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NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The need to invest in innovative solutions and interventions by promoting sustainable consumption and production is top on the agenda of the seventh special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), which has opened today in Naroibi, Kenya.The two day conference is being held under the theme: Turning Environmental Policies into Action through Innovative Solutions.Ministers and other stakeholders are deliberating on key messages for the forthcoming African biodiversity Ministerial Summit which will be held in Egypt in November this year prior to the 2018 UN Conference on Biodiversity.It has long been held by experts that the environment has high potential in providing solutions to sustainable socio-economic development and poverty alleviation in Africa.According to UN environment, the continent holds 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves, roughly 65 per cent of its arable land and 10 per cent of its internal renewable energy sources. Its fisheries are estimated to be worth 24 billion USD and the continent hosts the second largest tropical forest in the world— the Congo Basin Forest, with almost 2 million square kilometers of humid forest.However, available statistics show that degradation of the ecosystems costs Africa 68 billion USD annually coupled with losses of up to 6.6 million tonnes of potential grain harvest, capable of meeting calorific needs of up to 31 million people. In addition, post-harvest losses are estimated at 48 billion USD annually.At the conference, delegates are particularly looking at how to enhance the political will to address the challenges of environmental degradation, to increase investments in innovative solutions to sustainably maximize on the benefit from the continent’s abundant natural resources.“Africa should focus on making a paradigm shift through practical innovative actions so that we can benefit at the maximum levels,” said Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, UN Environment regional director for Africa, in her opening address.She believes much progress has been made and urged participants to ensure that such policies are turned into actions for sustainable environmental management in Africa“We have made strides through AMCEN by taking policy reform directions to promote and strengthen innovative and environmentally sound actions that can ensure sustainable use of Africa’s natural capital.”Among other key issues on the table for discussions is Africa’s preparation for the twenty-fourth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) to be held from 3 to 14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland.This year the ministerial conference is held back to back with the first meeting of the Africa Environment Partnership Platform which will take place from 20 to 21 September. The aim of the Africa Environment Partnership Platform, according to Kwame Ababio of the NEPAD Agency, is to promote sustainable environmental management in Africa through enhanced partnership, coordination and harmonization of activities. Others represented at the conference include sub-regional economic communities, the African Development Bank, civil society organizations, United Nations agencies as well as other bilateral and multilateral partners The conference is expected to adopt a declaration, a set of decisions…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - It is imperative for African Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to advocate for innovative solutions to overcome environmental challenges facing Africa, UN Environment regional director for Africa, Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo said on Sunday. “This continent has the capacity and the knowledge to innovatively overcome our environmental challenges. We need to move faster from the ‘business as usual’ approach and devise ways and means to address issues such as rising energy costs, poverty, environmental degradation, pollution and social inequality or changes in legislation” Koudenoukpo told a cross-section of CSOs in Nairobi during a two-day consultations to prepare for the seventh special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly. The meeting, co-organized by UN Environment and Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) brought together 120 participants from accredited organizations across Africa.“African countries need, more than any time before, to invest in innovative solutions to unlock its economic and social potential and create inclusive wealth for the wellbeing of their populations” she emphasized adding that innovation should happen at the policy, finance, market and partnership levels.“Remember that people, especially youth, should be at the heart of driving this process. Our youth have so many innovative ideas and initiatives that can make a difference in transforming our societies” Koudenoukpo said.The commitment and genuine involvement of all social groups are critical to the effective implementation of the policies and projects in the field of environment and sustainable development, Koudenoukpo said.
LAGOS, Nigeria (PAMACC News) - After two days of intensive deliberations on the best possible ways to tackle the menace of fall armyworm in Africa, representatives of the agriculture ministries from central and west African countries have been urged to come up with proposals on how an integrated approach to winning the war against fall armyworm in their respective countries can be achieved. This resolution heralded today’s closing ceremony at the high-level meeting on controlling fall armyworm in central and west African states which began yesterday in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital. Béninese minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, Hon. Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui who presided over the closing ceremony commended the organisers, notably the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), for the rare opportunity given to central and west African states to brainstorm together and come up with proposals for possible funding and collaboration. Hon Dossouhoui urged the respective agriculture ministries from the two participating sub-regions to come up, within three months, with bankable proposals that can facilitate the implementation of the solutions proffered at the high-level meeting, taking into consideration, their respective national contexts and circumstances. A cocktail of solutions Some of the solutions proffered against the rampaging fall armyworm include awareness creation on holistic management of fall armyworm; training of stakeholders on the identification of fall armyworm; synchronising cropping calendar and timely planting; and broad-based dissemination of information via technologies (sms, apps, etc) The meeting also identified innovative solutions such as use of seeds, oil and leaf extracts of neem tree, (Neem oil emulsion at 5-20ml per plant); mixture of ash and sand on the whorl; use of botanical and synthetic pesticides; mixture of tithonia and piper emulsions; mixture of tobacco leaves and piper; push-pull technology; and the use of pheromone traps to monitoring and detection In addition to these, Dr. Winfred Hammond, a food security expert and resource person from Ghana, urged the member-states to also develop tools that are compatible with effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) on fall armyworm. “Tools such as seed treatment; time of planting; use of pheromones; scouting for eggs and neonates; mechanically damaging eggs and neonates; bio-rationals and bio-control agents are effective in these efforts,” Dr. Hammond said. Technologies against fall armyworm The consensus of the meeting was a regional approach that emphasizes Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) required to contain fall armyworm. Immediate recommendations include awareness raising campaigns on fall armyworm symptoms, early detection and control, including beneficial agronomic practices; national preparation and communication of a list of recommended, regulated pesticides and bio pesticides and their appropriate application methods. Participants also agreed that work should start immediately to assess preferred crop varieties for resistance or tolerance to fall armyworm, introduce classical biological control agents from the Americas. A conducive policy environment should promote lower risk control options through short-term subsidies and rapid assessment and registration of bio pesticides and biological control products, they said. According to Jean-Baptiste Bahama of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Kenya’s Karura Forest Reserve sits on a prime land in the city of Nairobi, covering an area of over one thousand hectares.The Forest features three natural caves and a 12m waterfall on river Karura, which attracts approximately 20,000 visitors monthly.Through ecotourism, the forest generates enough revenue to cover its expenditure and makes good profit which is ploughed back into the management of the forest, according to forest manager, John Orwa.The local community is also empowered under the Forest Act 2005 to demand best practices in the management of the forest – no tree is removed from the forest without community engagement.Jacqueline Mbawine of conservation NGO, A Rocha Ghana, is inspired by the Karura story, as she shared the experience of community action in restoring degraded savanna, forest and mangrove areas in Ghana at the 2018 Global Landscapes Forum.“I think it’s very possible to have forests within our cities,” she said. “In recent times there have been talks about urban forestry and effort being taken by many countries and organizations. In Ghana, the Forestry Commission is making efforts at establishing some urban forestry within the Weija enclave and I think this can be brought further down to Accra, the capital and other cities in the country”.Jacqueline is however unhappy that community efforts to restore and protect landscapes are not recognized and appreciated.“A current challenge we have is our Atewa rain forest reserve which has a wealth of Bauxite but also key in providing water supply to about 5million Ghanaians. However this forest is under great threat and it’s currently being exploited which is going to affect the people who get their livelihood and most especially their water supply from this landscape,” she observed.Restoring 2m hectares in GhanaTransitional and forest zones of Ghana are being threatened by mining, charcoal production and unsustainable agricultural activities.The country’s Northern Savannah Ecological zone is highly vulnerable to environmental degradation and climate change due its geographic location and the dependence of its population on natural resources, rain-fed agriculture and transhumance systems. This area, rich in biodiversity, was identified as one of the priority zones which need immediate attention under the Ghana Strategic Investment Framework (GSIF) for Sustainable Land Management (SLM).In 2015, Ghana joined the AFR100 with a restoration commitment to plant 2million hectares of trees. The AFR100 is in accordance with Ghana's national priorities and commitments to the three Rio Conventions; namely the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification (UNCCD), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD).Losing the forests implies that about 60 percent of the Ghanaian population who depend on the forest for their source of livelihood would be challenged.The 2012 Forest and Wildlife Policy has some significant provisions to increase the country’s forest cover whilst addressing issues of tree tenure, which is a major cause for deforestation. “We have managed to put into policy some steps to reform tree tenure, in which case government hands over off-reserve areas to communities…
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