NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - After losing a renewable energy patent to a powerful organization five years ago, George Otieno, a Kenyan technical innovator, is still searching for elusive justice.
Even after hiring a lawyer several times to represent him in court, his case has never made it past the gates of justice.
Otieno suspects his lawyer was bribed by the organization to drop the case, but he cannot do anything about it since he does not have the financial muscle to keep pursuingit, he says.
“I have tried several times to use a lawyer to take this organization to court. But the lawyer always turns me down. I do not know what to do next,” says Otieno, who is also a member of the Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KREA).
Like hundreds of innovators in Kenya, Otieno is a victim of poor policies that fail to inspire solutions meant to help the country adopt to the pressures of climate change.
But if an October meeting of policy makers in Nairobi that was reviewing progress in the implementation of climate change policies in Africa is anything to go by, Otieno might just be getting there.
“It is time to translate policy on climate change into action to be able to halt emissions and have an organized transition to a carbon neutral future in the shortest time possible,” James Murombedzi, the Officer in Charge of the Economic Commission for the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), told delegates.
Murombedzi’s reasoning echoes everyday efforts that are being tried by Kenyans like Otieno. To help such civilians, governments must work with all sectors of society despite their interests, because climate governance is complex, says Murombedzi.
According to him, Africa is endowed with sufficient knowledge and technology to battle climate change. The only missing piece is strong policies that support these skills to be able to secure the continent’s preparedness against climate change, he says.
This is why it is becoming difficult for many climate change innovators in countries like Kenya to complete their creations due to policies that protect the beneficiary, rather than the maker of a product, argues Otieno.
“When the government fails to protect Kenyans like me against predatory business players, the spirit of innovation will die because I cannot invest all my time and energy on innovating something I get nothing from,” said Otieno.
Yet, government arms like the Climate Change Directorate argue Kenyans like Otieno are protected by the Kenya Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan 2018-2020, which is informed by among others, the need for technology development, innovation and transfer.
Besides, the 2018-2022 National Climate Change Action Plan seeks to set aside Ksh. 11 billion to support technology and innovation and how these skills can be transferred to average Kenyans, argues Charles Mutai at the Directorate.
“The Plan also seeks to ensure that Kenya enhances the use of renewable energy. We are working with other national agencies to promote innovations in this area,” says Mutai.
It is a prospect that raises hopes for troubled Kenyans like Otieno. But experts say a lot of work needs to be done to achieve accommodating and strong climate change policies.
For instance, the current policies are mostly top-down and very technical for the average Kenyan to understand, argues Samuel Kimeu, the executive director at Transparency International (TI), Kenya.
With such policies, he argues, it becomes very difficult to track how climate change finances are spent, making this weakness a breeding ground for corruption.
He is right. Two years since the Kenya Climate Change Act was established, there has never been a public report to show how climate change finances have been spent, critics argue.
Besides, they add, climate change intervention in the country has become an elitist affair, with most of the finances being sucked up by local and international conferences.
“But when there are droughts or floods affecting the poor, the burden of dealing with these calamities is left to the community to solve alone,” says Benjamin Mukulu, the director of environment and natural resource in Kitui County.
Perhaps the solution lies in institutional reforms, before Kenya can achieve strong climate change polices, argues TI’s Kimeu.
But Otieno is not convinced, arguing that corruption is so deeply entrenched into the Kenyan system that everyone is only interested in making quick money.
“I blame the Kenyan mentality. Even if we are given legal lawyers to protect us innovatorsthey will let us down after being bribed. There is a mentality of get rich quick syndrome which is robbing us of our future,” says Otieno.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (PAMACC News) - Sponsors of development projects in Africa, borrowers, lenders, and public and private sector investors meet in South Africa to accelerate the continent’s investment opportunities in sectors not limited to energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation and health and education.
According to a statement from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the forum targets a total pipeline of 230 projects worth over US$208 billion.
According to the bank, 28 boardroom sessions will curate, screen and ensure the projects are bankable and reach financial close. A total of 61 deals estimated at more than US$40 billion will feature in Boardroom Sessions, while another US$28 billion worth of deals will be showcased to investors at a marketplace Gallery Walk.
Victor Oladokun, director of communications for the bank that each year, Africa has a deficit in investment funding worth US$130-170 billion, “half of that represents an infrastructure financing gap which we are trying to reach.”
The Forum also includes a co-guarantee platform that will develop and deploy innovative instruments to de-risk private sector investments at scale, thus boosting investor confidence.
According to the AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the forum is a collective deal of the century for investment in and the development of Africa, focusing on advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital and accelerating the financial closure of deals.
“I do not seek aid, I seek investment for Africa,” said Dr Akinwumi.
To facilitate this, global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank (EIB), Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, have come together to form solid strategic alliances around the new venture.
Ronnie Ntuli, the Executive Chairman for the Thelo Group described the forum as “a unique opportunity for Africans to partner with global capacity and the private sector. “It is an investor market…where all these partners converge to take advantage of tremendous opportunities,” he said.
South African Deputy Director of the National Treasury Vuyelwa Vumendlini said that the investment forum provides a continental complement to the country’s recent investment forum which successfully attracted more than US$14 billion in investments.
According to the AfDB, African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, presenting excellent investment opportunities with relatively high returns, but the challenge of positioning themselves for consideration in front of institutional investors and global corporate remains.
The forum, which takes place between 7 and 9 November, 2018 is hosted by the Government of South Africa, the AfDB and several multi-lateral development partners.
Discussions will focus on specific projects, sectors, investors, and themes. Others will have country or regional focus. Co-financing and collaborations between investors will also be a key focus area at this event.
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum will feature a session on Championing Investments− an investment conversation with African Heads of State to highlight concrete and transformative actions for a new business landscape in Africa, including collective efforts to facilitate private investments.
ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - The demand for cocoa remains high, with increasing consumption of cocoa products by emerging economies which is expected to increase in the coming decades.
However, the cost of producing the beans continues to increase, yields are declining and the negative impacts of climate change continue to threaten the already poor smallholder cocoa farmers.
The cocoa sector has also seen very limited innovations and new investments while cocoa trees and farmers continue to age.
“One of the impacts of this dwindling productivity is the removal of shade trees from farms and the expansion of cocoa cultivation into areas of rainforest,” said Harm Duiker, Country Director of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. “As a result, globally, cocoa is counted among the major driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss”.
As a forest shade grown tree, cocoa is a crop that thrives in areas of high biodiversity and tropical forests landscapes.
Farmers and scientists alike recognize that shade trees are vital to reducing both ecological and economic risks, including maintenance of soil fertility and moisture, weed suppression and pest and disease control.
They also acknowledge shade trees play an important role in climate adaption in cocoa system.
However, there is increasing demand for scientific evidence of ecological and economic benefits of trees in cocoa systems.
Recent studies have contested the benefits claimed to be associated with cocoa agroforestry, including mitigating adverse climate effects, pathogen or disease regulation, and more importantly improvements in soil fertility.
The Cocoa Dialogue
The national dialogue on cocoa agroforestry systems therefore had the objective of consolidating evidence-based ecological and economic benefits of cocoa agroforestry systems, identifying gaps in knowledge and to ensure consistency in promoting cocoa agroforestry science, policy and practice in Ghana.
It was organised by SNV Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Cocoa Board, the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, KNUST and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The event attracted experts who observed that gaps in science and practice, and inconsistencies in the promotion of cocoa agroforestry as well as land and tree tenure bottlenecks constitute major challenges to the rapid adoption of cocoa agroforestry systems among smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana.
They called for increased research to fill the gaps in evidence-base science and the practice of cocoa agroforestry systems in Ghana.
Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Ahia Clottey, the Deputy Director Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), reiterated COCOBOD’s commitment to promoting cocoa agroforestry under its recently launched cocoa rehabilitation project.
He said the current programme targets only 156,400ha out of the 700,000 total rehabilitation need of the entire cocoa landscape of Ghana.
He therefore called for stakeholders’ investment into cocoa rehabilitation in order to increase productivity of current land under cultivation in Ghana.
Expert presentations and discussions were made on the current state of knowledge on soil improvement, soil nutrient and water competition, disease and pest control, trees species recommendation in shaded cocoa systems.
According to Prof. Boateng Kyeremeh from the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, KNUST, the realities of climate change vis-a-vis sustainability show the importance of holding the national dialogue to help farmers built resilience.
He believes Ghana’s cocoa industry should be able to meet the challenges imposed by climate change with scientific support and political will.
Building Resilient Smallholder Systems
The national dialogue forms part of activities under the Shaded Cocoa Agroforestry System (SCAFS) project, being implemented by SNV with funding support from the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
SNV supports cocoa agroforestry as a model towards more diversified and resilient smallholder systems that can help to increase and secure production in the long term with ecological benefits.
“This is important to smallholder cocoa farmers that are affected sometimes by highly volatile global prices and by climate change,” said Harm Duiker.
He indicated that cocoa agroforestry practices come at a cost to smallholder farmers and a deeper understanding of the processes in cocoa agroforestry systems will help to promote its benefits to smallholder farmers.
The national dialogue on cocoa agroforestry systems was attended by academia and research institutions, private license cocoa buying companies, farmer’ representatives, non-governmental organizations and representatives from the public.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on African leaders to work in unity to be able to combat effects of climate change.
Saying that climate change is a matter of life and death for Africa and the continent has experienced devastating and unprecedented impacts of climate change on its peoples' lives and livelihoods and national economies.
“Given that our shared ecosystems and natural resources know no boundaries, it is essential that we continue to speak in one voice to safeguard the basis of our development and seek transformative solutions,” Uhuru said last week.
In a speech read on his behalf by Environment Cabinet Secretary KeriakoTobiko, Uhuru said Africa is the most vulnerable continent despite contributing only about four per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions.
Tobikoread the speech when he represented the President to launch the three-day 7th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-VII) in a Nairobi hotel.
The conference is convened by Government, in collaboration with Climate Development (CLIMDEV) Africa Partners, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Think Renewables from Canada.
However, the President said climate change threats present opportunities for innovative and green investments for Africa.
“This is why implementation of the Paris Agreement remains a priority for the continent in order to adapt to the inevitability of climate variability and change,” Uhuru said
He said that achieving the goals of the Agreement require committed leadership from state and non-state actors.
“The theme of this year’s forum, “Policies and actions for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement for resilient economies in Africa”, reflects our collective engagement and commitment to strengthen climate change actions in the context of Africa’s development priorities,” Uhuru said.
He called on Africa to use the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Global Warming of 1.50C special report and its impacts in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty released this week.
The President said 2018 is a critical year for the operationalization of the Paris Agreement. The nature and extent of parties’ obligations will only be clear once negotiations on the Paris Rule Book are complete, and hopefully adopted in COP 24, in Katowice, Poland in December 2018,” Uhuru said.
He noted that for Africa to address effects of climate change, it needs adequate and predictable resources be mobilised and made available to support adaptation and mitigation action in Africa and other developing world.
Kenya has put in place an enabling policy and legal environment for climate change implementation and has a greenhouse gasemission reduction target of 30 per cent by 2030.
“Our National Climate Action Plan (2018-2022) identifies disaster risk management, food and nutrition security, water and the blue economy, forestry, wildlife and tourism, health, sanitation and human settlements to help us tackle climate change,” Uhuru said.
The President as part of tapping into the opportunities in biodiversity, Kenya will hosting the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference next month to promote sustainable investments in oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.
“I invite you all to attend and actively participate in the Conference so as to raise the African voice in matters of Blue Economy and Ocean governance,” Uhuru said.
Tobiko stressed the need to include indigenous knowledge, marginalized and indigenous communities, private sector, the youth and women.
“Scientists need to work closely with indigenous people to learn from them on how to address climate change. The communities have solutions to the problems we are facing now. Let us not spend more time in boardrooms,” Tobiko said.
Vihiga Governor Dr Wilbur Otichillo who represented the Council of Governors (CoG) stressed the need for working together to achieve climate change goals.
“The national government has built capacities of counties. Counties now should have their own county determined contributions to address climate change since this is a devolved function,” Otichillo said.
Dr James Murombedzi, head of Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) said climate change is happening at a rate much faster than previously estimated.
“Global warming is outstripping all our efforts to resolve it.The impacts of global warming are also already much greater than predicted, particularly in developing countriesLimiting global warming to 1.5 degrees will cost $2.4 trillion of investments in the global energy system every year between 2016 – 2035. The cost of not doing anything will be much, much higher,” Murombedzi said.
MithikaMwenda, the secretary general of PACJA said political leaders hold the key for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
“Our leaders should remain focused and resist attempts to scatter the unified African voice to deny us a strong bargain of the Paris rulebook which will define whether the agreement will follow the previous efforts which have remained in the shelves of government offices without implementation,” Mwenda said.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation and the World Bank are working towards an agricultural observatory platform that will enable institutions access high resolution agro-meteorological data.
The partnership is to support Kenya Climate Resilient Agriculture (KCSAP) project under the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation to pilot the Agricultural Observatory Platform for the sector for one year.
The data that will be received from satellites will help policy makers and farmers optimize on data that supports agro weather, market, climate and advisory markets.
Speaking during the launch of the pilot Agricultural Observatory Platform, KALRO Director General Dr. Eliud Kireger said the biggest challenge in agriculture performance has been lack of accurate, timely and reliable weather.
“This data will be able to give accurate information as it will observe information such as temperature, weather and rainfall that will be availed to scientists to make sense of it and in turn provide digital meteorological information using modern ICT tools,” he said.
Kireger added that depending on the focus given through the platform, information collected will also be availed to policy makers and farmers to make timely and informed decisions.
For the farmers, the DG said they will be able get information on how to prepare early depending on indication of the weather such as early rainfall, poor rainfall or even lack of and thus plan.
He said that the policy makers and through the observatory platform will now be able to advise farmers through the Agricultural extension systems on even the variety of maize they need to plant depending on the area data.
Kireger noted that the two-year Agricultural Observatory Platform will be able to aggregate field and farm level data into able information that provides insight in addressing the challenge of where it rained, where crops failed and how many people were impacted.
The Lead Agriculture Economist from the World Bank, Ladisy Komba Chengula said that the system will be up and running by end of the month.
He explained that with only 23 meteorological sites that are providing agro weather data and mostly concentrated in Central and rift valley the current observatory platform will be providing data on rains, temperature, wind and speed in an area of 9 by 9 kms square.
“This access is high resolution, reliable and it means we will be having 7,200 agro weather stations that will be giving data,” he said.
Chengula explained that the current 23 Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) owns the ground stations that compliments the data gotten from the satellite and will cost yearly subscription of USD 50,000 which is a subsidy considering one MET stations would cost USD10, 000.
“The biggest climate risk Kenya has is drought which alternates with floods even with good rains, this platform will see scientism be able to predict when floods will happen and in which area,” he said.
Agronomists says two weeks delay of rains means that 40 percent reduction of yields will occur but with this system one can be able to postpone in order not to incur losses and this is the kind of scientific message that is pertinent for any production decisions that farmers or policy makers can make,” he said.
The system will operate through all the 47 counties, as well as the East African Region and this system is not only for local monitoring but traders can be able to look at what is happening in other areas.
The observatory platform is the first of its kind in Africa and being implemented in Kenya and Ethiopia before being replicated in other countries in Africa upon the success.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - I have the honor to represent the African Climate Policy Centre in this esteemed gathering, the first National Climate Governance Conference, which has been convened by our partner organization, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, to discuss national issues relating to the governance of the climate response in Kenya. We are extremely grateful to PACJA and to the Kenyan Government for hosting this conference.
Kenya has developed a sophisticated framework for the governance of climate change in the Country. The Kenya Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (2016-2020) is designed to guide the country’s transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, equitable and inclusive future. The plan recognizes that in order to succeed, substantial resources are required in the form of finance, investment, technology development innovation and transfer, and capacity building. It further recognizes that integration of Green Economy in the national and county planning and budgeting processes are also crucial.
Climate change is cross cutting. It affects every aspect of life, and our ability to achieve the SDGs or indeed any of the aspirations of agenda 2063 is constrained by climate change. Because of its cross cutting nature, climate governance is complex. It requires the participation of multiple stakeholders, with sometimes conflicting interests.
The world is heading towards catastrophe if immediate action is not taken to halt greenhouse gas emissions. As we all are aware, the IPCC yesterday released its 1.5degrees report in South Korea. The report confirms what we are already experiencing iun Africa, and is a cause for serious concern. Last night I took time to skim through the report. Some of the major findings of the report include the following:
- Climate change is happening at a rate much faster than previously estimated. Global warming is outstripping all our efforts to resolve it.
- The impacts of global warming are also already much greater than predicted, particularly in developing countries to avoid passing he 1.5 degrees guardrail, we need to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 – we have under 12 years to achieve that. And to have a 50% chance of staying within the 1.5 degrees threshold the world must become carbon neutral by 2050, in only in only 32 years.
- Avoiding a catastrophe will require a major transformation of society and the world economy on an unprecedented scale
- Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees will cost $2.4 trillion of investments in the global energy system every year between 2016 –2035 (this is equivalent to 2.5% of world GDP). He cost of not doing anything will be much, much higher
We must all get involved in resolving this challenge
We have adequate knowledge of the causes of global warming, and the science is conclusive.
There is no room for climate deniers in this discourse
However, the inaction that we have seen is not because there is insufficient knowledge or technology or finance. We have enough of these to be able to change the way in which we produce, distribute and consume goods and services
This meeting is indeed significant in that it is a first go at mobilizing local governments, counties, the private sector and other CSOs to contribute to the climate response. The meeting is also preceding the seventh conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA – VII) co-hosted by the ACPC, PACJA and the government of Kenya. CCDA VII will also focus on mobilizing action towards the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The participation of sub-sate and non status in this endeavor is indeed timely.
African economies and communities are generally dependent on natural resources. The use and management of these natural resources also tends to be characterized by institutional structures which are poor, making them vulnerable to climate extremes. A key intervention towards ensuring the resilience of our economies and the livelihoods of communities, therefore, is institutional reform.
Communities have long practiced many adaptation strategies and devised many viable responses to changing conditions. However, there are limits to how well communities can continue to practice adaptive livelihoods in the context of a changing climate. They need the support of an enabling environment created by government-planned adaptation.
Climate finance is a major constraint on climate action. One major opportunity is the possibility of accessing decentralized climate finance. Local governments are typically closer to communities and are accountable to those communities. If local governments access decentralized climate finance, they should be empowered to disburse these climate funds for investment in priorities chosen with communities for adapting to climate change.
Community-prioritized, public good investments can be managed in a transparent, accountable, and cost-effective manner. Such investments are consistent with public finance policy, complementary to local governments' existing budgets and capable of drawing down and managing climate finance from national climate funds and other sources of climate finance.
Greater access to – and capacity to use – climate information, which improves planning and responses to climate extremes is also required. This requires building the capacities of local government itself, civil society organizations and the private sector to manage construction and operation of public good investments.
The African Climate Policy Centre, through the ClimDev Africa initiative, is already exploring the climate governance prospects for Africa structural transformation towards achieving the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs. We are keenly aware that climate change is now clearly the major risk in the achievement of these ideals.\
The ACPC is also implementing, with support from the DfID, the Weather and Climate Information Services (WISER) which seeks to promote the production and used of climate information, and contributes to building the capacities of hydrological and meteorological authorities across the continent.
ACPC has also developed a five year programme which seeks to support African countries in building resilient infrastructure and economies. The Centre will increase its efforts in this regard to include support not only for member states, but also new engagements with local governments, the private sector and other CSOs and stakeholders.
The ACPC is indeed honored to be part of this conference and we trust that our participation here signals the beginning of an enduring partnership with national as well as continental local governments, municipalities, the private sector and other non-state actors towards developing mechanisms for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.