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CATOWICE, Poland (PAMACC News) - The UN Climate Change Conference has entered into the final day of the first week termed as the technical segment. Few agenda items have been concluded and many, especially the essential ones, are not even near to be concluded in time to be taken forward to our Ministers who will be joining the conference next week for the second part of the high-level segment.

We have seen progress on Agriculture, Gender and NAPs but there are serious concerns on the climate finance, adaptation and the finalization of the robust Paris Agreement Work Programme. We have taken stock of these alarming proceedings and share the following on the elements below:

Climate Finance

At the start of the COP24, African Civil Society demanded for fulfilment on pre-2020 climate finance commitments, putting in place robust system for reporting on the support and ensuring new, additional and predictable climate finance beyond 2025. African civil society are gravely concerned about very slow progress on the climate finance agenda items with developed countries not committing to fulfil their pre-2020 commitment and not agreeing on even initiating the process for the new quantified climate finance goal. Conclusions on how the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement, including ensuring adequate resource mobilization for the Fund, have not yet been agreed.

African civil society see a clear intent for the developed country Parties to shift their Convention obligation on provision of climate finance to private institutions and worse enough to developing countries. This is and will not be acceptable.

Adaptation

African civil society takes note of the progress on the NAPs whereby a conclusion has been reached and taken forward to SBI; but we are concerned with the overall dealings of the adaptation with no equal treatment as other elements. Adaptation has been stripped off from the transparency framework discussion and may not be part of the MRV. The elements from the transparency discussion also affect guidance to the modalities for adaptation communication.

African civil society reiterates that adaptation remains to be a priority for African countries.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

The discussion on features and timeframe for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) started even before COP21 and the Paris Agreement. We are disappointed by continuous dragging of agenda which should have been concluded in this first week. African civil society supports NDCs with all elements and a five-year timeframe to be in line with the Global Stocktake.

Mitigation

Developed country Parties are obliged to reduce emission and support developing countries to contribute to the efforts. African civil society has observed intent to shift the obligations to developing countries avoiding differentiation and flexibility in both reduction and reporting process.

We urge the COP24 Presidency to show great determination and leadership to ensure the best outcomes of the conference. This includes a robust and balanced Paris Agreement Work Program that covers all elements and meets the required ambition; and a comprehensive framework for fulfilment and reporting of the pre-2020 commitments and ambitions. We emphasize that the legacy of the Katowice Conference lies on these issues and will be placed in history books as one of the stepping stones that paved the way for future generation. Whether positive or undesirable outcomes, it will remain in our books.

CATOWICE, Poland (PAMACC News) - The UN Climate Change Conference has entered into the final day of the first week termed as the technical segment. Few agenda items have been concluded and many, especially the essential ones, are not even near to be concluded in time to be taken forward to our Ministers who will be joining the conference next week for the second part of the high-level segment.

We have seen progress on Agriculture, Gender and NAPs but there are serious concerns on the climate finance, adaptation and the finalization of the robust Paris Agreement Work Programme. We have taken stock of these alarming proceedings and share the following on the elements below:

Climate Finance

At the start of the COP24, African Civil Society demanded for fulfilment on pre-2020 climate finance commitments, putting in place robust system for reporting on the support and ensuring new, additional and predictable climate finance beyond 2025. African civil society are gravely concerned about very slow progress on the climate finance agenda items with developed countries not committing to fulfil their pre-2020 commitment and not agreeing on even initiating the process for the new quantified climate finance goal. Conclusions on how the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement, including ensuring adequate resource mobilization for the Fund, have not yet been agreed.

African civil society see a clear intent for the developed country Parties to shift their Convention obligation on provision of climate finance to private institutions and worse enough to developing countries. This is and will not be acceptable.

Adaptation

African civil society takes note of the progress on the NAPs whereby a conclusion has been reached and taken forward to SBI; but we are concerned with the overall dealings of the adaptation with no equal treatment as other elements. Adaptation has been stripped off from the transparency framework discussion and may not be part of the MRV. The elements from the transparency discussion also affect guidance to the modalities for adaptation communication.

African civil society reiterates that adaptation remains to be a priority for African countries.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

The discussion on features and timeframe for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) started even before COP21 and the Paris Agreement. We are disappointed by continuous dragging of agenda which should have been concluded in this first week. African civil society supports NDCs with all elements and a five-year timeframe to be in line with the Global Stocktake.

Mitigation

Developed country Parties are obliged to reduce emission and support developing countries to contribute to the efforts. African civil society has observed intent to shift the obligations to developing countries avoiding differentiation and flexibility in both reduction and reporting process.

We urge the COP24 Presidency to show great determination and leadership to ensure the best outcomes of the conference. This includes a robust and balanced Paris Agreement Work Program that covers all elements and meets the required ambition; and a comprehensive framework for fulfilment and reporting of the pre-2020 commitments and ambitions. We emphasize that the legacy of the Katowice Conference lies on these issues and will be placed in history books as one of the stepping stones that paved the way for future generation. Whether positive or undesirable outcomes, it will remain in our books.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - The fight to track down poachers and protect endangered species in Africa’s embattled Congo Basin Forest reserve is tapping into the major international market routes that facilitates the illegal business.

In a major wildlife trafficking bust, Cameroon authorities have arrested six men for smuggling more than 700 kilograms of endangered pangolins and pangolin scales from the Central African Republic to Vietnam. Central Africa is a hotspot for illegally sourcing the scalIy anteater for Asia, where its meat and scales fetch up to $1,000 per kilo.

The Cameroon authoroties say international network of pangolin scales traffickers has been dismantled with the arrest on August 18 of six suspected traffickers in Douala with over 700kg of pangolin scales, thanks to long investigations into the market routes of the illegal trade.

The arrest was carried out by the Wouri Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife in collaboration with judicial police and the judiciary after weeks of investigation.

"We are grateful to the local population that collaborated with the security operatives," said the Wouri divisional delagate of forestry and wild life,Georges Mouchaoui .

The operation that was technically assisted by an NGO called LAGA, was carried out during attempts by the traffickers to sell the pangolin scales. The first hearing of the case took place on Friday August 24 and three of the arrested traffickers who had earlier been freed on bail did not show up in court raising fears that they may have escaped. Two of the three fugitives are from the Central African Republic.

According to Georges Mouchaoui a couple of days to the operation, one of the traffickers sent a truck with from Bangui and  it arrived Douala shortly after he had flown to the port city.  The pangolin scales were then driven to a neighbourhood in the town, where an illegal transaction was about to take place but police arrived the scene of transaction and all 6 traffickers were arrested.

"One of them attempted to escape but was quickly stopped," he expalined.

The network accordingly, is spread in three central African countries including Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Central Africa and also Nigeria with strong market/trade connections to Vietnam.

One of the 6 arrested is  from the Central African Republic while the rest are Cameroonians,security authorities said.

The exposed modus operandi of the syndicate consisted of buying the scales from smaller traffickers  in  Cameroon,  the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and exporting to Nigeria via Cameroon. Most of the 700kg of giant pangolin scales originated from the DRC where they have strong cover from members of the ruling elite. When the scales arrive Nigeria, they are assembled for illegal export.

The majority of the scales were from  the giant pangolin which is an animal that is threatened with extinction , The operation that  led to the confiscation of 718 kg of pangolin scales , was technically assisted by LAGA an NGO that assists government in the fight against wildlife criminality and the effective application of the wildlife laws in the country. The traffickers are equally linked to rhino horn and lion trophies trafficking and the LAGA, a member of the EAGLE Network  is pursuing investigations on this.

Cameroon upgraded all three species of pangolins to the class of totally protected wildlife species following the CITES 2016 CoP that listed all pangolin species in annex I. The sub region is considered to be a hotspot for sourcing illegal pangolin scales that is exported mainly to Asian countries. Over the years several tons of pangolin scales have been seized in Asian cities that have originated from the region. it should be noted that in January 2017 two Chinese nationals were arrested with over 5 tons of pangolin scales ready for illegal export.

Government is stepping up efforts in wildlife law enforcement and last year it burnt close to 3 tons of pangolin scales that were seized during law enforcement operations. There is renewed impetus within the wildlife ministry to fight wildlife crimes since the appointment of a new minister at this ministry.

Story and Photos by Dagim Terefe

Editing and Visualizations by Annika McGinnis

Coordinated by Fredrick Mugira

August 2, 2018

In northwestern Ethiopia, a weed has grown out of control! 

The invasive water hyacinth, locally named as Enboch is putting aquatic biodiversity of Lake Tana at extreme risk; harming agriculture and local tourism there. 

Lake Tana is not only a water source for over 123 million people in the Nile Basin but also a source of various species of fish. It is a source of water for millions of livestock, and agriculture. And now, Enboch is threatening this life-giving resource.

In this special multimedia report, Ethiopian award-winning journalist Dagim Terefe reports that vast swathes of the water in this historical lake are becoming a sea of green while fish pens and navigation channels are being clogged by an impenetrable mass of Enboch.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PROJECT

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