wrapper

Top News

Items filtered by date: June 2020

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) have released a paper on Perspectives on Addressing Climate-Related Security Risks from the Horn of Africa. The Paper is a result of a two-year (2018-2020) process by the Horn of the Africa Climate Security Working Group (HoA-CSWG) convened by the three organisations. The Working Group brought together representatives drawn from civil society and experts from the Horn of Africa region to analyse the complexity of violent conflict in the region and its relationship with climate change and identify locally-anchored ideas to develop better responses to climate-related security risks in the region. The objective was to jointly analyse the regional dimension of climate related security risks, suggest mechanisms to address these and develop criteria to climatise ongoing efforts of conflict prevention and peace processes. The following criteria thus represent an agreement among the members of the Group.

Climate-related changes compound the prevailing social, economic and political challenges, especially in regions such as the Horn of Africa, where agriculture and pastoralism are an important source of livelihood. With the deprivation of livelihoods, climate impacts increase security risks and the likelihood of violent conflicts. The risks that ensue include heightened political tensions within and between countries of the region, as well as violent conflict – which can lead to forced displacement. Furthermore, climate-related security risks increase the challenges for conflict prevention and regulation in the Horn of Africa region. Responding to climate-related security challenges requires an integrated approach that combines knowledge on climate risks with the social and political realities of the region. To improve responses, it is therefore important to interrogate how conflicts and conflict-related migration in the Horn of Africa are affected by climate change and to identify and develop adequate measures for conflict prevention and resolution that are regionally owned, without taking accountability away from violent actors. It is important to not leave such an interrogation and identification to governments and experts alone, but actively involve civil society representatives and those most affected by climate change at the community level.

Consequently, climate-related security risks are now prominently discussed at different levels in the region. The topic has garnered the attention of the UN Security Council, where climate change was recognised as a risk to peace. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) dedicated its 828th meeting on February 19, 2019, to an open session on Climate Change, Peace and Security, and is continuously developing its climate security frameworks. Climate change and security was also discussed at a side event at the High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations in July 2019, and specifically on Somalia in February 2020.

Building on the assessment of the climate security context in the region, members of the Horn of Africa Climate Security Working Group jointly analysed the regional dimension of climate related security risks, suggested mechanisms to address these and developed a criteria to “climatise” ongoing efforts of conflict prevention and peace processes.

The Working Group, through periodic meetings between 2018 and 2020, as well as specific research papers, developed the criteria which can be found in the paper http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/iez/16301.pdf on addressing climate security in the region.

PACJA secretariat would like to join our Nigerian platform CsDEVNet to congratulate its member, Dr Priscilla M Achakpa, on her appointment as the Special Advisor (Technical) to the Honorable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria.

Dr Achakapa, who holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Business Engineering and Management (Bosnia and Herzegovina), MSC Development Studies, Professional Certificate from Harvard University Business School and a development practitioner, has at least 20 years’ experience in matters of environment, gender and climate change, and is, without a doubt, best for the opportunity she just landed.

This is a worthy reward for the sharp, but very down-to-earth environmentalist, who has held many positions at national and international levels, working with a wide range of development actors and CSOs in the area of gender, environment and climate change.

Congratulations on your well-deserved success Dr Prisilah and indeed to the entire CSDevNet team.

By Collins Oduor

African countries’ recovery plans, stimulus packages and budgetary allocations must right the wrongs of the 25th Conference of Parties to boost the continent’s health and livelihoods resilience for enhanced economies.

Despite the high expectations, the 25th Conference of Parties (COP) firmed no concrete action on boosting the resilience of the most predisposed to the impacts of climate change – African Countries.  “I am disappointed with the results of COP25. The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis. But we must not give up, and I will not give up. I am more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise”. These were the words of the UN Secretary General António Guterres after the conclusion of the failed global negotiations on climate crisis in Madrid, Spain in 2019.

As if the failed negotiations were not enough, 2020 saw the outbreak of the deadly corona virus halting almost every sector from operation. The results, coupled with the already existing vulnerability of the continent to the impacts of climate change, have seen shrinking economies, increased household level vulnerability as a result of loss of and limited jobs as well as stressed ecosystems and biodiversity – mostly as a result of deforestation and poaching. Surely, we are living in tough times requiring very thoughtful yet rapid response to enhance both health and livelihoods resilience for enhanced economies amidst the new normal, which is estimated to dent Africa’s already stagnant economies by billions (almost half of Africa’s GDP) of shillings by the Economic Commission of African (ECA).

Amidst the increasing challenges, the disruption of global supply systems have helped identify the existent potential of the African continent and countries to activate key sectors of their economies for sustenance. Currently, Kenya for instance, besides making available slightly over Sh53 billion for her economic stimulus programme, recently, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, unveiled the Government’s spending plan of about Sh2.1 trillion for the next financial year, anchored on the President Uhuru Kenyatta - championed Big Four agenda and outlined avenues to financing the budget as well as the tax measures taken.

While this is a commendable job done by the Treasury, the big question is the level of commitment the proposed budget is to acting locally – in supporting livelihoods of the Kenyan Citizens, while influencing internationally, especially as far as the elephant in the room – climate crisis – is concerned.  In the budget; for instance; there is a proposed tax on the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and solar equipment and accessories. While there might have been an analysis of this by the Cabinet Secretary, the introduced tax on these two may not align with our target of 100 per cent transition to green energy by 2020 to address the climate change challenge as envisioned by the President.

While this is just one case, there are quite a few cases we can draw from the budget for amendment to ensure Kenya’s commitment to climate action is firmed, health and livelihoods resilience are boosted and economy aspired to grow amidst the prevailing challenges for the benefit of other African countries.

 

  • The writer is an environment enthusiast and a project officer at PACJA

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) joined the rest of the world in celebrating the World Environment Day 2020. This important day is celebrated on June 5, every year. This day is set aside by United Nations for the purpose of raising awareness on environmental issues. The theme of this year’s celebrations revolves around biodiversity under the slogan: “It is time for Nature”.

Our platforms across the continent marked the world environment day through a variety of activities, with the common thing being webinars covering regions, videos making calls on the world to join in the work to treat nature better, as well as activations in social media for the same purpose. From Madagascar, to Ethiopia, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Ghana, the calls targeted all, from youth, to women, men, those living with disabilities, children, to act as individuals, and also to push relevant authorities to do their part in conservation. The videos were uploaded in the PACJA’s Youtube and shared widely.

In Kenya, the Kenya Platform on Climate Governance (KPCG), started the celebrations in May through a webinar on “Sustaining environmental conservation during and post Covid-19”. The Platform has also been mobilising the communities living around Mt Kenya ecosystem in planting more than 100,000 bamboo seedlings. The celebrations on June 5 culminated in a high-level webinar on biodiversity health and livelihood. It was co-hosted with other partners including WWF, Council of Governors and the UN Environment Programme. The platform also conducted activities at the county level to mark this important day. They included planting of trees and cleaning up the Indian Ocean beaches in Lamu. Several staff at the PACJA secretariat in Nairobi, starting from the Executive Director Mithika Mwenda, the Head of Programmes Salina Sanou, thematic lead on Resilient People, Society and Economies, as well as Project officer Collins Oduor and members of the KPCG (through MPIDO) Elijah Toirai and Abdul Baabad (Takataka Foundation in Lamu)  participated in debates and interviews on national and regional radio stations to discuss several aspects of climate change, climate justice and biodiversity. To sum it up, a game to interest the youth on matters of conservation and climate change was launched, while a word-smith and youths recorded another video in the Kibra slums, one of Africa’s biggest informal settlements, with a message to the youth to help preserve what nature gives for free.

Our platforms in the southern part of the continent, including Botswana and South Africa hosted a high level webinar themed: “Reducing Biodiversity Loss and Finding Solutions in Nature for Climate Change”. They Bohtswana team further shared sanitary towels, protective gear to prevent transmission of Covid-19 among locals as well as food stuff to the needy.

PACJA-Nigeria (CSDevNet) also hosted a high level webinar on biological life and coastal communities. PACJA Morocco took part in this webinar. PACJA Gabon and Ivory Coast platforms marked the day through a webinar, while Burkina Faso and Togo planted trees to mark the day, while PACJA’s platform in Tunisia focused on conservation of medicinal plants as part of celebrations to mark the World Environment Day. This they did by convening a physical meeting with representatives of several civil society organisations and other local actors from Bizerte to discuss the Northern African country’s strategy on preservation and enhancement of medicinal plants in the region.

Biodiversity is an asset to our planet. All parts of an ecosystem – animals, plants, microbes, and humans – are interconnected. In order for the planet to thrive, we need to not only find ways to meet increasing demands for better lives, but to do so in ways that also protect healthy ecosystems and the many organisms that inhabit them. We are living in times when biodiversity is severely threatened. We have seen many cases of organisms becoming extinct while the population of others is declining sharply.

Lately there has been a worrying trend of human beings interfering with forests and animal habitats. This has culminated in human-wildlife conflicts. Unfortunately, conflict between people and wildlife today ranks amongst the main threats to conservation in Africa - alongside habitat destruction. As a result, there exist many human-wildlife conflict hotspots in the continent. Such conflicts are mainly attributed to increased human population and loss of animal habitats. Uncontrolled human activities, especially crop farming, charcoal burning, timber harvesting for commercial purposes, and human settlement have denied nature its rightful peace. In some areas, there is even competition between human beings and animals for the few existing water points.

The worst and latest trend that is a threat to wildlife habitats has been infrastructural developments implemented in total disregard of sensitivity of these fragile and yet critical ecosystems.

PACJA has been at the forefront in advocating policies that are responsive to the global needs for conservation of biodiversity. This year, we were looking forward to the 15th Conference of Parties for the convention on biodiversity aim to agree on the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), including 2030 targets for maintaining biodiversity and a longer-term vision for nature. These negotiations are important since the contemporary world is unprecedentedly losing biodiversity, carbon stocks, and ecosystem services. A failure to conserve habitats and halt species’ extinction would have knock-on effects on objectives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), since significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from the destruction and degradation of forests, peatlands, wetlands and other high carbon ecosystems. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected many conferences, including UNFCCC’s COP 26. The Covid-19 pandemic was unprecedented but it has disrupted the entire globe, whereupon in such phenomena, social structures and institutions are put into test. Unlike other calamities like climate-induced droughts, flooding, hurricanes and typhoons that are usually localised and come and go fast, the rapid manner in which Covid-19 has engulfed the entire world has left humanity in a state of shock, socially, economically and politically, and will lead to emergence of new cultural practices, power relations and resource distribution.

The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the already delicate situation in the African continent, which faces a myriad other challenges, including climate-induced droughts, floods, landslides, desert locusts invasions and water scarcity; and deepening poverty.

Africa faces a high potential for increased emissions, as its forests are under continuous threat from deforestation and degradation. This is because Africa is home to the largest proportion of forest-dependent subsistence households in the world. Consequently, the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Africa are mainly subsistence livelihood-related national and local scale drivers. This situation is likely to be worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exerted a lot of pressure to the economies world over and more so in Africa. Many people have lost jobs and their livelihoods. The rural poor communities in Africa are barely struggling to survive. There is a likelihood that the forests in Africa will experience increased pressure from communities seeking survival in the midst of this Covid -19 crisis, thereby watering down the gains so far made in conservation.

PACJA being a network with more than 1,000 CSOs distributed in 48 countries across Africa has curved its niche in the climate change space. We believe the World Environment Day is a critical time when the world should reflect on the planetary health. We believe that there are linkages and interdependencies between biodiversity and climate change in the preparation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This is informed by reports and assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services without prejudice to the process for developing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and respecting the mandates of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNFCCC.

 

In the end, and in order to promote biodiversity economy, PACJA called for an ambitious post-2020 framework, underpinned by transformative change to curb biodiversity decline, with strategic goals that address all three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity with smart targets that address the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, predictable financing and transparent reporting and monitoring.

Page 1 of 2

Get Involved

Get in Touch

House No.J13, Kabarnet road, Ngong Road, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 0208075808
Email:info@pacja.org, appeals@pacja.org

For feedback or grievances contact
+254  202003621          
complaints@pacja.org, appeals@pacja.org