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 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.
By Jacob Munoru
Traditional African cultural practices, previously regarded as inferior or incompetent, are increasingly gaining recognition as an important component of existing conservation strategies.
Local communities attach great value to traditional cultural practices, it is therefore apparent that official recognition of these practices will be an important factor complementing the current conservation knowledge.
Cultural factors can influence and regulate people’s behaviour towards forests or tree species and their habitats for instance among the Mt Kenya communities the Mugumo tree is considered sacred and traditional dwelling places for the Gods in some Kenyan communities are on the steep slopes of hills and mountains which are considered sacred, such beliefs and practices result in the preservation of these areas and act as important drivers of environmental change.
Traditional cultural practices among other strategies have promising potential to enhance sustainable resource use and conservation, therefore, realizing the desire for ecological and social sustainability.
Despite concerted conservation efforts, a considerable number of species is threatened with extinction mainly because of anthropogenic impacts such as deforestation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, the introduction of new exotic species and pollution.
Promotion of the use of cultural management knowledge coincides well with the philosophy of co-management approach that advocates sharing of power, rights, and responsibilities between the state and local resource users.
This argument is centred on the management capabilities of local communities and possible dangers of disregarding them. The fact that the communities have regular interactions and are more familiar with the resources in their environment than other potential actors makes them one of the best managers of the resource, who could contribute effectively to current conservation efforts.
Local communities understand the source of the water and for how long this resource can last if properly and efficiently utilized, and how to avoid acute shortages as is the case in our country now.
Traditional African cultural practices oversee and enforce community rules/regulations or taboos that when enforced, they act as a supreme court with the final say on all forest conservation matters. Their conservation role is still evident in some areas for example in Meru, the council of elders Njuri Ncheke shrine bushes, forests or woodlots and streams are well preserved, they act as carbon sinks in the areas where they are found therefore checking on pollution and global warming.
This has remained true despite cultural practices being marginalized by modern management systems and cultural dilution caused by immigration, formal education, and adaptation of modern religions.
Both colonial and post-colonial conservation policies ignored the potential role of traditional African cultural practices in contributing to conservation goals. Factors such as rapid population increase, inadequate local support for conservation policies, limited strategies for survival among the local communities and inadequate capacity of the government to fund law enforcement operations against illegal activities subject our forests to unsustainable use.
Our policymakers should, therefore, accord greater attention to traditional institutions so that local people’s conservation role is fairly acknowledged and potential synergies with conservation objectives realized.
The national and county governments should reward traditional people for sustainable conservation practices observed through their institutions and sensitize policy makers to include traditional conservation practices in conservation Agenda.
The practices both modern Silvicultural forest Management principles and the African traditional cultural practices in conservation are one of multiple strategies for complementing rather than replacing existing central management systems.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance is today (Friday) convening the Africa Regional Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Consultative Workshop on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The workshop, which will be held at Sunland Hotel in the city, is aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences and lessons learned from civil society organisations across Africa in the REDD+ Readiness processes.
The workshop was organised under an FCPF-funded project aimed at building the capacity of African Civil Society and Local Communities on REDD+ that is currently being implemented by PACJA.
The beneficiaries of the project are Southern CSO networks and organisations from the 18 FCPF eligible countries in Africa. PACJA, the CSOs Intermediary and implementing agency, is focusing national level activities on five countries namely: Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Togo and Mozambique and Madagascar.
This unique convergence with policymakers among other stakeholders during the AU Summit will accord an opportunity to an array of actors drawn from diverse backgrounds – women, youth, indigenous peoples, and smallholder farmers – to interrogate the extent to which the Paris Agreement is capable of delivering a stabilized climate system in such a time frame as to avoid irreversible global warming and the implications of the Paris Agreement for Africa.
Debates on such mechanisms like REDD+ have not yet found adequate space in high-level policy processes in African countries, and this is one of the rare opportunities to create awareness to the policymakers and other stakeholders from across Africa.
The FCPF regional meeting will, therefore, in addition to knowledge exchange, be a platform to expand conversations and broaden partnerships around REDD+ readiness processes while at the same time contributing towards the Africa Union Summit agenda.
“The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.” – Dr. Glen Barry
The global environment is collapsing and dying. For too long we have lived our lives as if nature doesn’t matter and have failed to embrace an ecology ethic. We have treated water, air, land, and oceans as resources to be plundered and as waste dumps. Nothing grows forever – certainly not economies on the back of finite ecological systems – and mass psychosis pretending infinite growth is possible is a death wish.
Such ecological imprudence is now catching up with us, threatening our very daily bread.
Climate change is having profound impacts upon agricultural systems including a lack of regular seasonality. That is, the boundaries between cold and warm, and dry and wet, periods have become highly variable. In much of the world this makes it difficult to know when to grow your food. Knowing when to plant and when to harvest is becoming extremely problematic and this aseasonality is decreasing yields. This climate weirding is the direct result of our haphazard changing of atmospheric chemistry.
Climate change is making it more difficult to grow food the way we have been. Huge swathes of farmland are faced by droughts and floods. Temperate region’s lack of cold weather and snow has meant an increase in agricultural pests. Similarly, factory animal agriculture and fisheries are being hammered from disease, parasites, and decreased feed stocks brought on by abrupt climate change.
Shifting seasonality, and at times even a lack of seasonality, simply exacerbate problems associated with industrial farming. Modern agriculture consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels which cause both warming and are finite. Factory animal farming’s prodigious amounts of fecal waste become even more toxic in the heat. Increasingly toxic GMO Frankenseeds are being peddled in conjunction with a soup of dangerous chemicals as a means to keep production high.
Our increased dependence upon limited genotypes mean that one crop or animal disease could swiftly kill vast amounts of agricultural products ushering in massive price increases and widespread hunger. Soils are eroding and becoming less fertile due to increased industrial intensification.
Any increase in plant growth from increased temperatures and/or carbon dioxide is quickly eliminated as another limiting factor such as water and nutrient availability goes unmet. In many cases rising temperatures simply kill plants. And the food that is grown is often stressed and thus contains fewer nutrients. The end result of climate-stressed industrial agriculture is low-quality junk foods that are killing our bodies and our planet. Much of the over-developed world is addicted to the sugar and additives found in this industrially produced crap.
As the global food supply becomes more precarious and subject to unexpected extreme weather events, the global population continues to soar and has now reached approximately 7.5 billion people.
Already nearly one billion people experience chronic hunger, sapping their soul and energy, and providing limited opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life. Billions of emerging consumers now view steaks and hamburgers as their birthright, with all the attendant medical and ecological costs. In much of the world the cost of food is by far the greatest expenditure, and quality food is increasingly expensive in over-developed nations as well.
The world’s agricultural system is weak and vulnerable to major disruption that will soon result in an international famine of the sort that already ravages numerous nations such as Haiti and Somalia. Abrupt climate change may well be the final straw that ushers in global mass hunger and collapse into the bad sort of anarchy.
It is difficult to communicate the horrors that await us if the globe faces widespread failure of food systems. Suffice it to say that post-modern collapse will utterly strip cosmopolitan consumers of technological vestiges of comfort including variety of high-quality and nutritious food. Rural areas will face a shortage of open-pollinating seed due to seed monopolies, and lack of traditional farming know how. Everyday life will be a struggle to avoid murder, find food, and otherwise meet basic needs. Sadly this is already the reality for a billion people who live in abject poverty, and soon it will be all our fates if we don’t change.
It is increasingly probable that climate change will precipitate a massive crop failure on a global scale. Perhaps America’s wheat and corn crops fail. Or globally a drought persists for years that wrecks the majority of Earth’s foodstocks. Or a super pathogen takes out genetically modified corn. One can expect in our lifetime for periods where the supermarkets are mostly empty and each of us left to persist from what we can raise, exchange, or gather locally.
Imagine the coming horror of starvation in the heartland as formerly petite bourgeoisie experience the depredations of the street people they once ignored.
The solutions are difficult yet known. We must re-localize our agriculture systems. More of our food must be grown in our own bioregion, and exchanged and consumed locally. Much more of our population is going to have to find employment in growing food. Every human being will be called upon to grow an increasing percentage of their own food, and bartering and otherwise exchanging their surplus with those nearby.
The use of fossil fuels must be eliminated from the global food chain. Factory animal feedlots must be eliminated and whatever meat is produced come from time-tested small scale animal husbandry practices (or when desired eliminated).
Monocultures protected with synthetic toxic pesticides and herbicides are literally death traps. We must return to inter-cropping and no-till agriculture that focuses upon maintaining the soil’s structure and fertility. The emphasis must be upon organic food production and permaculture from natural seed stocks, whereby the boundaries between natural ecosystems, tree crops, and food crops are not strictly delineated.
Permaculture is committed to realizing the full potential of righteous land and soil management to benefit the community’s well-being including both high-quality food and ecosystems. Increasingly our forest tree crops and traditional garden vegetables will be intermingled, to the extent feasible given a bioregion’s flora, as forests and gardens merge.
In general, an agro-ecology ethic requires a profound shift in global consciousness to re-embrace our oneness with nature. Industrial agriculture has viewed natural ecosystems as decadent wastelands that should be destroyed, rather than embracing them as the ecosystem engines that make the biosphere habitable. And which provide the genetic seed stocks and inspiration for constructing semi-natural productive ecosystems.
Continued exponential growth in human populations, particularly as some have so much as many have so little, can only result in global ecological collapse. Human population growth must be limited with urgency through incentives, and educating all girls and boys, including in the use of contraception; or the global environmental system will seek balance far more harshly. And there is no path to food sustainability that does not include reducing military expenditures, a basic income, and more sharing. Fairness is not communism.
In sum, much more work must be done to achieve the balance between natural and semi-natural productive ecosystems necessary to sustain Earth, her humanity, and all creatures. My peer-reviewed science “Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse” suggests that 2/3 of Earth’s land mass must remain as ecosystems, 2/3 of which must be natural ecosystems (44%), and 1/3 semi-natural permaculture and other productive ecosystems (22%).
Or we face biosphere collapse and the end of being.
The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.
EcoInternet is committed to re-localizing, detoxifying, and making global food systems ecologically sustainable. We are in the process of creating Internet resources which will help fulfill this vision. And we could use your help. More soon on these exciting initiatives.
This article first appeared on www.pamacc.org
The Arctic is melting with no turning back. Climate change increased rainfall during Hurricane Harvey by at least 15%. And several extreme weather events that occurred in 2016 would not have been possible without man-made global warming.
These are among the findings being discussed this week at this fall’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, the largest gathering of Earth scientists in the world. Taken together, the findings show the deepening urgency of the fight against climate change.
“Climate change is hurting us without a doubt,” said James Byrne, a professor at the University of Lethbridge who studies climate change, at a press conference. “Houston, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, British Columbia — worst fire season ever. California, I think they declared it the worst fire season.”
Scientists have explored the link between climate change and extreme weather events for years, but many of the conclusions have relied on forecasts of potential future damage. This year, scientists say, the findings are no longer theoretical. Man-made global warming is causing problems here and now.
Take the American Meteorological Society’s report on extreme weather events in 2016, the sixth annual iteration of the report. In the past, the group found that likelihood had increased the chances of certain extreme weather events. But this year scientists found that 2016’s record global temperatures and historic warm waters in the Bering Sea “would not have been possible” in a world without human-caused climate change.
“These events were not just influenced by human-caused climate change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld of the American Meteorological Society at a press conference. “Some of the events in 2016 could not have happened without climate change.”
The report also highlighted global heat waves, an extreme occurrence of El Niño and bleaching of coral reefs. These extreme events are all closely tied to climate change, though they remain theoretically possible in a world without the phenomenon.
Another report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the state of continued ice melt, loss of snow cover and warm temperatures will be the “new normal” in the Arctic. The signs of climate change in the region have been pronounced for years as air temperatures have risen there at twice the rate as they have globally.
The effects of a melting Arctic — and the strong likelihood that it will not return to a normal state anytime soon — has significant implications far beyond its boundaries. Arctic sea ice plays an important role moderating global temperatures as it reflects sunlight back into space. And scientists say that the swift warming in the Arctic is a concerning sign of what’s to come globally. “Unlike Vegas what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” said Tim Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator, at a press conference. “It affects the rest of the planet.”
Two separate studies presented at the conference showed that climate change worsened rainfall when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston earlier by somewhere between 15% and 38%. That storm brought nearly 50 inches of rain to some areas and caused billions in damages. The research comes as scientists increasingly try to draw explicit conclusions about the effect of climate change and individual storms, a practice unthinkable just a decade ago.
The warning from scientists comes as policymakers across the globe continue to grapple how to stem temperature rise. Countries have committed to trying to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, but recent research shows leaders remain far from meeting that goal.
This article was published in http://time.com/
UNEA-3's Opening plenary UNEA-3's Opening plenary Over 4,000 stakeholders today (December 4) converged on the green terrains of the UN office in Nairobi, Kenya to witness the opening ceremony of the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3).
This year’s edition of the assembly, which is the highest –level decision-making body on the environment, aspires to consider new policies, innovations and financing capable of steering the world “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.”
The UNEA-3 brings together governments, entrepreneurs, and activists who will share ideas and commit to taking positive action against the menace of pollution. UNEA-3 aims to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage chemicals and waste, including a negotiated long-term programme of action against pollution that is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The High-Level Segment of UNEA-3, which will take place from 5-6 December, is also expected to endorse a political declaration on pollution, aimed at outlining policy measures for, inter alia: addressing pollution to protect human health while protecting the developmental aspirations of current and future generations.
The ministerial segment will debut the interactive ‘Leadership Dialogues,’ aimed at providing participants with an opportunity for high-level engagement and discussion on how to achieve a pollution-free planet. Other UNEA-3 outcomes will include voluntary commitments by governments, private sector entities and civil society organizations to address pollution, and the ‘#BeatPollution Pledge,’ a collection of individual commitments to clean up the planet.
Discussions at UNEA-3 will draw on a background report by the UNEP Executive Director, titled ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.’ The Report explores the latest evidence, as well as responses and gaps in addressing pollution challenges, and outlines opportunities that the 2030 Agenda presents to accelerate action on tackling pollution.
Welcoming delegates to the assembly, Prof. Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, declared that the assembly’s focus on beating pollution is very timely as pollution increases with every effort to provide services to our citizens.
“It is time, the world addressed this challenge without delay and agree on a common goal as a pollution-free planet cannot be achieved without working together,” she said. The environment is our responsibility; it is the source of our well-being. The fate of our world depends on the quality of the care we give it,” Prof Wakhungu added.
“Our collective goal must be to embrace ways to reduce pollution drastically,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 assembly. “Only through stronger collective action, beginning in Nairobi this week, can we start cleaning up the planet globally and save countless lives.”
New report on the environment
According to a new UN Environment report, everyone on earth is affected by pollution. The report entitled “Executive Director’s Report: Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” is the meeting’s basis for defining the problems and laying out new action areas.
The report’s recommendations – political leadership and partnerships at all levels, action on the worst pollution, lifestyle changes, low-carbon tech investments, and advocacy – are based on analysis of pollution in all its forms, including air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution.
Overall, environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, or 12.6 million people a year, and the widespread destruction of key ecosystems. Over a dozen resolutions are on the table at the assembly, including new approaches to tackle air pollution, which is the single biggest environmental killer, claiming 6.5 million lives each year.
Over 80% of cities operate below UN health standards on air quality. The report reveals that exposure to lead in paint, which causes brain damage to 600,000 children annually, and water and soil pollution are also key focus areas.
Also, over 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is released into the environment without treatment, poisoning the fields where we grow our food and the lakes and rivers that provide drinking water to 300 million people. According to the recently published report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, welfare losses due to pollution are estimated at over US$4.6 trillion each year, equivalent to 6.2 percent of global economic output.
“Given the grim statistics on how we are poisoning ourselves and our planet, bold decisions from the UN Environment Assembly are critical,” said head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim. “That is as true for threats like pollution as it is for climate change and the many other environmental threats we face.”
Corroborating the report, Ibrahim Jibril, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment in his statement at the plenary averred that “pollution affects the air, soil, rivers, seas, and health of Nigerians in an adverse way even though the actual cost has not been determined. Trans-boundary pollution, according to Jibril, “accounts for 28% of disease burdens in Africa.” The UNEA-3 will run from 4-6 December.
United Nations Environment in conjunction with UN Women, the African Union and the Pan African Parliament has today (December 2nd) launched the African Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework at the United Nations Complex in Nairobi.
The launch was followed by a panel discussion on innovative solutions to empower African women in the energy sector.
The session, which was chaired by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, saw participants discuss the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the clean energy sector.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Joanes Atela from the African Center for Technology Studies said over 70 per cent of Africans don’t have access to clean and sustainable energy, adding that this energy poverty is driven by economic poverty.
“There is a close relationship between access to energy and social-economic development,” he said.
Dr Atela noted that women are at the center of energy needs in Africa, adding that women’s needs are much more critical in national and regional development.
Speaking at the same time, a representative from Strauss Energy Limited in Kenya noted that there are many policies developed on clean energy but the implementation takes time to be effected, this she said was punitive for investors in the clean energy space.
Her sentiments were echoed by Aminata, a clean energy entrepreneur from Sierra Leone, who said that one of the issues facing women entrepreneurs in her country is that policies are not harmonized between government and other agencies, which is discouraging them from venturing into clean energy.
She noted that women entrepreneurs are charged an exorbitant fee, which is also charged on other companies including mining companies, which have more funds.
The women entrepreneurs who attended the meeting noted that access to finance has proved to be one of the greatest challenges facing them, adding that it would help if development banks provided financing to women operating in the clean energy space.
They lamented that there are no incentives to ensure commercial banks support women entrepreneurs, adding red tape coupled with high interest rates has become an obstacle to women entrepreneurs.
However, speaking at the same function, Jennifer, a representative from Rafiki Micro-finance noted that the institution finances groups (chamas) made up of 90 per cent women membership under their Chama Product, adding that they don’t require collateral.
“We give women facilities that don’t require collateral to ensure the traditional custodianship of property does not affect them,” she noted.
A representative from Safaricom also gave a testimonial of the value that mobile-based loans have offered small women traders, adding that there is an opportunity in the space to enable more women entrepreneurs to get access to funding.
The meeting noted that it was important for women to be involved in the entire energy value chain, noting that for a large part, women have been consumers and distributors of energy, not generators.
The Africa Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework (AWEEF) will be used as a platform to address the challenges and obstacles facing women entrepreneurs and to implement innovative solutions that will encourage the participation of women in the entire energy value chain.
The programme contributes towards the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, SDG 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change), SDG 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) and SDG 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
Martha Mbithi has lived at Jenini Village in Mwingi for over 40 years.
The 52-year-old mother of 12 has seen the impacts of climate change in her village, which have grossly affected her farming activities and livelihood for her family.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance conducted a field visit recently to assess how Ms Mbithi and other members of her village are coping with the effects of changing weather patterns following various trainings that have been carried out to educate them on how to cope.
Speaking to our team, Ms Mbithi explained in detail how the flora of the area has changed over the years, noting that some plants have completely disappeared and that farmers have abandoned the farming of certain crops due to harsh weather conditions and failed crops.
After attending a training organized by PACJA, Ms Mbithi has adopted better farming practices such as terraces, crop diversification, and early planting to adapt to the changing climate.
She noted that although this is her first farming season after PACJA’s intervention, she’s observing gradual changes on her farm.
Some of the changes she noted included, reduced surface erosion, increased water retention, increase on-farm organic matters. With the changes that have occurred, she believes that she will have an increase in crop yield and a good harvest in the next rainy season.
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.