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Wednesday, 15 November 2017 00:00

Simplify climate finance processes, PACJA urges

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, in conjunction with the Pan African Parliament has expressed concern that the process of obtaining climate finance is unnecessarily complex.

Speaking during their second press conference in Bonn, Germany, PACJA’s secretary General Mr Mithika Mwenda said the process of accessing climate funds is becoming more complex, warning that it risks shutting out certain groups, including women.

“We are wondering why there is such complexity in obtaining funds from institutions such as the Green Climate Fund,” he posed. 

He noted that as the GCF was being set up, civil society organisations had seen it as a democratic fund that would be easier to access that the World Bank, but this has so far not been the case.

He lamented that even after projects have been approved by the GCF, it still took up to two years for the funding to be made available, adding that the problem of climate change was an urgent one that demanded urgent action.

“We want the process to be made simpler and shorter to address the urgency of climate change,” he said, adding that the criterion for approval has been stingy and prolonged.

Mr Mwenda further expressed concern over the failed fulfillment of USD100 billion commitment that was supposed to be provided by developed country parties before the year 2020, adding that discussions on the new financial goal that would shape the implementation of the Paris Agreement have not yet begun.

“We urge the COP Presidency to initiate talks of the new finance goal here in Bonn to show the urgency of the matter. Also, the new finance goal should be beyond the floor of the pre-2020 commitment of USD 100 billion. The goal should reflect the scientific requirements and needs of African countries too, first and foremost, adapt, mitigate and cover loss and damage arising from climate change impacts,” read a statement by PACJA.

Regarding the Standing Committee on Finance, the team noted that they support the committee to prioritize mobilization of funds as a priority, adding that it must continue to play a key role in finance issues in the Paris Agreement era.

“We support the suggestion of having the alternate member during the SCF meetings so that they can fill in when the permanent member is not able to participate,” read the statement.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - A special initiative to protect people living in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from the heath impacts of climate change was today launched at the ongoing Bonn climate talks.

The initiative is an effort by World Health Organization, in collaboration with the UN Climate Change secretariat and in partnership with the Fijian Presidency of the twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23). 

By 2030, the initiate wants all Small Island Developing States to have climate-resilient health systems.  

It also envisions drastic global reduction of carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries.
 
With four main goals, the initiative seeks to amplify the voices of health leaders in Small Island Developing States, so they have more impact at home and internationally; and  to gather the evidence to support the business case for investment in climate change and health.
 
It further seeks to promote policies that improve preparedness and prevention, including "climate proof" health systems and the multiplication of international financial support levels to climate and health in small island developing states.
 
"People living in Small Island Developing States are on the frontline of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and increased risk of infectious disease," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "We owe it to these people to do everything we can to help them prepare for the future that is already washing up on their shores."
 
"We in Fiji know all too well that climate change poses a serious threat to the health of our people. I'm delighted that we are launching this initiative - in partnership with the WHO and UNFCCC - to better equip small island states like ours with the knowledge, resources and technology to increase the resilience of their health systems, as part of larger efforts to adapt to climate change," said Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama.
 
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change believes “climate change will increasingly impact the health and well-being of people everywhere unless nations fully implement the Paris Agreement”.
 
“Small islands are in the frontline from extreme weather events that can contaminate drinking water to health-hazardous heatwaves and the spread of infectious diseases. This initiative can strengthen the response of small islands to the rising risks as the world works to ensure that together we keep a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C and better, no higher than 1.5 degrees, “ she said.

Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Mithika Mwenda described the initiative as symbolic coming at a time island states have suffered serious health challenges enormously due to climate-related hurricanes and tornadoes. 

"As this initiative comes under the Fijian Presidency of the COP, we believe Fiji knows where the shoe pinches most, and we urge them to lead the COP23 into concrete outcomes that will shine light on the increasingly gloomy picture we are witnessing on the path towards the 2018 global stock-take," Mithika added.

SIDS and climate change 
 
Small Island Developing States have long been recognized as especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Their situation is highlighted in the UNFCCC, by Ministers of Health at the 2008 World Health Assembly, and in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
 
They have also pioneered innovative approaches to improve the resilience of their health systems to climate change. As well as emitting a small proportion of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, many are further reducing their already low carbon emissions.
 
"Small Island Developing States are ready to take leadership towards green, resilient and health-promoting national development – but the support of the international community is essential,” said Dr Joy St John, recently appointed Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health at WHO.
 
"Less than 1.5% of international finance for climate change adaptation is allocated to projects which ensure that the health of all people is preserved, and only a fraction of this supports small island developing states. The recent severe weather events in the Caribbean demonstrate that targeted interventions are important. We need to do much more and we need to act very quickly."
 
Country ownership is a central principle of this initiative. Ministers of health from some of the most affected countries have already started to provide input through consultation with WHO's Director-General and at WHO Regional Committee meetings, and this process will continue.
 
Since 2015, WHO has been working with the UNFCCC secretariat to develop detailed country profiles to assess risks, and provide tailored advice on how these countries can adapt to, and mitigate, the health effects of climate change.  More than 45 country profiles have already been completed and, as part of this initiative, WHO commits to publishing a country profile for all small island developing states by the end of 2018.
 
Many national health actors, development and United Nations agencies are already making important contributions to protect health in small island developing states. WHO’s initiative aims to bring together existing and new efforts and scale them up so they achieve maximum impact.
 
“The vision is that, by 2030, all health systems in small island developing states will be able to withstand climate variability and change,” adds Dr St John. “And, of course, that countries around the world will have substantially reduced carbon emissions.”

This article was first published on the pamacc website

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Syria has indicated its interest to join the Paris Agreement, effectively leaving the United State of America all alone in the cold conclave of climate deniers.   
 
"I would like to affirm the Syrian Arab Republic's commitment to the Paris climate change accord," Syrian Deputy Environment Minister Wadah Katmawi told delegates of the 196 nations at the ongoing climate talks in Bonn, Germany.
 
Katmawi said the accord would be signed "as soon as possible", adding that Syria would seek foreign aid to help it meet its commitments under the deal.
 
UN spokesman Nick Nuttall, confirmed the move, saying that Syria would first have to submit ratification documents at the UN headquarters in New York.
 
196 countries excluding Syria and Nicaragua in December 2015, agreed to keep global temperatures well below the 2c level above pre-industrial times and endeavour to limit them even more to 1.5c.
 
Contained in what later became known as the Paris Agreement, countries further agreed to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity, and enable rich countries to help the poorer nations by providing climate finance to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.
 
With its pariah status and the bloody civil war going on then, Syria was in no position to attend the discussions in Paris. Nicaragua on the other hand, withheld its signature from the agreement until last October when stronger measures were put in place.
 
The United States began a three-year process of withdrawal from the agreement in June 2017. President Donal Trump while announcing the withdrawal invoked his "solemn duty to protect America" and promised to seek a new deal that would not disadvantage US businesses.
 
He claimed that the accord would cost the US 6.5 million jobs and $3tn (£2.2tn) in lost GDP - while rival economies like China and India were treated more favourably. He also said that he could revisit the decision if the United States could renegotiate terms he sees as unfair.
 
With the Syrian declaration today and Nicaragua’s signature in October, US now treads on the lonely path to seeking a seeking the renegotiation of a landmark climate deal aimed at protecting the planet and the people of the earth.

Monday, 06 November 2017 00:00

Africa at COP23 in Bonn, Germany

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance is in Bonn, Germany for the UNFCCC COP23. Between the dates of November 6-17, the alliance will lead African Civil Society Organizations in championing for the rights and demands of the African people and indigenous communities.  

Following the COP 22 Climate negotiations in Marrakech, we are deeply concerned by:

  1. The non-preference to the pre-2020 period/era
  2. The delay in progress of negotiations on adaptation communications and NDCs under the SBI and the APA where the SBI cannot make further progress without advancing the agenda item discussions under the APA
  3. The evidenced   divergence on the Paris Agreement rulebook that delayed technical discussions on the item which should provide guidance to Paris Agreement implementation

We hereby emphasize that there is need for equal treatment of pre-2020 and post-2020 ambition and action to achieve pre-2020 targets; the Paris Rulebook needs to be designed and developed to facilitate implementation noting the remaining duration to 2020 and coherence should be considered within the negotiation spaces within the Paris Agreement to enhance work to implement the Paris Agreement.

Please download key documents from our website following the links  below:

African Civil Society's COP23 Position Paper (Download)

 

COP23 opens, plots to fast forward Paris Pact (Download)

 

 CSOs present set of demands ahead of COP23 in Bonn, Germany

 

Civil Society Organisations from Africa, under the Auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, are gearing up for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany beginning next week.

The CSOs have planned to speak with one loud voice to agitate for the speedy design and development of the Paris Rule Book to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“We hereby emphasize that there is a need for equal treatment of pre-2020 and post-2020 ambition and action to achieve pre-2020 targets,” reads their position paper in part.

Under PACJA, the CSOs have come up with eight demands for negotiation during COP23 as follows:

Demand 1: Global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century.

Demand 2: Adaptation is crucial to protecting and promoting development gains, especially in Africa

Demand 3: Climate Financing should be long-term

Demand 4: Capacity building should be enhanced under the Paris Agreement

Demand 5: Loss and damage: Parties must commit to full implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage

Demand 6: Technology development and transfer should be supported to enhance resilience and low carbon development

Demand 7: The gender agenda should be enhanced in the implementation of the Paris Agreement

Demand 8: Paris Rulebook: Design of a robust framework that takes note of transparency and accountability

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, will in collaboration with Oxfam and Cuts International, CSDevNet, CECOEDECON and WACSOF, organize a side event on the 8th of November, 2017 at Meeting Room 7, Bula Zone in Bonn, Germany to discuss how to make the Paris Agreement work for Africa with particular emphasis on enhancing transparency and defining the place of climate finance.

This will be preceded by a Pre COP23 CSO Consultative Forum on the 5th of November in Bonn, Germany. 

PACJA will facilitate the training of African parliamentarians using the Climate Information and Services (CI/S) e -Learning module.

The Pan African Climate Justice (PACJA) will, in collaboration with Pan African Parliament (PAP), facilitate the training of African parliamentarians using the Climate Information and Services (CI/S) e -Learning module next year.

This was agreed after a training of trainers (ToT) held at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Speaking during the meeting, PACJA Human Resources Lead Ann Kobia noted that the organization will, through the Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC), organize a regional media training on CI/S using the CIS e-learning modules in an initiative that will also see the pan African organisation collaborate with regional media training institutions represented in the meeting.

The event that brought together parliaments, media training institutes, civil society and youth organisations from Benin, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) among others sought to impart trainers with knowledge on mainstreaming climate information and services into policy, legislation, plans and processes.

In their resolutions, the trainers noted that “national governments, local communities, farmers, grassroots organizations among others need timely, high quality, relevant and accessible information on temperature and rainfall, and the timing and severity of storms and climate extremes change for better planning and practices”, adding that climate information services, which is the collection, analysis, packaging and dissemination of climate information to specific users, are vital in supporting Africa’s response to climate change.

The trainers stressed the importance of awareness and training among legislators and other policymakers on climate change issues, saying that this is imperative for the formation of important partnerships and synergies for action on climate change.

They recommended that organisations and institutes that participated in the training should support the uptake of climate information and climate information service within their countries, stressing the importance of advocating for an increase of investment in CI and CIS infrastructure on a national level. 

At the same time, the trainers recommended that participants conduct awareness campaigns among the public, legislators, and policymakers on the critical role of climate information and services in planning policies so as to achieve sustainable development.

They further recommended that participants mobilise resources through Government, private sector actors and other development partners to support awareness-raising and training workshop towards building a critical mass of skilled communities on climate information services and development issues.

Members of the Pan African Parliament and those of civil society organisations in Africa under the auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) have noted the importance of speeding up negotiations on the Paris Rule Book to catalyze climate action.

Speaking during the African Parliamentary Pre-COP 23 Preparatory workshop held in Midrand, South Africa on Saturday, the members noted the importance of the early adoption of the Paris Agreement.

In their final recommendations, the meeting noted that further negotiations should address mitigation by ensuring that the global community is called upon to highlight their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in particular from developed country Parties, in line with the global temperature goal to limit temperature increase to well below 2°C, with a target towards 1.5 °C.

They further noted that talks on adaptation must reflect the global responsibility for adaptation in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Paris Agreement.

The members recommended that further negotiations should prevail on the global community to provide resources for loss and damage and any related actions to address such losses.

The members registered concern over the slow approval of adaptation projects, adding that there seemed to be a lack of parity in the provision of finance between adaptation and mitigation.

The recommended that further negotiations must seek to reaffirm the obligation of developed country Parties to contribute in a transparent, measurable and verifiable manner towards global climate finance.

They called on negotiators to focus on developing frameworks for the recognition of African communities efforts leading to emission reduction, adding that the critical role of non-market mechanisms for African countries must be recognised.

At the same time, the members lauded the US non-state actors for their efforts and commitment to addressing climate change. They, however, noted that the threat of the US Government’s exit from the Paris Agreement would greatly impact the global climate leadership and provision of finance to developing countries.

The members made their recommendations during the Symposium for Climate, Energy Transition and Agricultural Adaptation Finance in Africa in Midrand, South Africa.

The Symposium, which brought together key stakeholders – parliamentarians, government representatives, civil society, academia and international organisations from across Africa, sought to interrogate the state of affairs in international climate change dialogue processes, with a deep review of Africa’s implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement.

 

Project Brief

Contact Person: Mr Mithika Mwenda

Partners: ACT!

Region: Kenya

Purpose/Goal: Towards Enhancement of Climate Change Governance in Kenya

About the Project

Climate change mainstreaming is a process facilitated by institutions such as sectoral agencies, county/national governments, and non-state actors. Engaging these institutions in a bid to generate options and approaches to mainstreaming will be undertaken through discussions with relevant sectors targeting key institutions such County governments, Council of Governors, Ministry of Environment -Directorate of climate change, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Forestry sector, Energy sector, Agriculture sector, and Water sector.

These discussions are targeted to these key sectors and institutions to provide an opportunity for exploring mainstreaming options in their plans, policies, and programmes. Through CSO led engagements with both state and non-state actors, it is expected that this will culminate into a common position brief on climate change mainstreaming in Kenya.

The project also aims to develop of specific knowledge products in form of policy briefs on state of climate change mainstreaming at both county level and national level.

To achieve the above, PACJA will work closely with its CSO partners and networks as well as key sectoral and county level partners to ensure the success of the activities. Leveraging on the already existing relationships will be added advantage to the project.

 

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

  1. To enhance integration of climate change mainstreaming in key policies, plans, and programs at national and county level.  

 

  1. To strengthen participation and capacity development of non-state actors in climate change mainstreaming and addressing climate change response in Kenya

 

PENJA, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - Andrew Kombe in Penja village happily combs his 4-hectare Penja Pepper farm, discarding unwanted weeds and clipping off parasitic plants. For the 49-year-old farmer, the health and quality of his new climate-friendly crop are of prime importance following a disappointing slump in prices of the traditional cash crop in the area, coffee, and cocoa, blamed partly on extreme weather.

“I have to work hard to reap good yields and make maximum gains from my new crop,” he PAMACC News Agency.

Coffee and Cocoa farmers across Cameroon say they have been facing a bleak future, amid heavy rains and biting drought that has taken its toll on these traditional cash crops and reverse the gains since 2013.
For the past five years, Kombe and his family have incurred pain and hardship due to dwindling harvest and income from his coffee farm. Not anymore.

The farmers say the special white and black pepper dubbed Penja Pepper, a more extreme climate-tolerant cash crop is holding out the hope of much-needed relief for thousands of farmers in the region.

“We are left with no choice than switch to Penja Pepper. Now with the Pepper farming, I can raise enough money to feed my family and send my kids to school,” Kombe says.

Afraid of continuously reaping poor harvests and paltry income from coffee and cocoa, many more farmers in Penja and neighboring villages both in the Southwest and Littoral regions in Cameroon are increasingly switching to the more paying, reliable and climate-friendly Penja Pepper agriculture officials say.

“The farmers now prefer to concentrate their efforts on Penja Pepper that thrives well in the region,” says Amos Ngolle, agriculture technician at the divisional delegation of agriculture in the Moungo division.

Grown on the flanks of the Kupemuanenguba Mountain, the Penja Pepper has since gained national and international fame after the Penja Pepper Farmers Association, PPFA, with support from French Development Agency, sought and obtained in 2013 the certification of their product from the African Intellectually Property Organization.

Farmers of the association say the certification has significantly transformed their lives and the economy of the region, attracting other farmers whose traditional cash crops are threatened by extreme weather.

“Growing Penja Pepper has now become the attraction of farmers in the region,” says Emmanuel Nzenewo, PPFA Executive Secretary.

The farmers blame the cyclical uncertainties on coffee and cocoa not only to climate but also to pests and diseases that are bringing heavy losses.

Losses from diseases and pests claimed between 30 and 40 percent of Cameroon´s harvest in the 2014-15 season, according to the National

Cocoa and Coffee Board, which regulates cocoa and coffee production.
 

A slump of more than one third in the prices paid for both coffee and cocoa beans by exporters, following a downward trend in prices on the international market in the past two years has made the situation of farmers even more perilous.
According to government data, coffee yields for the 2015-2016 season stood at just over 16,000 tons, down from above 38,000 tons in 2009-2010.

A kilo of cocoa beans fetches about 900-960 FCA francs ($1.50 to $1.65) in production areas, down from 1,600 francs in 2012-13.
In some remote areas prices are as low as 700 francs and the farmers fear it will fall even further.

“ We fear the prices will decline even further in the years ahead as climate threats worsen and this is bad news for small-scale farmers like myself,” says Ajong Cletus, one of the few cocoa farmers in Penja still holding on to the crop.

Though the government is struggling to encourage cocoa and coffee farmers to stay on their crop, they are also promoting the growth of the new cash crop, Penja Pepper.

Since the certification, the price of the cooking spice has sky-rocketed, from 2,500 fcfa per kilogram before September 2013 to reach 8,000fcfa per kilogram in 2014, and 14,000 per kilogram in 2015/2016, according to the ministry of trade.

The farmers say the price is encouraging, motivating them to work even harder.

“Because of the encouraging price per kilo, I have expanded my farm from 8hectares(20 acres) in 2012 to  12 hectares (30 acres) of the crop presently, thus producing and earning 50% more than what I got before certification of the product,” says Garbielle Elung, one of the farmers in Penja. The certification according to the farmers mean the product has been protected from imitation, thus guaranteeing its long term future.

The Penja Pepper production zone has so far increased from Penja village to include neigbouring villages like Loum, Manjo, Mbanga, Njombé-Penja and Tombel subdivisions in the Moungo and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions.

The Penja Pepper grown in the rich volcanic soils in the area experts say is resistant to extreme weather, both prolonged rains and droughts maintaining its unadulterated, special white and black colour and attractive flavor at all season.

The region’s natural micro-climate and location at the flanks of Mt. Kupemuanenguba according to agriculture experts protect the product from pest attack and provides for the pepper’s(spice) unique taste, attracting increasing demand in the national, regional and international markets. Thus the need and battle to protect the product against imitation.

.“The rich volcanic soil of Mt. Kupemuanenguba has given the pepper a soft and refined flavor and aroma that will appeal to anyone that loves good cuisine,” says Bernard Njonga, executive officer of ACDIC(Association Citoyenne de Défense des Intérêts Collectifs) an NGO that defends the rights of farmers in Cameroon

According to Emmanuel Nzenowo, executive secretary of the association, thanks to the successful certification, production reached 300 t in 2015 and 350 t in 2016 in response to growing demand from high class restaurants around the world. Prior to this, production was less than 150 t.

Approximately 60% of the product is consumed locally and in neighbouring countries, and 40% is exported to European markets according to Cameroon’s ministry of trade. The Penja Pepper is one of the only three African commodities, which also includes Oku honey from Cameroon and ZiamaMacenta coffee from Guinea, to be given such a label, prohibiting the product’s name from being used by producers outside of its original region.

With the label, Emmanuel Nzenowo says, adherence to strict guidelines by the farmers is ensured to maintain highest standards.

“Guideline rules include ensuring farmers are situated within mapped out perimeters by the association, accepting the norms and code of conduct set out by the association, protecting the crop against extreme climate and regular inspection by a team of PPFA members,” he explained. “This has contributed to the continuously improved quality of the product,” he says.  

Statistics from the ministry of the economy, planning and regional economy shows that the product with added value is today highly consumed in France, Switzerland, Germany and many other countries in Europe, not forgetting the 16 member states of OAPI including Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Senegal.   

In a desperate move to encourage farmers to stay on in coffee and cocoa production, the government has decided to half its levy on cocoa exports to boost revenues for farmers and exporters.

The government reduced the cocoa export charge rate by 50 percent, from 150 CFA francs ($0.27) to 75 CFA francs per kilogram, as from August 1, 2017, the Minister of trade Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana announced.

“This decision is a change in government policy to encourage farmers and avoid a drastic decline in cocoa and coffee production,” the minister said.

This article first appeared on the PAMACC website

 Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Secretary General Mithika Mwenda has lauded United Nations Environment for the positive changes it has made since the elevation of the UNEP into a fully-fledged agency of the UN during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

 Mr Mwenda noted that PACJA has enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the Regional Office for Africa, adding that the relationship is now anchored in a memorandum of understanding where they have elaborated on key areas where they can add value to each other.

“This is incredibly laudable, and this should be a lesson which we would like to share with other CSOs. We don’t lament but work in the spirit of constructive engagement. Where we differ, we have laid down procedures for dispute resolution – but I can’t remember an incidence that took us to this level,” he said in a statement read on his behalf by Lisa Kamau.

“PACJA’s example is an illustration of how we can work with UNEP to do what the civil society is known for – policy influence. Through this partnership, we have been able to greatly influence climate change and broader environmental policies under the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). PACJA has emerged as one of the most influential and visible environmental and sustainable platforms in Africa and globally,” he further stated.

His statement was read during a briefing workshop for NGOs on Engagement with UN Environment Assembly on Monday, September 25.

The meeting was co-organised by UNEP, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Transparency International and the National Council of NGOs and brought together NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs from across the country.

 

 

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