Initiative”, said Prof. Riad. “Over the last months since the establishment of AAA, the Alliance has come out powerfully to back us, and we feel emboldened to serve our African brothers and sisters in the best way we can under this partnership.”
Climate change & Agriculture
Under what is referred to as Koronivia joint work on agriculture, the UNFCCC set up in November 2017, a series of consultations which will be conducted through workshops and expert meetings. Taking into consideration the vulnerabilities of agriculture to climate change and approaches to addressing food security. Issues around agriculture the consultations will consider modalities for implementation of the outcomes of the five in-session workshops on issues related to agriculture and other future topics that may arise from this work as well as methods and approaches for assessing adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and resilience. The discussions will also revolve around improved soil carbon, soil health and soil fertility under grassland and cropland as well as integrated systems, including water management.
Under consideration is improved nutrient use and manure management towards sustainable and resilient agricultural systems, improved livestock management systems and socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change in the agricultural sector.
“We should robustly participate in this process and ensure pertinent issues to African smallholder farmers are at the centre-stage of discussions, and this partnership will deliver this for the benefit of the African people” emphasized Mwenda.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance(PACJA) in partnership with Caritas Kitui is holding a consultative workshop with stakeholders from Kitui County on participatory scenario planning (PSP). The objective of the workshop is to integrate various sources of climate/weather information for the upcoming March to May (MAM) long rainy season. This workshop brings together various stakeholders in the county among them; the County meteorological department, Ministry of agriculture, Traditional weather forecasters, the agriculture sector development support programs, the National Drought Management Authority, community members, agro-pastoralist, amongst others. At the end of the workshop, advisories will be developed based on agro-ecological zones and communicated to farmers so that they can make informed decisions around the risk and uncertainty associated with the MAM rainy season.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Patrick Ndovoi, Planning and Budget Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture, Kitui County, stated that it is very important for climate information to be shared at the local level, as it provides crucial information that the communities needs to guide them in their planning and decision making. Impacts from the last harvest season are already being felt as rains were not received as expected.
Mr. Eric Kaindi, Planning, Policy and Monitoring Officer from the livestock department in the county reiterated that the community is facing food insecurity due to failed rains in the last planting season, and are now turning to the livestock for survival. This has caused a strain to the already deteriorated environmental resources as they put more pressure to the land because of overgrazing. The livestock are also fetching low prices in the market due to poor health hence not solving the crisis.
“The current climate in the county requires more techniques of production to avoid food insecurity, such as producing livestock feeds for sale.’’ He concluded.
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.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has welcomed the move by the Kenya Members of the National Assembly to support the passage of the National Policy on Climate Change that will see the government set aside Ksh200 million annually over five years to address the impacts of climate change after it is passed.
Speaking in his office on Wednesday, PACJA Secretary General Mithika Mwenda lauded the move by the MPs terming it a step in the right direction.
“This move is a step in the right direction and demonstrates commitment by the Kenyan Government to address climate change and its impacts on the citizenry,” he said.
Mr Mithika took the opportunity to state that the developed nations, which are historically responsible for the rapid change in the earth’s climate, should bear the responsibility for the mitigation efforts, adding that partners should match the government’s commitment ten fold.
“We now leave it to the industralised countries to compliment this commitment. The amount proposed is little compared to the impacts being faced by the citizens so we insist that the responsibility rests with the industralised nations as per climate change conventions and the Paris Agreement,” he noted.
Yesterday (Tuesday) the MPs expressed concern that global warming caused by climate change will have an adverse effect on all the sectors of the economy including agriculture, industry, energy, water, trade and tourism.
The leader of Majority Aden Duale urged MPs to approve the policy to help transform Kenya by implementing the Vision 2013.
He regretted that the cost of managing climate change impacts is increasing day by day and thus need to be addressed urgently.
“If climate change is left unattended to, it will impede vision 2030 whose aim is to transform Kenya into a globally competitive, middle-income country,” he said.
Leader of Minority John Mbadi said effects of deforestation have had disastrous effects including reducing the country’s water levels. He proposed that in order to address the impact of climate change there is need to pass legislation to condition local companies to put a percentage of their profits into planting trees.
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).