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.
We conclude the National Pastoral Stakeholders Technical Consultative Meeting in Uganda with Pastoralists’ Civil Society recommending certain clauses to add their voices on the Uganda draft Climate change Bill. This event hosted representatives from various sectors, including pastoralists’ organizations from all the pastoralist regions, youth, women, private sector and other actors working with pastoralist communities
While noting that pastoralism has traditional mechanisms and knowledge of dealing with an unreliable climate, participants underscored the unique nature of the practice that depends on nature for production and has high adaptability to the changing climate. Despite this, climate change was recognized as an aggravating factor to the now frequent climate induced challenges that pastoralists are currently facing. Participants deeply reflected on diverse and dynamic issues on pastoralism and climate change. Issues such as land rights, need for research to support adaptation measures that enhance the resilience of pastoral ecosystems, policy gaps in market mechanisms such as insurance and livestock off-setting during tough climate change times and need for enabling environment for pastoralist involvement and integration in climate change and environmental work were interrogated. Cognizant of the misconception that pastoralism equals under-development and is presented as an outdated, economically inefficient, chaotic and environmentally destructive practice, participants deeply interrogating these myths and challenged them. Participants noted that these perceptions play a major role in marginalizing pastoralist communities leaving them vulnerable to climate change. These perceptions unfortunately drive national policy development agenda.
Persistent under-valuation of pastoralism has effectively trapped millions of dry land pastoralists in a cycle of poverty, conflict and environmental degradation. Despite these challenges, pastoralism has immense potential to ensure food security, reduce poverty, manage the environment, promote sustainable development and build resilience due to effective use of land considered marginal for other productive uses. There is therefore dire need for both policy action and practical solutions to the climate change needs of pastoral communities.
At the end of the meeting, the following recommendations were made for consideration in the Climate change Bill:
On Minority and marginalized groups (including Indigenous peoples) inclusion and Integration in decision making;
The Climate change bill should explicitly take into consideration the rights of minorities in pursuant of Article 36 of the constitution of Uganda and in pursuant of Article 32 of the constitution and have their representation included in both the National and District Climate change Advisory Committees as marginalization makes them extremely vulnerable to climate change.
In view of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Paris Agreement acknowledgement of the Indigenous peoples, we recognize the unique context of the bill that although recognizes indigenous knowledge fails to recognize indigenous peoples within the bill. The climate change bill should therefore seek to take note and recognize within Article 2 (interpretation of marginalized groups) the reality that indigenous peoples and groups who are custodians of this knowledge form part of the minority and marginalized groups and their rights should be secured and safeguarded together with other minority groups by the Climate change Bill.
Local level climate change governance;
While the NEMA bill noted in part 2(Institutional arrangements) Section 13 and 14 gives mandate to the District and lower local level Environment Committees to assume the role that Climate change committees would undertake, we have concerns that this would not adequately address climate change issues due to the complexity of climate change issues. We recommend that the Environment Committees at the District and lower local government levels have the local Environment officers as designate focal points in the Committees for technical support and advice on climate change matters. We further recommend that representatives of local communities be incorporated in these committees. Where indigenous peoples’ groups live, the bill should give priority to the leaders of these communities.
On Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous Peoples rights;
In cognizant of the need for complimentary knowledge to science in responding to climate change, we recommend the inclusion of traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems in (Article 15, 3(a) and Article 16, 2 (a) of the bill.
Climate change processes at the international and regional arena have secured the rights of indigenous peoples and form part of the requirements for access to various climate opportunities such as climate finance.
We strongly recommend the explicit mention of indigenous peoples in Article 16, 3(e) to ensure integration of their involvement in climate projects and programmes approval in areas where such communities exist, a step that will give Uganda mileage in the climate change discourse.
On Land tenure and mobility;
We recognize the importance of land as a factor of production in facilitating response measures to climate change and note that pastoralism is a practice dependent on this factor of production. As a main source of livelihood that is threatened by climate change, we strongly recommend affirmative action in addressing climate induced challenges in pastoralism. Measures such as pasture production and conservation, water resource management for livestock use and proper land use practices that recognize pastoralist land use rights and tenure security can be explored.
In pursuant to solutions that enhance pastoral ecosystem resilience, we recommend that the bill equally recognizes livestock farming and incorporates representation of pastoralists and livestock farmers.
To provide highest resolve to advance solution oriented discussions in light of climate change, we recommend the presentation of pastoralists’ vulnerabilities on land by the representative of the Ministry responsible for Lands during the National Advisory Committee meeting in Section 2, 8. In line with our submission on lower local level climate change governance(part 1.1 of this recommendation document), we further call for representation of relevant local civil society and area cultural leaders at the District and lower local level Environment Committees structures in Section 2:13,14.
On environmental protection and conservation;
Cognizant of the fact that pastoralism is a practice that depends on the environment for its undertaking, we acknowledge the need to enhance resilience of pastoral ecosystems and propose the exploration and use of various environmentally sound pastoralism practices that incorporate various climate change response measures to enhance co-existence of pastoralism with nature.
In pursuant to this, the bill should recognize other supportive legislation such as rangeland management policy whose development and finalization should take into consideration the voice of pastoralist communities.
On public participation;
Whilst Section 22 of the draft bill provides for public participation, it does not recognize the special position and rights of indigenous people whose unique position requires deliberate, systemic engagement in climate –related action.
We propose that Section 22 further makes mandatory the free, prior and informed consent of pastoralists and other indigenous peoples in Uganda in processes related to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
On Capacities for engagement;
In addition to other needs for implementation of the climate change bill once enacted, the state should put in place mechanisms to develop the capacity of its institutions to deliver climate action and support vulnerable communities to deal with climate change effects.
We therefore strongly call for the inclusion of capacity development of institutions and explicit mention of district and lower local level climate change departments to facilitate management of processes promoting the rights of vulnerable groups of people including women, children, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in partnership with Caritas Kitui organized a Stakeholders consultative forum on the development of climate change policies. The workshop aims to influence and initiate the development of best-fit climate change policy at the county level that incorporates Natural Resource Management and adopt Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EbA) in its overall approach. Participants from Community based organizations, civil society organizations, National Drought Management Authority, Youth Networks, County Government Ministries (Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Livestock, Ministry of Environment) National Environment Management Authority, Media, Kenya Forest Research Institute, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Meteorological Department and other development partners at the county level were in attendance.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Deputy Director, Mr. Benjamin Mukulo opened the workshop by acknowledging that climate change is a disaster in Kitui County, and the county must adapt to its’impact.
After devolution, counties were given a lot of responsibilities on issues at the local level, which gives all stakeholders a role to play, including natural resource management. In order for this to be effective, county governments need policies and legislations put in place and implementation by all the stakeholders.
Hon. Charity Ngilu, Governor – Kitui County recently banned sand harvesting and charcoal burning in the county, which was a mitigation measure towards natural resource protection. At the national level, the national assembly passed the county Climate Change Act, 2016, which calls for implementation at the county level. All these require concerted efforts by the county government and all stakeholders to ensure its domestication at the county level.
Currently, all county governments are in the process of putting in place the second generation of County Integrated Development Plans (CIPDs), and this is an opportunity for each county department to mainstream climate change with mitigation measures in these plans.
Going forward, the county needs to bring all the county officials to understand climate change, its causes, the impacts as well the adaptation and mitigation measures.
‘We will all work together to fight all the causes of climate change, like charcoal burning, which many see as a source of livelihoods. The ministry will support livelihood generation activities to fight against charcoal burning, which is one of the major contributors of climate change,’’ the deputy director concluded.
He thanked the development partners, UKaid and Trocaire for their support on the project, and the organizers for bringing together stakeholder’s in Kitui County for such a forum. This engagements will pave way for other similar processes for partnerships at the county level.
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.