Climate Change (204)

PAMACC News: The African Forest Forum (AFF) has in the last two years carried out research works on strengthening sustainable management of Africa’s forests and trees outside forests and the role they play in meeting global and national climate change mitigation goals.

In  collaboration with the Network for Natural Gums and Resins in Africa (NGARA) and forest experts, results of the research carried out in fifteen African countries is now shared with other stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of public and private forest institutions for sustained development outcomes in the sector and especially in the fight against climate change.

According to AFF executive secretary Godwin Kowero,the science-based knowledge sharing on forest management is carried out via national and regional webinars to help participants " learn from policy and forest governance processes that hold potential to cultivate better responses in the forestry sector to the climate change opportunities and challenges on the continent.

The webinars accordingly is taking place under the theme,  " National responses to the Paris Agreement and promoting gums and resins in Africa for resilience to climate change.”

 Speaking at the opening of the webinars in Francophone Africa[Cameroon,Benin and DRC] GODWIN Kowero noted that good governance and collaboration among the different stakeholders was key in the drive towards sustainable management and wise use of these resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
"We need to work in synergy to attain expected results in forest management and the fight against climate change" Gonwin Kowero said.

The importance of a sound governance system in forest management was corroborated by the representative of the Central African Forestry Commission,COMIFAC.
According to the deputy executive secretary and technical coordinator of COMIFAC, Chouaibou Nchoutpouen, the different countries in Africa must respect the global environmental governance system that is built on agreements including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its landmark agreement reached in Paris in 2015, to combat climate change and accelerate and scale up the actions and investment needed for future sustainable low carbon future

" Countries-parties to this agreement are required to formulate their national visions to address climate change while demonstrating at the international level their politican will and readiness to contribute to global adaptation and mitigation efforts. A stronger response from governments and public organisations, communities and and private sectors is therefor required for results oriented actions" Chouaibou said at the opening of the Webinar workshop in Douala.

Marie Louis Avana of AFF Cameroon reiterated on the role women play in pushing the drive in suatainable forest management. " The African Forest Forum understands the important role women play in promoting forest management and thus leaving no stone unturned to encourage their actions she said.

In another presentation on the enhancement of African Forest Governance in response to Paris Agreement and related Global Climate policies and initiatives by FOKABS, Ngwa Elvis Suh, emphasised on the importance of improved governance systems in the forest sector to meet global and national ambitions.

A study carried out by FOKABS was presented with the objective of providing information that could enhance national forest governance to respond to the Paris Agreement and related global climate change policies initiatives in countries of the West and Central Africa.

The opening of the workshop also had sessions on group work and media round table discussions that permitted forest and climate change experts exchange experiences and best practices in sustainable forest management that could be replicated in other countries.

AFF executive Secretary urged environment and climate change journalists to use information provided by experts to better engage public and policy makers take steps  to fight against the causes and effects of climate change.


The demand for good quality parboiled rice is high in parts of Africa, from east to west, north to south. As at 2015, rice consumption in countries was estimated to be approximately 26 million (MT) of which 13 million MT (about one-third of what is traded on the world market) was imported to the continent.

Rice consumption in Africa is projected to reach 34.9 million tons by 2025.  The African Development Bank estimates that the rice sector has the potential to become an engine for economic growth across the continent.

Thus, as the demand for rice increases as result of population growth, increased per capita consumption, and a shifting preference towards ‘premium’ rice linked to increased urbanisation, Africa will need to produce approximately 13 million additional tons of premium rice per year.

Increasing rice production to meet this need is expected to improve the livelihood of at least 3 million producers and lead to economic gains of about US$5.5 billion per year among African countries. To achieve this, Africa needs to develop technologies and infrastructures to support widespread production, processing and commercial adoption of high-yielding climate-resilient rice varieties.

Until now, domestic rice is processed in Africa through the traditional parboiling process. This is carried out mainly by rural women – laborious, time-consuming and unsafe, producing low quality rice with broken and burnt grains and bad smell.

It also requires lots of firewood, causing deforestation. Another major challenge is the pollution that comes with disposing the rice husks that accumulate after threshing.


A GEM for rice parboilers



To address these challenges, the rice compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) is deploying an innovative and environmentally friendly parboiling system -- called GEM (Grain quality enhancer, Energy-efficient and durable Material).

Sponsored by the African Development Bank as part of its Feed Africa Initiative, TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight priority intervention areas.

The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity compacts which include rice.

Led by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), the TAAT Rice Compact (TRC) seeks to achieve rapid intensification of rice production by raising farm-level productivity and improving the efficiency of processing and increasing market opportunity through innovative partnerships and proven technologies.

One of such is the GEM technology. Compared with the traditional technology, GEM produces rice of high physical and eating quality that fetches higher price on the local market. It was designed by AfricaRice and fabricated through partnerships with the private sector. The system is provided with pulleys that reduces drudgery.           

The improved system protects the women processors from heat and smoke exposure.  It further enables them to process large quantities of paddy rice in a relatively short time. It also includes an eco-friendly stove with a solar-powered fan that runs on rice husk -- a free and abundant fuel in rice-producing areas.


A profitable technology


The use of the GEM technology reduces paddy steaming time from 60 to 20 min, post-harvest losses from 6% to <0.5% and firewood consumption by 41-100%.

The substitution of firewood fuel by the rice husk results in US$30 savings per ton of parboiled rice. Milled parboiled rice has a higher content of B-Vitamins, minerals and demonstrates slower digestive and lower glycemic properties compared to white milled rice. Biochar produced from the burnt rice husk is used to improve soil fertility.

With the installation of the GEM system, Bouake Innovation Platform (IP) in Côte d’Ivoire is now supplying 4.4 tons of milled parboiled rice per month to the market. In collaboration with PAFER (NGO) and an equipment fabricator (TCMS) in Benin, six mini GEM rice parboilers costing CFA 19.5 million (about US$35,454) were installed in communities in Glazoué and Malanville rice hubs in Benin.

From April 2018 to June 2020, 2,255 tons of paddy were processed into 1,600 tons of milled rice. This system completely substituted firewood with rice husk leading to about US$38,300 savings across the IP sites.

Using the rice husk-fueled GEM rice parboiling system by the IP in Bukan-Sidi Lafia, Nasarawa state in north-central Nigeria for example, over 65 million Naira (US$181,800) was generated within one year (2019) from selling 218.15 tonnes of quality domestic parboiled rice.

A total of 68,300 parboiled rice value chain actors (paddy suppliers, service providers, rice marketers and rice consumers) have so far benefited from the GEM rice parboiling system in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Nigeria.

“Before the installation of the rice husk stove in our centre, we were spending a lot of money on firewood. But today, we can save that money. It increases our gains and saves the environment. It has really changed my life,” Juliet Ogbonikan a rice processor in Glazoué, Benin Republic said.

The IP in Nigeria confirmed that their production output for parboiling hit 4.4 t/day upon adoption of the GEM technology. A significant increase from the previous parboiling rate of 1.4 t/day.

“Our processing center now serves as a market hub and my paddy is no longer sold to middlemen since the IP is directly linked to market. Now, the IP members process their paddy before selling, using the IP-fixed price, which is 7-10% above the open market price; thus, maximizing profit by adding value to the paddy harvested,” Joshua Jonathan added.

According to Dr. Ernest Asiedu, the TAAT Rice Compact Leader, the significant improvement recorded with the introduction of the GEM technology aligns essentially with the compact’s vision of achieving rapid intensification of rice production through raising farm-level productivity, improving the efficiency of processing and increasing market opportunities across 20 African countries.

“The compact will continue on this pathway of expanding access of smallholder farmers, the majority being women, to high-yielding agricultural technologies and improving rice production as a means of assuring food security,” Dr. Asiedu added.

(PAMACC News) - A new report from global think tank ODI sheds light on the need to strengthen sustainable climate services across Africa if ambitions for effective climate adaptation are to be realised - released ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit, which takes place on 25 and 26 January 2021.

African countries are expected to be hit hard by climate change, and unpredictable and extreme weather is already having a significant impact on people’s lives across the continent.

Well-functioning weather and climate information services can save lives and livelihoods. In order for African communities and businesses to adapt more effectively to the inevitable impacts of climate change, weather and climate information services must be vastly strengthened as quickly as possible – say ODI researchers.

ODI’s report 'Investing for sustainable climate services: Insights from the African experience' looks at the support provided to strengthen weather and climate information services in several African countries from 2016 to 2021. The authors consulted extensively with the experts who ran 15 projects across Africa as part of the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme. They found that donors have largely supported capacity-building efforts by funding short-term improvements, but without long-term political and financial commitments, high-level buy-in from stakeholders, and strong and inclusive partnerships, projects lack sufficient traction and funding to guarantee viable results. 

Where donor assistance is sought, donors should commit long term to bringing climate services up to scratch in order to fulfil their promise to support Africa’s resilience to climate change.

The Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 - attended by world leaders including Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Sheikh Hasina - will highlight the need to accelerate climate adaptation in Africa. This, ODI’s report finds, is not being sufficiently addressed when it comes to sustainable climate information services.

Mairi Dupar, ODI Research Fellow and lead author of the report, said:

“Weather and climate information services are too often the missing ingredient of international climate talks and climate finance flows – and are often overlooked. But investing properly in these services so that they are robust, attuned to users’ needs, and sustainable for the long term is essential for getting climate change adaptation right. Nowhere is this more crucial than in sub-Saharan Africa, whose communities are deeply affected by climate change impacts.

Investing in effective, sustainable climate services is a vital part of adapting to climate change. This new report sets out how stakeholders, from government leaders and domestic agencies through to civil society organisations and development partners, can rise to the challenge to make sustainable, country-led climate resilience a reality.”

The ODI report looked at projects dedicated to building the capacity of weather and climate information services. Countries where projects were taking place included Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan and regionally in East and West Africa. Projects included strengthening weather observation networks and understanding of past and predicted climate trends, as well as delivering weather and climate information to those who need it for their everyday livelihood and business decisions.

The report found that the short-term improvements may be easily eroded if investment is not backed up by long-term plans to work with African institutions to keep climate services operational and local knowledge up-to-date after the projects end. The report’s recommendations include consolidating professional networks on the ground and producing sustainable business models that are in sync with national development priorities.

Improved capacity and know-how are required, not just within National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, but also within NGOs, women’s groups, civil society organisations and media organisations. These groups, the report finds, are key to delivering relevant and useful climate information to local communities and businesses: from artisanal fishermen to airline managers and public health officials.

Livingstone Byandaga, Project Coordinator at CIAT-Rwanda, one of the WISER partners that delivered a UK-funded project to implement a national framework for climate services, said:

“Establishing high-level political buy-in and accountability for climate services is especially true in Rwanda where the Government takes issues of climate change seriously. Our project focused on implementing the National Framework for Climate Services to ensure buy-in and accountability. We have trained the staff of Meteo Rwanda but there has to be the commitment to keep the trained people and maintain their skills over time; sometimes the skills acquired are not sustainably used to benefit the users of climate services – as the ODI/WISER report suggests.” 

The projects in the study were funded by the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). However, weather and climate information services are crucial in helping states adapt to climate change and, therefore, these recommendations apply to all investors and managers of national and local funded projects.


NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - A total of more than 11,000 disasters over the last 50 years have been attributed to weather, climate and water-related hazards, causing two million deaths and US$ 3.6 trillion in economic losses.

According to the new UN report, while the average number of deaths recorded for each disaster has fallen by a third during this period, the number of recorded disasters has increased five times and the economic losses have increased by a factor of seven, according to a new multi-agency report.

The State of Climate Services 2020 Report: Move from Early Warnings to Early Action report released yesterday says extreme weather and climate events have increased in frequency, intensity and severity as result of climate change and hit vulnerable communities disproportionately hard.  

Yet one in three people are still not adequately covered by early warning systems, according to the report released yesterday on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
According to the report, in 2018, globally, around 108 million people required help from the international humanitarian system as a result of storms, floods, droughts and wildfires. By 2030, it is estimated that this number could increase by almost 50 per cent at a cost of around US$ 20 billion a year.
The report, produced by 16 international agencies and financing institutions, identifies where and how governments can invest in effective early warning systems that strengthen countries’ resilience to multiple weather, climate and water-related hazards and provides successful examples. 
It stresses the need to switch to impact-based forecasting – an evolution from “what the weather will be” to “what the weather will do” so that people and businesses can act early based on the warnings. 
The report contains 16 different case studies on successful early warning systems for hazards including tropical cyclones and hurricanes, floods, droughts, heatwaves, forest fires, sand and dust storms, desert locusts, severe winters and glacial lake outbursts.
“Early warning systems (EWS) constitute a prerequisite for effective disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Being prepared and able to react at the right time, in the right place, can save many lives and protect the livelihoods of communities everywhere,” said Prof Petteri Taalas, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General.
He said while Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) generated a large international health and economic crisis from which it will take years to recover, it is crucial to remember that climate change will continue to pose an on-going and increasing threat to human lives, ecosystems, economies and societies for centuries to come.
“Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity to move forward along a more sustainable path towards resilience and adaptation in the light of anthropogenic climate change,” said Taalas.
The report provides a basis for understanding how to strengthen protection for the most vulnerable, including through mechanisms such as the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative, which together with France Development Agency, provided funding for the report.

“Covid-19 has made risk everybody’s business. We need to carry this understanding and momentum into the much bigger fight for our planet against the larger, stronger, more devastating climate emergency," said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

He said risk reduction, and in particular, climate adaptation requires strong risk governance and a multi-hazard approach, though a key challenge will be to ensure that multi-hazard early warning systems can be adapted to take account of biological hazards alongside extreme weather events.

The report says nearly 90 per cent of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have identified early warning systems as a top priority in their Nationally Determined Contributions on climate change. However, many of them lack the necessary capacity and financial investment is not always flowing into the areas where investment is most needed.
The situation is particularly acute in SIDS and LDCs. The report says since 1970, SIDS have lost US$ 153 billion due to weather, climate and water related hazards, a significant amount given that the average GDP for SIDS is US$ 13.7 billion.  Meanwhile, 1.4 million people (70 per cent of the total deaths) in LDCs lost their lives due to weather, climate and water related hazards in that time period.
Data provided by 138 WMO Members shows that just 40 per cent of them have Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS). This means that globally on average one in three people is still not covered by early warnings. Currently, only 75 WMO Members (39 per cent) indicated that they provide impact-based forecasting services.
Dissemination of warnings is weak in many developing countries, and advances in communication technologies are not being fully exploited to reach out to people at risk, especially in LDCs.

“Pre-emptive action underpinned by effective weather data, early warning systems and disaster risk assessments, can save millions of livelihoods in times of conflict and natural disaster. Early warning, Early actions” is therefore a key to dealing with potential risks for the global agri-food system, even before the latest outbreak of locust and the Covid-19 Pandemic,” said Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Mikko Ollikainen, manager of the Adaptation Fund said this year has highlighted the importance of building broad resilience in vulnerable developing countries, to climate change but also to health and economic risks. "Climate services are critical in achieving resilience," Ollikainen said.
The report says there is insufficient capacity worldwide to translate early warning into early action, especially in LDCs. It says Africa faces the largest gaps in capacity. Across this vast continent, the report says, while capacity is good in terms of risk knowledge and forecasting, just 44,000 of people in 100,000 are covered by early warnings, in countries where data is available.
All weather and climate services rely on data from systematic observations. However, observing networks are often inadequate, particularly across Africa where, in 2019, just 26 per cent of stations met WMO reporting requirements.

“This report provides a timely warning of the need for climate services to protect the most vulnerable from devastating climate events. Our support ranges from better preparing Malawian fishing people from storm surges to enhancing infrastructure resilience in Caribbean nations such as Antigua and Barbuda now buffeted by increasingly frequent hurricanes," said Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund.

The Writer is a 2019/2020 Bertha Fellow

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