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The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has welcomed the commitments by developed states and private businesses to move away from fossil fuels toward greener enterprises in a bid to mitigate climate change.

Speaking in Paris, France during the One Planet Summit, PACJA Secretary General Mithika Mwenda lauded the commitments by private organisations to mitigate climate change, saying it was time rich nations took responsibility for the part they played in speeding up climate change.

Here are five of the major areas covered during the summit:

  • Oil and gas

The World Bank said it would stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction — representing about two percent of its current portfolio — from 2019, becoming the first multilateral bank to take such a step.

From next year the bank will publish a yearly index of greenhouse gas-related projects it provides funding for and will price in carbon costs when it comes to assessing future investments.

  • Coal

Insurance giant Axa announced it will cease investing in any company involved in the construction of coal plants and will withdraw about 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion) from the sector.

The French firm also said it will pull 700 million euros from projects linked to tar sands pipeline projects, and put nine billion euros into "green" infrastructural investment through 2020.

  • Investors

More than 200 large-scale investors, including HSBC and the major US pension fund CalPERS, have agreed to put pressure on the world's 100 most polluting companies to persuade them to reduce emissions.

The "Climate Action 100+" initiative will target oil giants such as BP and Chevron as well as transport behemoths Airbus and Ford and mining groups ArcelorMittal, BHP Billiton and Glencore.

  • Aid

The French Development Agency (AFD) signed agreements with a clutch of African states including Niger and Tunisia to help them in their fight against climate change, including countering the effects of erosion.

Under the agreements, 30 million euros will be set aside for 15 developing counties over four years.

  • Farming

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission promised to earmark more than $600 million for agricultural research to combat the effects of climate change.

The Gates Foundation itself pledged $315 million to help the poorest players in the sector, notably in Africa, adapt to global warming, while the European Commission pledged $318 million.

The One Planet Summit was convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

More information from AFP

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, with funding support from Trocaire through the Irish Aid 2017-2021 Kenya programme, on Monday conducted a training on energy policies and adoption of available technologies in Mwingi, Kitui County.

The training that was held under the project “Enhancing Policy Change on Natural Resource Management and Climate Change at the National and County level’’ brought together 40 participants drawn from the Natural Resource Management (NRM) group and Community Disaster Management Rapid Response (CDMRR).

The groups were taken from Ngumi and Ngomeni Wards in Mwingi Sub-County in Kitui County. During the training, the participants were trained on to the existing policies at the county and national level. The participants also gained knowledge in the following critical topics: Energy Efficient Cooking stoves, Efficient Charcoal production (including Kitui county charcoal production regulation), Solar power, Biogas production, and Biomass.

The participants learned that by adopting clean energy technologies they would reap immense benefits including reduced time and cost needed to get energy services while protecting their local environment and subsequently, contributing to hunger and poverty reduction in their communities.

Speaking after the conclusion of the session, the participants noted that they are happy with the new knowledge and skills acquired during the training, adding that after the training they developed key policy message to address to their policymakers.   A similar training is ongoing in Ishira-Embu County.

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The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is today (December 7) holding a Food Security and climate change workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania under the OSIEA funded project dubbed “Strengthening The Capacity Of Pastoralists Organizations To Engage In Climate Change Processes At National And Regional Levels”.

The workshop that brings together pastoralist organisations from different areas in the country aims to build the capacity of said organisations in dealing with climate change to enhance food security of pastoralists as well as exploring other economic activities with a view of enhancing the community’s resilience to the effects of climate change.

The meeting will also provide a platform on which to discuss a supportive policy arrangement that would encourage climate action in pastoral communities.

Pastoralism is the main source of livelihood in arid and semi-arid areas of eastern Africa where livestock has not only economic value, but also social. However, climate change presents a danger to the stability of this way of life

According to a 2015 report, Tanzania has the second largest livestock population in the African continent comprising 25 million cattle, 98 per cent of which are indigenous breeds, complemented by 16.7 million goats, and 8 million sheep, with livestock activities contributing 7.4 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

 

 

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 is today (Monday, November 27, 17) marking the end of the inception phase of the Angaza project in a workshop at Ngong Hills Hotel in Nairobi.

The Angaza Project, also known as Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy for Improved Climate Change Governance in Kenya, is facilitated by PACJA through support from the DFID Deepening Democracy Programme managed by DAI.

The project is proposed for implementation by the Momentum Committee to strengthen and transform the committee into a vibrant and effective CSO platform for climate governance in Kenya through achievement of its goals and objectives.

The project broadly aims to catalyze and facilitate civil society and broader citizen participation in the implementation of the National Climate Change Act, 2016, review of the National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-2022), Implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions and Influence the National Climate Council.

During the workshop, PACJA aims to discuss and validate rules of engagement for participation or membership in the Momentum Committee as well as discuss and finalize the decision on new membership requests.

The meeting will also facilitate discussions on membership and roles of thematic working groups, including validation of thematic working groups’ terms of reference.

Participants will further discuss and validate the simplified tool for tracking national climate change funds as well as validate reports.

The meeting is attended by various stakeholders involved in the project's implementation. 

Civil Societies in Turkana County under the auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance have submitted a raft of recommendations to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources aimed at helping the local community to cope with the effects of climate change.

During the roundtable meeting that was organized by PACJA, the CSOs recommended that the county government designate an area for herding, adding that there was a need for a holistic approach to pasture management. They further urged that the county government introduces the practice of growing fodder in the county to boost their ability to feed their cattle.

They urged the county government to gazette more forest areas such as Lochoko to increase forest reserves and called for a tree planting component to be included in the county integrated development plan.

The local CSOs further called for the improvement of cooking stoves to make them more efficient thus reducing the felling of trees for firewood, adding that the initiative should be extended to the refugee camps as they too contribute to the felling of trees for firewood in the country.

The members noted the there was a need for the county government to control wetlands, water catchment areas and unsustainable tapping of water by small-scale farmers along River Turkwel.

On pollution, the CSOs noted that the county government would be required to ensure that Tullow Oil disposes of its waste safely so as not to affect the people and livestock in the surroundings.

They called on the county government to develop the county climate change policy and fast track the implementation of policies and Bills that have been put in place to safeguard the environment.

Saying that capacity building was important, the local civil society organisations urged the county government to conduct training through public platforms to teach the community about the importance of conserving their environment. They further called for the re-introduction of 4K clubs in schools to introduce the younger generation to issues of environmental management early.

The noted that the greening programme should be undertaken by all county departments and the communities, adding that there was a need to monitor the tree nurseries to ensure the growth of tree cover.

The members recommended that the county set up a climate change fund to help in mitigation actions, adding that the county should prioritize issues to do with the environment during the budget process. 

They highlighted the need for research in generating evidence on best practices in environmental conservation, adding that the county government should support community activities by providing resources and working with other partners to ensure the success of projects.

The meeting that took place on Thursday, November 16, 2017, was attended by 12 CSOs working within Turkana County.

The roundtable meeting was organized under the project “Improving Civil Society Engagements in Mainstreaming Climate Change at National and county level sectoral policies and programmes” that is currently being implemented by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in Baringo and Turkana.

To realize its objectives, PACJA is working in collaboration with relevant government ministries including the ministry of Environment & Natural Resources, Ministry of Water, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Energy and Private sector, as well as other civil society organisations both at the national and county level.

African leaders have called for a speedy conclusion of negotiations on the Paris Climate Change Agreement saying it is almost too late to alleviate the suffering of millions of people occasioned by climate change.

Speaking during a press conference organised by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, the leaders said it was time developed country parties fulfilled their responsibility by giving compensation to developing countries suffering the impacts of climate change.

The leaders noted that people are losing their livelihoods and their way of life is being affected as they struggle to adhere to the rules of the Paris Agreement yet they are not being compensated for this loss.

You can watch the full press conference through this link

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.

Thursday, 09 November 2017 00:00

CSO participation key to GCF success

Civil society organisations have been encouraged to make their voices heard in the Green Climate Fund process to enhance the success of the fund.

Speaking during a side event organized by the German Watch, TEBTEBA, International Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN) and the Pan African Climate Change Alliance (PACJA), experts warned that the exclusion of CSOs in crucial meetings and process of the fund would compromise the fund’s effectiveness in achieving its set objectives. 

Dr Curtis Doebbler, a representative from ISMUN highlighted the crucial role played by CSOs in project implementation, noting that in various World Bank-funded projects, CSOs have been instrumental in pointing out flaws in project design and implementation.

“Many times, it is the CSOs that have pointed out to the World Bank when a project has been more harmful than beneficial to the community,” he said.

Dr Doebbler noted that CSO participation in the GCF process is crucial, adding that it would be impossible to know what is needed at the community level without their participation.

He regretted that civil societies face a dearth of information on GCF processes before board meetings, noting that most of this information is technical and CSOs may lack the capacity to fully comprehend it before attending board meetings.

“There is a dearth of information for civil society regarding GCF processes before the board meeting so most times they go into these meetings without the documents. Even when they get these documents, they cannot understand them because most of them lack the capacity,” he said.

He lamented that the COP has not provided enough funding to CSOs to engage in these processes, adding that participating in these forums is an expensive affair. 

“CSOs don’t have funding and are most times the poorest in the room during these meetings,” he quipped.

He noted that there are instruments that CSOs could use to enhance participation in the process such as Human Rights processes.

“I hope CSOs will look toward Human rights instruments to enhance participation because it needs enhancing for the success of the fund”, he said.

Speaking at the same forum, Julius Karanja, a project assistant at PACJA, said it was important for Civil Society Organisations to be involved from the very beginning of a project during project design.

Mr Kimaren Ole Riamit, the executive director of Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), who also spoke at the side event, pointed out that indigenous people hold a wealth of knowledge that could provide solutions to the problem that is facing the world right now.

“We think of ourselves as custodians of Nature,” he said.

He lauded the fund for recognizing the need for indigenous people to engage but noted that the fund’s modalities make it impossible for indigenous people to participate or access funding.

“We need a robust consultative arrangement enabling indigenous people to engage in the GCF framework,” he remarked.

The Green Climate Fund is a fund that was established to assist in limiting greenhouse gas emissions by investing in low emission and climate-resilient development in developing countries and to help vulnerable societies adapt to climate change.

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