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DURBAN, South Africa (PAMACC News) - African experts in indigenous knowledge have begun steps that will culminate in the establishment of a Pan-African Indigenous Knowledge Systems-Informed Climate Information Service (IKS-CIS) platform.The experts have also developed Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Livelihood and Communications strategies that will work hand in hand with the IKS-CIS platform.The experts have also resolved to develop an IKS-CIS curriculum and spearhead teaching of IKS-CIS in African universities and other institutions to promote indigenous knowledge in promoting climate information.The experts developed the above after a two-day workshop in Durban, South Africa last week.Prof Hassan Kaya, Director of the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Foundation (DST-NRF) Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa emphasized the importance of African IKS-CIS.“Conventional weather services need to be more relevant and accessible to African local communities. We need to harness indigenous knowledge weather forecasting practices that are inbuilt in African indigenous cultures, established after long years of observation of their respective natural environments,” Kaya, who is also the chair and convener of the Durban workshop, said.He noted it is mostly the only knowledge accessible, affordable and actionable source of weather and climate information for sustainable community livelihood. “Most African local communities tend to perceive conventional weather information as unreliable and untimely. African local communities in their diverse ecosystems and cultures make use of biotic indicators to predict future weather conditions. However, research also reveals increasing pessimism about the viability of indigenous weather forecasting mechanisms,” Kaya said.Prof Joseph Matowanyika, of the Zimbabwe-based Chinhoyi University of Technology, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Environment and Lifelong Learning Department, attributed the above scenarios to a number of factors.“This is due to the extinction of some biotic species that were used for weather forecasting and expansion of modern education and monotheistic religions which undermines the claimed rationality of indigenous knowledge,” Matowanyika said.He added, “It is also due to the precarious survival of indigenous weather forecasting skills is further undermined by poverty and lack of clear knowledge transfer mechanisms and poor documentation of indigenous knowledge-related climate information.Kaya observed that the limitations of both (indigenous and conventional) weather information service systems require research on the status of indigenous weather forecasting practices among different African ecosystems and cultures and ecosystems.“This should be done before they vanish beyond recovery; and integrating the experience of modern science and indigenous knowledge for more rigorous weather forecasting. It is this consideration which led to the initiative of developing a Pan-Africa IKS-CIS platform,” Kaya said.The platform will serve as a coordinating tool for interfacing conventional/existing weather information services and indigenous knowledge systems-based climate change information services. This will make conventional weather information services more culturally and ecologically relevant and accessible.“The platform will assist in building an interactive multi-media database informed by the nature and processes of production, sharing, storage and application of IKS-informed climate information which are culturally and linguistically specific,” Matowanyika said.“The holistic and multidisciplinary nature of IKS provides the platform with the opportunity to engage diverse stakeholders from across…
IDENAU, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - Julianna Senze, 40, had been in heavy labour for eight hours when she arrived at the Idenau Health Centre in Limbe, on the southwest coast of Cameroon. Like many women in the country, she had had no prenatal care, so what should have been a routine delivery was now a high-risk medical procedure. The nurses, looking worn and tired, rushed her to the delivery room. “We had to get her here quickly from Batoke village, some eight kilometres away, after receiving an SMS message from the doctor on duty,” said Michael Senze, her husband, his voice strained with worry. Less than an hour later, Senze safely delivered a healthy baby boy. Only a few years ago, Senze’s story could have had a more tragic ending.Michael recollects how his family had to bear lots of pain and a hazardous emotional downtime after the death of their first son at the age of 3 some 17 years ago from malaria. “I was afraid of losing yet another baby or even my wife,” Michael said. Cameroon has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. More than 7,000 women die due to pregnancy-related causes and 58,000 children under the age of 5 lose their lives every year in Cameroon, according to the United Nations Population Fund, UNPF in Cameroon. Most of them live in rural parts of the country with abject poverty and where health services are weakest.According to UNPF, access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation or medicine leading to deadly diseases, some preventable, has become part of their daily lives. But a combination of solar energy and a new mobile phone platform, which gives women access to important health information, is changing that. New renewable energy projects are giving more people the electricity they need to access health information, and giving hospitals power to deliver essential care, experts say. The message that may have saved Senze’s life was sent using Gifted Mom, a mobile platform founded by Cameroon engineer Alain Nteff in 2012. The text-messaging service and app gives women in out-of-the-way rural communities free health advice, sending reminders about prenatal check-ups and children’s vaccinations. It tells users when and where to get the treatment they need, and gives them access to doctors who can answer health-related questions.According to Nteff, Gifted Mom is now used in all 10 regions of the country and has since helped thousands of women, especially pregnant mothers access useful health information to make more informed decision on themselves and their children. “The project has significantly helped mothers and their children and will continue to help reduce the number of Cameroonian women who die during childbirth and the number of babies who die at birth or below the age of five by at least 70 percent by 2020,” said Nteff, talking to the press in Yaounde. But Gifted Mom’s success would be impossible if it weren’t for the other projects tackling another issue that blights the lives of those living…
LIBREVILLE, Gabon (PAMACC News) - Ahead of the writing of the Paris rulebook and preparations for the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, Major Groups attending this year’s Pre-AMCEN sessions have called on African governments to take stock of the current status of implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and identify barriers that need to be addressed with a view to enhancing ambition beyond what currently exists as NDCs. Speaking at the African civil society workshop heralding the 16th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in Libreville, Gabon, Sam Ogallah of the Pan African Justice Alliance (PACJA) stressed the need for the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue (FD2018) to specifically highlight potential opportunities where countries can increase their ambition. “The FD2018 process, should as matter of priority recognize that collective ambition in current NDCs remains inadequate to pursue effort to limit warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. It should enhance ambition and commitment from Parties to make new pledges and submit updated or new NDCs ahead of 2020 which should be sufficiently ambitious to close the emission gap, and identify what further work is needed to enable countries to enhance their ambition, especially in countries with lower capabilities” he said. According to Ogallah, “African leaders must use the FD2018 to leverage lessons and best practices, in identifying ways to overcome barriers and opportunities to enhance the enabling environment, and engage in win-win climate and sustainable actions for Africa.” Robert Chimambo of the Zambian Climate Change Network (ZCCN) believes that the facilitative dialogue provides “a veritable opportunity to collectively look into options on how current NDCs can be revised and new ambition generated to strengthen individual Parties’ contributions by 2020.” Chimambo called on African ministers and negotiators to identify ways in which Parties could implement climate action in areas not covered by their NDC or surpass the ambition level outlined therein while exploring ways of fast-tracking the implementation of NDCs and the Sustainable Development Goals. Many of the stakeholders who addressed the workshop urged African leaders, mayors, negotiators, private sectors, and other non-state actors to engage fully into the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, and lead or champion specific actions and initiatives in various sectors.They also called for the inclusion of non-Party stakeholders who are always at the front-lines of implementation in the facilitative dialogue’s examination of barriers and opportunities for greater ambition. According to the African Major Groups, action from non-state actors can contribute to the achievement of NDCs, and can also increase their level of ambition. 2018 Facilitative Dialogue The Conference of the Parties (COP) at its 21st session in Paris decided to conduct a Facilitative Dialogue in conjunction with the 22nd session of the COP to assess the progress in implementing certain COP decisions. These decisions border on identifying relevant opportunities to enhance the provision of financial resources, including for technology development and transfer, and capacity-building support, with a view to identifying ways to enhance the ambition of mitigation efforts by all Parties, including identifying relevant opportunities to enhance the provision and…
LIBREVILLE, Gabon (PAMACC News) - Leading non-state actors and civil society groups from across Africa have called on African governments to kick-start the process of designing an African Rule Book for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The book, according to them, will help in galvanising a robust presentation of African perspectives in the Paris Rule Book which is being formulated. The call was made today at the ongoing civil society consultative talks which precedes the 16th session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) in Libreville, Gabon. Recognising the strategic importance of the Paris Rule Book to the implementation of the climate agreement, the non-state stakeholders urged African environment ministers to ensure that the continent is not left behind in the efforts at crafting the regulatory framework for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. “We want an African rule Book for the implementation of the Paris Agreement that will better measure and manage climate action and support in the light of varying quality and level of information included in countries’ national climate plans (NDCs),” John Bideri, the Co-Chair of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said. “An African Rule Book will help in scaling up actions and support at the right pace as many of the NDCs submitted by countries are not ambitious enough to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objectives,” Bideri added. The urgency of the call for an African Rule Book is further underlined by the latest UNEP Gap Report which revealed that the climate plans submitted by all parties to the Paris Agreement can only limit global warming to 3o degree C if fully implemented and the conditions highlighted in the submissions are met. This alarming report, according to Yamide Dagnet of the World Resources Institute, justifies the readiness of civil society groups like PACJA and WRI to mobilise resources and partnerships capable of supporting the drafting of the African Rule Book by African governments. The Paris Rule Book At the recent UN climate negotiations in Bonn which featured the 46th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 46) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 46) as well as the session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement, negotiations on the key elements of the Paris Rule Book began in earnest. According to Achala Abeysinghe, a long serving legal and strategy advisor to the Least Developed Countries Group (LDC), “The Paris Agreement is just an empty shell without the rulebook”. The Paris Rule Book seeks to establish the rules and processes needed to provide the operational guidance for fulfilling the ambition of the Agreement and providing clarity on countries’ efforts to reach the global goal. The rule book comes on the heels of the Paris Agreement which created an international framework that outlines what governments and wider stakeholders are expected to do strengthening the global response to climate change and limit the temperature increase to 1.5 - 2 degrees C. It therefore seeks to flesh out how the…
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