Tag: Africa

Will Doha be an oasis of hope or doom for the poor?

This generation has witnessed unforgettable catastrophes of climate change. The most affected are the rural and poorer people of developing countries, Africa in particular. The African continent has contributed the least to the problem and is the one least able to cope with the impacts, because we depend heavily on climate sensitive activities for our survival. Most of the NAPAs from Africa prioritized agriculture, water, health, energy, forestry and wetlands, wildlife and tourism as the most vulnerable sectors.

The whistle for negotiations in Doha has been blown and negotiators are running from one room to another to ensure as much ground is covered as possible within one week. However, most of the outcomes of these discussions are not in favour of the interests of the developing countries, including Africa, leaving most of the negotiators dejected and frustrated.

However, there is still hope to be salvaged  Doha-Qatar negotiations and asking negotiators from Annex 1 countries must be friends in need so that we become friends indeed by focusing on the scientific imperative. They must reflect on the dangers that climate change already felt by vulnerable regions of Africa and other developing countries. This will be easily seen by finalizing and adopting a meaningful and effective second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, addressing the outstanding issues under the convention track in accordance with the 2007 Bali mandate and setting the negotiations under the Durban Platform for enhanced action on firm footing to adopting a legally binding agreement by 2015.

Africa is looking for an agreement that will assure to undertake mitigation and adaptation through effective finance mechanism and technology transfer.

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Media Advisory – Webcast Notice: Civil society reflections on the start of the COP17 and the roles of corporations and key Parties.

UNFCCC CLIMATE TALKS IN DURBAN:

NGO BRIEFING ON THE NEGOTIATIONS

Civil society reflections on the start of the COP17 and the roles of corporations and key Parties.

[Durban, South Africa] Climate Action Network – International will host a media briefing, webcast live, to outline civil society expectations for a successful outcome of UN climate talks in Durban beginning this week.

International NGO experts will discuss civil society reflections on the first days of COP17, look into the country dynamics at Durban, and highlight the impact of corporations on the negotiations.

The briefing takes place at the UNFCCC conference venue, on Wednesday, November 30, at 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT), Kosi Palm (ICC MR 21 ABCG) NGO Press Conference Room.

It will be webcast live at: http://bit.ly/DurbanWebcast

NGO experts on the panel will include: Hans Verolme of National Wildlife Federation; Georgina Woods of CAN Australia, and Ferrial Adam of Greenpeace Africa.
 
What: Briefing on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Durban

Where: Kosi Palm (ICC MR 21 ABCG) NGO Press Conference Room, UNFCCC conference venue, Durban

Webcast Live via www.unfccc.int, or at: http://bit.ly/CANwebcasts

When: 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT), Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who:     Hans Verolme – National Wildlife Federation
    Georgina Woods – Climate Action Network Australia
    Ferrial Adam – Greenpeace Africa

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.  For more information go to: www.climatenetwork.org

For more information please contact:

David Turnbull, CAN International, +27 (0) 78 889 6827 (local mobile)

Every day at 18:00 local time CAN gives the Fossil of the Day to the Parties that obstruct the negotiations the most. You can watch the Fossil ceremony at the CAN booth in the DEC building and get the press releases every day at: http://www.climatenetwork.org/fossil-of-the-day

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Mahlet Eyassu: what is needed on climate finance this year.

Mahlet Eyassu: what is needed on climate finance this year.

Mahlet Eyassu from Forum for Environment-Ethiopia speaks on what is needed on climate financing before the conclusion of the Durban UN Climate Talks in December 2011.

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Drought in Ethiopia Requires Financing From Developed Countries...Do It by Durban!

Mahlet Eyassu: what is needed on climate finance this year.

Photo Credit: Manjeet Dhakal

Mahlet Eyassu
Climate Change Program Manager
Forum for Environment
Ethiopia

We are now in Panama, for the intersessional which is the last meeting before the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Durban. The 17th COP will be in Durban, South Africa, which make this a very important COP for Africa.  Africa along with Least Developed Countries and the Small Island States are the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Even though Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries that is showing a rapid economic growth, it is still being affected by drought.

At the moment the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, is confronted with recurring climate change related disasters, in particular prolonged droughts and floods. This drought is said to be the worst in 60 years. Drought is not something new for Ethiopia nor the Horn. However, it has become more recurrent and severe in the last decades.  Climate change is making the matters and problems worse for us who are under-developed.

In order to address the impacts of climate change, countries are negotiating under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In its 15th and 16th meetings an agreement was reached that developed countries will be supporting adaptation and mitigation actions of developing countries. We are now approaching the end of 2011, where the fast start finance of $30 billion for the years 2010-2012 is about to end. The other decision we have is the one on long-term finance to mobilize $100 billion by 2020. So far there are no pledges from the developed countries for the year 2013 and onwards.  That is a worry for us coming from the developing world. We have learned some lessons from the fast start finance, which is not new and not additional to the ODA, but is just relabeled as climate finance, given in the form of loans instead of grants. There is an imbalance between adaptation and mitigation with more money going to mitigation actions instead of adaptation.

Forty member countries of the transitional committee are designing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) of whose works will be presented in Durban to be approved by the Conference of Parties (COP).  However, most developed countries do not want to have any form of discussion on long-term finance which is supposed to fill this fund. With all of these climate related disasters happening in most parts of the world, especially developing countries being the most vulnerable and having no capacity to adapt, adaptation finance is very crucial for us. It is a matter of survival and should be taken seriously by others. Developed countries need to get more serious and commit themselves to discuss the sources of finance that will feed into the new fund. If we want an outcome in Durban, most discussions and texts need to happen here in Panama.

It is good to note that, developing countries at the local and national level are also working to raise funds for their adaptation and mitigation actions. In my organization back home, Forum for Environment-Ethiopia, we have started an initiative to raise funds, which can be used for some local adaptation actions. We have started implementing the green tax initiative in which 1% of our salaries are deducted every month. We have done this for the past year and have raised small amount, which has not been used yet. Now we want this to be taken up by other organizations at the country-level to show our commitments by raising more money and taking  local initiatives. We have started the process of engaging others to hopefully have a larger impact. Progress in Panama in all issues, especially finance, is very important for us to achieve something in the African COP in Durban.
 

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[VOICE] SOLAR POWER HELPS TACKLE DEFORESTATION

Author: Colette Benoudji, LEAD Tchad

The Chad government’s decision last year to ban the use of firewood for cooking was a brave attempt to reduce deforestation, but it has caused significant hardship among those who depended on it. A campaign to distribute solar cooking stoves has given thousands of women across the country a much-needed alternative, demonstrating how technological innovation can provide a neat solution to environmental and development problems.

Like other countries in the African Sahel, the semi-arid region bordering the Sahara, Chad is threatened with creeping desertification. Years of low rainfall have allowed the sands to advance on areas that used to hold vegetation. Evaporation and the diversion of water for agriculture have caused Lake Chad to shrink from 25,000 square kilometers in the early 1960s to just 3,000 square kilometers today, with the Sahara sands moving southwards across its northern shores. As a result of the effects of drought and desertification on agriculture, the UN and other experts have predicted a food shortage that could affect several million people later this year.

The government says desertification has been hastened by the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for charcoal, used widely for cooking. Last year, the country’s president, Idriss Déby, issued a decree banning the use of firewood and charcoal for cooking in an attempt to stem the loss of tree cover. This has been strictly enforced, and families have been forced to burn everything from furniture to plant roots to cook. The government has been encouraging the use of gas, but few Chadians have gas equipment.

Lead Tchad received training from the non-profit KoZon Foundation in The Netherlands to work on a technology-based solution to this problem, one that could help save trees as well as giving families an alternative means of cooking: solar stoves. These consist of a foil-covered cardboard reflector which directs sunlight onto a dark pot. The pot is kept in a plastic bag to retain the heat. They cost less than US$10 eachand are easy to use .

Lead Tchad team started to train groups of women in Chad in how to use the stoves. This led to a meeting with the ministry of women’s affairs, at which we convinced them that solar stoves could help ease the hardship that the government’s ban on charcoal was causing women across the country, especially those in poor rural areas . During National Women’s Week last year , we launched a national campaign to distribute solar stoves to women attending the event.

Since then, the KoZon Foundation, the Government of Chadthroughout the Ministry of Women Affairs and other groupshave distributed more than 2,000 solar stoves to women in Chad, largely to women coming from the rural areas. The technology is playing a crucial role in helping the government cut deforestation rates, while offering people an alternative, affordable source of energy for cooking. The stoves are being used everywhere, though there have been problems. Some women are nervous of trying the new technology and the cooking styles it demands. Furthermore, the stoves work less effectively during the rainy season.

Thanks to this initiative, Lead Chad received funds from AED/USAIDfor supporting women in 3 rural villages in Chad with solar stoves project. Women in rural Chad are 90% illiterates so that Lead Tchad  try to link this project with adult women alphabetization.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • Innovative technologies can play a vital role in changing destructive habits such as the unsustainable use of resources.
  • Legislation prohibiting the use of natural resources can cause hardship especially for the poor unless alternatives are made available.
  • One of the keys to the introduction of solar stoves is training: people need to be familiarized with a new technology and shown its advantages before they will adopt it.

[VOICE] Climate Change Strikes Ethiopia

Climate change is affecting the lives of many, especially those that are highly vulnerable, like Africa, Small Island States and Least developed countries. A recent report on the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, released by global risks advisor firm, Maplecroft, has confirmed that Ethiopia is one of the countries with an extreme risk to be affected by climate change.

Impacts of climate change are being felt in different parts of the country already. There are more erratic and heavy rainfalls with short rainy seasons. Vulnerable countries such as Ethiopia have low adaptive capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change or none. In order to take any actions on climate change first we need to understand the problems by consulting with the affected people and find the best adaptive measures, as indigenous knowledge is very crucial.In Ethiopia, development interventions by different NGOs play an important role by providing resources for adaptation to climate change whose capacity needs to be enhanced. Therefore, it is very important to take lessons from this kind of practices and their impacts for developing and promoting proven and acceptable adaptation strategies.

In Ethiopia’s case, pastoral communities are among the most vulnerable groups who are affected by climate change. Borena zone in the southern part of the country is one of the chronic drought prone areas with underdeveloped infrastructure, harsh, and unpredictable environment. Due to these reasons, the zone has faced increased frequency of seasonal droughts, erratic and insufficient rainfall and flash floods. In turn it has led to feed and water scarcity, bush encroachment, food shortage, migration and human and livestock diseases.

Some of the interventions that the Federal and Regional governments have been undertaking include; range rehabilitation, asset protection, livelihood diversification and the productive safety-net and humanitarian interventions (during emergency situations). Non-governmental organizations have also been supporting the pastoral community through the implementation of projects aiming at ecological restoration, range rehabilitation, social protection and managing disaster risks. However, given the severity of the problem, much remains to be done by taking into consideration the added burden from the impacts of climate change on pastoral assets-livestock, water and pasture.

The major problem faced by this community includes rangeland degradation in the form of bush encroachment (invasion of species), poor pasture and feed scarcity. In order to enhance the management of rangelands, a local NGO operating in the area, Action for Development, has been engaged in bush clearing and water development projects and drought response measures such as destocking, supplementary livestock feeding, water rationing, and emergency livestock health services which has marked a change in the condition of the rangelands (particularly pasture), and in the health and productivity of the livestock. The water development interventions have increased the access to water and guarantee water availability and reduced the workload of women and the stress of livestock and herders from traveling long distance to access water. Since all the interventions were instrumental it ensured the feeling of community ownership and sustainability of water provision among the target communities. 

In order to make ongoing and future development interventions climate resilient these good practices need to be scaled up by empowering the local communities and institutions. Therefore, Parties who are negotiating in Cancun need to take actions now and make serious mitigation and financial commitments so that communities in vulnerable countries better adapt to climate change by scaling up good practices.

Mahlet Eyassu

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[VOICE] CLIMATE JUSTICE: THE WAY FORWARD FOR LIFE ON EARTH

Climate Change is about survival as well as the right to development. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean, people are facing compounded loss of biodiversity, food insecurity, water shortages, extreme weather conditions, increase in sea level…just to mention a few examples.

The coastal villages in Ghana, the communities living along the bank of the Volta River, dammed at Akosombo are now refuges in their own country. The young kids have to walk several miles searching for water and the list continues…

Here in Cancún, governments will have to go beyond the “business as usual” approach and focus on addressing the root causes of GHG emissions in order to set forward a bold pathway to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding outcome to save mother Earth and allow all the people, particularly children, women and youth to live a life worth living.

The key challenge in Cancún is to continue the process of constructing a strong foundation for a meaningful long term-global action.

Climate sustainability addresses poverty, inequality and environmental degradation through relevant strategies for mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology sharing.

Governments must demonstrate political will and embrace the two track approach: the Convention & Kyoto Protocol for a successful CANCUN outcome. Major long term achievements are needed. CANCUN should be the place where those responsible for climate change commit to reduce greenhouse gases to ensure a sustainable future.

Samuel Dotse

Southern Capacity Building Program Fellow
 

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Loss and damage mechanism under threat

Simple arithmetic: Low mitigation ambition plus inadequate adaptation support for developing countries results in unavoidable loss, damage and suffering for the most vulnerable!

Any emission reduction and finance targets as well as legal format in the Copenhagen agreement must be open to periodic review (no later than 2014/2015). ECO wants to read in the shared vision that this is based not only on the latest science, but also on observations of loss and damage on the frontline of climate impacts – in LDCs, SIDS and Africa.

Facing the dire consequences of a +4°C world, developing country Parties have proactively tabled a loss and damage mechanism in the adaptation text. Cynically, this crucial piece is about to be killed by the culprits of climate change – the EU, US and others.

The reality of unavoidable impacts on the very livelihood and sovereignty of many nations is a dual failure of the lack of mitigation action and adaptation support by industrialised countries. A shared vision which ignores the need to address loss and damage is a vision which is not shared by those affected by rising sea levels, barren fields and spreading deserts. And whose people are dying.

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