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New International Study Links Climate Change, Food Insecurity and Migration2012-12-04
At the ongoing UN-Climate Chnge Conference, findings of a study have been released confirming that rain variability and food insecurity are key drivers for human migration in developing countries.
The empirical research carried out by CARE International and the United Nations University in eight deloping countries in Asia Africa and Latin America, links the relationship between climate change, food security and migration.
It reveals that during drought, land scarce households trying to cope with food insecurity send migrants to find food or money to buy food. The report further points out that migration was only temporary where migrants were successful, but frequently permanent in situations where options could not be found to deal with rainfall unpredictability and rural food insecurity.
"Even though we have seen that the levels of food insecurity vary across site, migration decisions were more closely linked to rainfall in places where the dependence on rain-fed agriculture was high" said Dr. Koko Warner, the Scientific Director of the ‘Where the Rain Falls’ project.
"When we look into the future, our modeling results for Tanzania show that migration from vulnerable households could double over the next 25 years under the most extreme drying scenario" she told a news conference at the sidelines of the Doha climate meeting.
The study gives African decision makers particularly in East African, that has recently been struggling with the worst drought in 60 years, ideas about who is migrating, under what circumstances and what needs to be done to make migration a choice and not force.
Tonya Rawe, a senior policy advocate for CARE USA, said the adaptation committee of the UN climate talks needs to find ways to help guide where and how climate finance can be targetted to help vulnerable communities adapt to the changing weather patterns and ensure food security.
She said communities that participated in the research have shaky livelihoods, and as the impacts of climate change increase- like floods and droughts, they move closer to the edge of crisis.
"They need real policy and practice solutions today, at all levels including here in the UNFCCC. As impacts increase, households grow more vulnerable and have less capacity to adapt, potentially leading to more migration driven by hunger, undertaken as last resort" she noted.
The researchers warned that if national and global policy makers do not act quickly- both to mitigate global warming and support rural communities to adapt, food insecurity and emigration from areas most affected by climate change are likely to grow in the coming decade.
Already there are efforts like by the Rockefeller Foundation that has invested millions of dollars in partnerships with African governments and civic institutions like Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) to tackle issues—from climate change to rapid urbanization—that are hindering the progress of so many people, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- By Emmanuel Okella
Appels à la prise en compte de l' Agriculture comme facteur capital face aux changements climatiques2012-12-04
Négociations de Doha, les ministres africains de l'environnement entrent dans la danse2012-12-02
Swaziland scoops major post at COP 17 talks2011-12-14
Emanuel Dlamini Africa's negotiator in climate change talks for the next two years
Swaziland was elected to lead Africa in climate change negotiations for the next two years to be held in different forums. Emanuel Dlamini of Swaziland Meteorological Services, who is also the focal person on climate change in Swaziland, was to have gone to the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to be held in Qatar next year but this time he will no longer be representing Swaziland. He was elected by the Africa Group delegates after Democratic Republic of Congo's term had come to an end.
South Africa had shown interest but there was concern among delegates that the host country's plate was already full as it is the chairman of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Conference and the 17th Conference of the Parties.
Dlamini says it is a great honour for a small country like ours.
"Many a times you converse with people but when time comes to ask you where you come from one says Swaziland but they deliberately choose to say you are from Switzerland."
He said now that he would be talking for the continent he would have access to all information, unlike before when it was tough to put Swaziland on the agenda.
"It was an achievement for Swaziland and marks the start of a series of consultations so that when Africa speaks on climate change it would be with one voice."
Africa's major thrust in these negotiations should be poverty reduction and at the centre of poverty reduction is food security and agriculture. South African president Jacob Zuma reiterated the continent's call at COP17.
By 2050 there will be more than nine billion people in the world. Agricultural production must increase by 70 percent to feed our growing population. Agriculture is more vulnerable to climate change than any other sector. Climate changes create risks and uncertainty with potentially serious downsides. Without strong adaptation measures, climate change could reduce food crop production by 10 to 20 percent by 2050, with more severe losses in Africa. Climate-smart agriculture seeks to enhance agricultural productivity by improving on resilience. Farmers should be at the centre of this transformation of the agriculture sector. Improved agricultural practices have the potential to increase crop yields, diversify income sources and reduce the vulnerability of small farmers to climate change.
Climate-smart agriculture included proven practical techniques such as mulching, intercropping, conservation agriculture, crop rotation, integrated crop-livestock management, agro-forestry, improved grazing, and improved water management – and innovative practices such as better weather forecasting, more resilient food crops, and risk insurance.
"No one knows exactly how the future global climate will develop and what the resultant consequences will be to all of us, particularly the developing and poor countries, but impacts could be considerable. Food in-security, especially in Africa, is linked to the prevailing climate." Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda says her organisation has joined forces with agricultural partners in Africa and the world to ensure that the campaign – No agriculture, no deal – is top of mind at the negotiations.
"We should not leave COP17 without a secured deal that will promote food security despite the realities of climate change," she says. FANRPAN is the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, an Africa-wide organisation advocating for sound agricultural policies. It also advocates for climate-smart agriculture which includes sustainable increases in productivity, strengthened resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems and efforts to adapt and mitigate climate change by using proven techniques such as agro-forestry, improved grazing, zero tillage and intercropping.
"Before and during COP17 we have been promoting the advantages of agriculture as a permanent item on the climate change agenda and we expect negotiators to push for responsible climate deal for the agriculture sector."
- By Ackel Zwane
Big emitters challenged to lead the war2011-12-14
South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma says developed countries have the responsibility to take the lead in addressing the climate change challenge because they benefitted from the emissions.
Opening The High Level Segment of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) on Climate Change, Zuma said developed countries must lead the global efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions.
"They must also lead by providing support to developing countries in their mitigation actions and efforts to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. Developed countries benefitted from a high level of emissions for their own development. It is, therefore, fair that developing countries be provided developmental space in a sustainable way so that they too may develop and eradicate the poverty that continues to afflict their people.
Zuma also challenged COP17 leaders of delegations and heads of state to show the world that parties are ready to address the climate change problems in a practical manner.
"Leaders are supposed to show the world that they are willing to forgo the national interest at times, for the interest of humanity. By now all of us understand that Durban is a decisive moment for the future of the multilateral rules-based regime, which has evolved over many years under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol," he said.
"There is a need to agree on the adoption of a 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as well as the possibility of enhanced mechanisms and to decide on the eligibility for participation in the mechanisms.
"We need to make a decision here in Durban that includes both the now and the future aspects of these re- assurances that are needed. The high level segment must also agree on the formalisation and implementation of the mitigation pledges of developed countries and the rules of the comparability between the pledges of those parties of the Kyoto Protocol and those parties outside the Kyoto protocol."
Zuma challenged international communities to honour the international commitments and undertakings made under the climate change process. "Parties must secure an enhanced multilateral rules-based response to climate change that is equally binding on all," he said.
- By Basil Msongo
Developing countries need funds now2011-12-14
The Philippine delegation to the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says the Green Climate Fund should be responsive to the needs of developing countries especially on adaptation.
Speaking at the High Level Segment of the COP17 in Durban, South Africa, Philippines's Secretary and Vice-Chair of the Climate Change commissions, Mary Ann Lucille Sering said the fund and its capitalisation should be operationalised at COP17.
"For us, it is not just an issue on how much, but it is more of an issue of good faith through a serious delivery on commitments under the convention," she said.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said providing financial and technological support is the key and most effective tools in addressing climate change.
"I cannot stress enough how important it is for developed countries to fulfill their commitments. This is essential for helping developing countries to make progress on adaptation and mitigation," he said.
Sering said the Philippines understand the current economic situation globally, but believes it is a temporary setback.
"The Philippines calls for more decisive action to increase the level of commitment in setting the needed mitigation goal, including the nonnegotiable establishment of the second commitment period. The Philippines also recognises that climate change requires the greatest economic transformation to avert its impact, but it should also take in consideration the right to develop sustainably.
"This economic transformation should also still respect the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. For the Philippines climate change is no longer just a threat environmentally, but also economically.
"Durban should be remembered by future generations as the moment that defined adaptable and climate friendlier conditions. We are with you in saving tomorrow today. And today means right now. Today also means taking action now and not more mechanisms to do action."
- By Basil Msongo
Water crucial in climate change agenda2011-12-14
The African Union (UN) says water issues need to be sufficiently addressed on the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agenda as it is part of Climate Change Convention.
Speaking during the High Level Panel on Water, Climate and Development, UN Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace said climate change is water change, and that the water community is already dealing with the challenges.
"Africa, developing countries and development partners need to work strategically to ensure water resources as a thematic focus in the UNFCCC. Water is life and in Africa, this is a matter of fact and a priority issue.
"Water is about both adaptation and mitigation. The success of most mitigation interventions, as determined by the UNFCCC, rests upon the availability and sustainability of resources" she said.
"Water is not a sector, it is a resource and climate change is making water resources management more complex due to the uncertainty and unpredictability in weather patterns. Addressing water is not about bringing in sectoral interests, but a way of systematically addressing complexities that currently are addressed under headings such as hazards, floods, droughts" she said.
Gambia's Minister of Environment and Forestry, Jatto Sillah said the threat of climate change impact on levels of water is likely to become a major source of new generation of conflicts in Africa.
"Such conflicts will seriously undermine our individual countries and collective efforts towards social and advancement of Africa and its people. Countries need to invest more in water resources as part of mitigation and adaptation strategies and both the Green Fund and the Africa Fund should include funding for water resources.
"For the least developed countries which are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, the capacity to mobilise such funding is very minimal. The need to secure financing for projects that address water resources management and climate change adaptation and mitigation arrangements remains critical for survival," he said.
- By Basil Msongo
Negotiators already have solutions2011-12-14
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat has challenged delegates of the Seventeenth Conference of Parties (COP17) to craft solutions on climate change because future generations need a visionary legacy from them.
Speaking during the High Level Segment held parallel with the conference in Durban, UNFCCC' Secretary, Christina Figueres said early on some operational solutions had already been tabled, and that negotiators already had solutions on their plates.
"Delegates should ensure that there is clarity on contours of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and that an implementation gap is ruled out. Delegates should also ensure that there is clarity on how to achieve strong rules-based rigour and structure in the global effort to tackle climate change. There must also be clarity on how funds will be scaled up from now until 2020.
"The time has come to also address the thorny political issues. They concern reliable long-term funding, the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and the future of the mitigation framework under the Convention" she said.
- By Basil Msongo
Zuma calls for climate smart agriculture2011-12-14
South African President Jacob Zuma says coming up with modernised farming such as climate-smart agriculture offers a triple win for food security, adaptation, and mitigation.
The event for early actions on climate-smart agriculture, an initiative that is being driven by agricultural unions and organisations within the continent and supported by the African Union and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is set to be put on the negotiating table during the discussions.
"It is generally accepted that by 2050, there will be more than nine billion people in the world and if this is true, agricultural production must increase by 70 percent to feed our growing population," Zuma says.
He adds that agriculture is more vulnerable to climate change than any other sector.
"Climate change creates risks and uncertainty with potentially serious results. Without strong adaptation measures, climate change could reduce food crop production by 10 to 20 percent by the 2050s, with more severe losses in Africa," he says.
"Climate-smart agriculture seeks to enhance agricultural productivity by improving on resilience. Farmers should be at the centre of this transformation of the agriculture sector. Improved agricultural practices have the potential to increase crop yields, diversify income sources and reduce the vulnerability of small farmers to climate change," the president says.
Climate-smart agriculture includes proven practical techniques such as mulching, intercropping, conservation agriculture, crop rotation, integrated crop-livestock management, agro-forestry, improved grazing, and improved water management and innovative practices such as better weather forecasting, more resilient food crops, and risk insurance.
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General and chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution, says Africa must grow its own food to meet its needs and also be able to export surpluses.
"This would require a collaborative effort from farmers, businesses, government and scientists. There is need to be creative and have leadership skills, resources, expertise and solidarity of every organisation and individual if we are to find solutions to this common challenge. Everyone must play a part in ensuring that our leaders do not shy away from the hard decisions necessary to ensure the world we pass on to future generations is a stable, secure and healthy one," says Annan.
- By Fidelis Zvomuya
Women most at risk from climate disasters - UN2011-12-14
Women, particularly those living in mountain regions in developing countries, are facing excessively high risks to their livelihoods and health from climate change, says the United Nations.
According to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), investing in low carbon, resource efficient green technologies, water harvesting and fuel wood alternatives can strengthen climate change adaptation and improve women's livelihoods.
The report titled, Women at the Frontline of Climate Change: Gender Risks and Hopes, released at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban says the effects of climate change have become a disaster to many womens' livelihoods.
"Impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods and mud slides are affecting a growing number of people worldwide. From 1999 to 2008, floods affected almost one billion people in Asia, 28 million in the Americas, 22 million in Africa and four million in Europe.
"In parts of Asia and Africa, where the majority of the agricultural workforce are female, the impacts of such disasters have a major impact on women's income, food security and health. Women are responsible for about six per cent of household food production in Asia and 75 percent in Africa," states the report.
"Women often play a stronger role than men in the management of ecosystem services and food security, hence the need for the sustainable adaptation to focus on gender and the role of women if it is to become successful.
The UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner says women's voices, responsibilities and knowledge on the environment and the challenges they face will need to be made a central part of governments' adaptive responses to a rapidly changing climate.
According to the report women in communities vulnerable to climate change are often more likely than men to lose their lives during natural disasters, due to poor access to coping strategies such as basic lifesaving skills or cultural factors that restrict the mobility of women.
Research by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization shows that providing women, who make up around 40 to 50 per cent of the work force in agriculture, with the same access as men to productive resources and technologies could increase yields on farms managed by women by between 20 and 30 per cent.
This could substantially improve food security by raising agricultural output in developing countries by up to four per cent.
- By Paida Mpaso
Swazi civil society embraces climate-smart agriculture2011-12-08
Representatives of civil society from Swaziland attending the Agriculture and Rural Development Day as a lateral event of COP17 are taking many cues in the concept of climate smart agriculture.
Dalton Nxumalo of World Vision Swaziland presented on how to build the resilience of Africa smallholder famers in a changing world.
Their participation was to influence policy on agriculture in the county and also embrace climate change as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We are advocating for evidence based policy with tools like the household vulnerability index which was piloted in Swaziland through the partnership with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Network Analysis (FANRPAN) and World Vision.
"The outcomes of the learning event will help us prioritise our programmes and how to survive in the era of climate change by applying climate-smart agriculture."
The World Bank says climate-smart agriculture includes proven practical techniques. For example, by increasing the organic content of the soil through conservation tillage, its water holding capacity increases, making yields more resilient and reducing erosion. Promoting soil carbon capture also helps mitigate climate change.
Another example is integrated soil fertility management that can lower fertilizer costs, increase soil carbon and improve yields. Climate-smart agriculture gives attention to landscape approaches, for example, integrated planning of land, agriculture, forests, fisheries and water to ensure synergies are captured.
Musa Dlamini of the Consortium of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) says lessons from experiences of four African countries - Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia and Tanzania - enriched him with areas of resilience and adaptation he wants to see adopted in Swaziland.
These are water harvesting techniques, sustainability strategies and scaling up issues of climate-smart agriculture and the issue of integrating these into the national development plan. The other crucial lesson is the use of technology to disseminate information to smallholder farmers such as distributing weather information via short message services (SMSs).
- By Ackel Zwane
Durban must check against delivery2011-12-08
Durban climate talks must come up with a work programme for agriculture that talks about mitigation, adaptation, women, human rights and the environment, says Mary Robinson.
Delivering a keynote presentation at the third annual Agriculture and Rural Development Day held at the Durban University of Technology, Robinson said while the current text is blocked due to linked agenda items on bunker fuels and issues around trade, COP17 must deliver action on the links between climate change and food and nutrition security.
Robinson, who now heads up The Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, is a former President of Ireland and a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She is also a member of the Elders group.
"Achieving food security and climate justice is doable. Climate change is making a bad situation far worse but, even so, I believe that it comes down to political choices and policy decisions. If we believe that solving the problem of hunger and food security is a priority, a question of justice and fairness, then it is not beyond our power to resolve it," she said.
She said a positive development is the renewed focus on the key role that agriculture plays in addressing food security and the search for innovative approaches to agriculture, "including climate- smart agriculture, the subject of our deliberations here today."
She said it is estimated that up to 25 percent of world food production could be lost by 2050 as a result of climate change, water scarcity and land degradation resulting in an increase of 10 to 20 percent in the number of people going hungry during the same period.
"The fact is that action is urgently required. We have a situation where almost a billion people go hungry every day, where a further billion are malnourished, which makes it an affront to us all. Progress here in Durban could build strong momentum to put justice and equity at the heart of international responses to climate change as we prepare for the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit next June. We should not let this opportunity pass."
Climate justice links human rights and development to achieve a human-centred approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly, she says.
"Time is running out for world leaders, who must go beyond rhetoric and deliver real change. The hungry cannot wait. Unless decisive action is taken now, vulnerable populations will grow hungrier, food markets will be increasingly unstable, and the world will remain completely unprepared for the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050."
The Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011 was organised by many including the CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) regional office in South Africa, CTA, ACP, the EU and the World Bank. The event highlighted the importance of climate-smart agriculture and the need to address food security and agriculture in the climate change negotiations.
Highlighting the theme of the event, Advancing rural development for Africa's smallholder farmers, Robinson said it is a well-known fact that up to 75 percent of people living in developing countries rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. "Over 90 percent of Africa's agricultural production comes from small-scale production. Many of these farmers are women, who play a critical role in food and nutrition security and are responsible for growing, buying, selling and cooking the food. Between 60 and 80 percent of the food produced in most developing countries is produced by women. In sub-Saharan Africa the figure is between 80 and 90 percent, yet women own less than 2 percent of the land."
Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer says ARDD, in its third year now, supports climate-smart agriculture as it is a smart way of achieving food security, through putting farmers, people and the environment first.
- By Fidelis Zvomuya
Africa's biggest regional climate change initiative launched2011-12-08
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have announced Africa's biggest climate change initiative.
COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya says the world has been waiting for a long time for a post 2012 global agreement on climate change. Addressing the launch of the EAC, COMESA and SADC Tripartite Climate Change programme, Ngwenya says whilst there is no doubt that this is the last chance for the world to take a collective decisive action that will save the planet, progressive countries have teamed up with the continent to come up with a new agreement.
"This new cooperation arrangement will support Africa to address the most pressing challenges to food security through the wide adoption of climate-smart agriculture, building the capacity of African institutions to handle climate change and lay the foundation for the continent's sustainable, green growth and development," says Ngwenya.
The tripartite was set up to facilitate the three economic regions' long-term vision of working together in solving one of the global challenges facing humankind today.
The main objective of the COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite initiative is develop a climate change policy that will contribute to sustainable development in the region through harmonised and coordinated sub-regional strategies, programmes and actions to respond to climate change including both adaptation and mitigation.
"The initiative is novel in many respects and it stems from the need to harmonise programme approaches among these three eastern and southern Africa regional economic communities. Climate change is the third flagship programme of the regional economic tripartite signed by the heads of states. Its entry point is to support the African effort at the UNFCCC to ensure that agriculture is accommodated in a manner that is responsive to the interests of Africa and its people," says Ngwenya.
Speaking at the same occasion, John Ashton, UK Foreign Secretary Special Representative on Climate Change says African voice has been missing in the global climate change agenda.
"The African voice has been weak and such initiative as the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite will make sure that Africa is heard loud and clear," he says.
Ngwenya says that it is now well established that women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change primarily because they constitute the majority of the continent's poor.
"In response to the gendered and adverse effects of climate change on women and the youth, the COMESA-EAC-SADC climate change initiative has established specialised technical committees to address gender concerns at national and regional levels, including policy and programmes. The tripartite initiative will also engage youth and civil society," he says.
- By Fidelis Zvomuya
More funding to link farmers to the carbon market2011-12-08
More funding is needed to hook more smallholder farmers and rural communities to the carbon funds market and tackle the negative effects of climate change on the sector, participants at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day said.
More private and public funds will help reduce barriers of investments and policy that have so far restricted such opportunities, for Africa's largest farming communities despite existing local, national and regional initiatives.
"Carbon financing needs to be topped up from public and other private sources funds. Financing and policies must be right," one of the learning forums heard.
The forums also emphasised strengthening of research to produce and distribute drought resistance and early maturing crops as mitigation. 'Agriculture, food security is central to UNFCCC agreements. We need a work programme for climate smart agriculture," said Dr James Nyoro Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation in Africa.
They range from conservation agriculture in Zambia, evergreen farming in Burkina Faso, Tanzania's Kilimo Kwanza as well as initiatives steered under the auspices of African Union and Nepad's CAADP.
"Burkinanes practising evergreen agriculture can improve yields by up to 150 per cent. Kenyan farmers have seen yields increase by 30 per cent and more than 20 000 farmers are practising climate smart agriculture. Another 2 500 farmers are adopting the practices without cash incentives," said Nyoro.
Studies show that some 80 per cent of Kenya's small scale rural farmers are willing to pay for weather-related information. Other farmers across Africa are closely working with the World Meteorological Organisation.
By combining climate and agriculture participants observed, the health of land as a key resource for food production will be sustained. Presently, some 200 million people in Africa face food insecurity and climate injustice and related risks. The solution lies in climate-smart agriculture.
- By Zeddy Sambu
Africa loses more than US$7,5 billion worth of food in 20102011-12-08
Africa lost more than US$7,5 billion worth of food due to extreme weather conditions in 2010.
This is according to Dr James Nyoro, Managing Director, Africa Region of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Speaking at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011, Nyoro said 1,3 billion tons of food is wasted each year within the continent from farm to fork.
"Every year climate related disasters affect 200 million people and costing over US$70 billion worldwide. About 87 per cent of households in three Sub Saharan African countries slide in and out of hunger when exposed to shocks. .
Nyoro says this can only be solved through climate-smart agriculture - the future and the way to go if governments want to solve these weather related disasters. Climate- smart agriculture sustains health of the land and increases production, does not pollute and degrade land or loss of forest and biodiversity. It delivers food, fibre, fuel and income, carbon sequestration and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
"Climate-smart agriculture has been in existence for a long time and is practiced in several countries. This has been happening through the integration of local and scientific knowledge which has been essential for weather forecasts that has been used by local farmers for many years.
"In Niger, Evergreen Agriculture which is utilising 5 million hectares, regenerated 500 000 tons of cereals per year benefiting 1, 25 million people. It combines agroforestry with the principles of conservation farming. The addition of agroforestry offers multiple livelihood benefits to farmers, including sources of green or organic fertilizer to build healthier soils and enhance crop yields, whilst providing fruits, medicines, livestock fodder, and fuel-wood. Environmental benefits include land rehabilitation, a more effective water cycle and watershed protection, increased biodiversity, increased carbon accumulation and storage and greater resilience to climate change – addressing mitigation and adaptation.
"In Zambia 160 000 people are using conservation agriculture. In Burkina Faso farmers are using water harvesting to restore land and increase yields," Nyoro says.
Part of Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011 included sessions on lessons on best practice for climate-smart agriculture. Participating organisations included three United Nations agencies, the World Bank, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) FANRPAN, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) and the World Farmers' Organisation.
The event attracted more than 500 agricultural experts including policymakers and negotiators, journalists, farmers, and scientists. Issues discussed included priorities to boost agricultural production while supporting mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
- By Fedelis Zvomuya
FANRPAN COP 17: Newsletter2011-12-07
Durban, South Africa
28 November - 9 December 2011
Africa urged to apply practical climate change solutions to avoid economic treats2011-12-07
African governments have been urged to put in place very practical resolutions of adapting climate change to avoid future massive impact which threatens the economy of Africans and the continent at large.
Climate scientist Elina Kululanga of the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Service in Malawi, says Africa needs strong mitigation and adaptation measures now because climate change impacts will be very hard to Africans.
"African leaders and policy makers are supposed to have a common voice which will enhance the continent to have strong measures of mitigating and adapting climate change.
"Recently, Southern African countries have been experiencing extreme events such as floods and drought which affects crop production hence climate change needs to be tackled now."
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Sepo Hachigonta says climate change poses a real risk to the future of farming and food security in Africa.
"All stakeholders including policy makers, researchers, scientists and farmers should, therefore, be engaged to find solution.
"Climate change impacts are very localised and since African farmers are very vulnerable, their government should spearhead initiatives of climate smart agriculture. All partners have to be involved in the climate change adaptation strategies."
Hachigonta says there is a need for stakeholders to understand the current climate so that they can share information which will enhance the capacity of policy analysts and scientists in the field of agriculture, climate and socio-economics to collectively build a strong base of evidence on cropping systems to inform adaptation policies and investment decisions.
"A key strategy for managing risk and vulnerability associated with climate change is developing and implementing evidence-based policies and programmes that respond to local realities and priorities.
"It is important to have more weather stations and to digitise data sites so that important information can be available when needed." Hachigonta says African governments are obliged to build the capacity of young researchers on climate change on various issues such as cost benefit adaptation and vulnerability assessments.
"There are various ways of adapting climate change, hence if climate becomes more variable in future, the continent should find other ways of using climate smart agriculture, while initiatives to assist farmers to apply climate-proof agriculture such as building dams and constructing irrigation facilities must be encouraged.
- By Basil Msongo
Climate change disaster to Africa2011-12-07
The socio-economic impact of climate change can range from severe to disastrous, especially to African countries, and will require extensive action to adjust and adapt to a changing climate.
This is according to South African Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
Officially opening Forest Day 5 at COP17 Joemat-Pettersson said many countries are potential victims of global climate change, given that they have energy-intensive, fossil-fuel powered economies and are highly vulnerable to the impact of climate variability and change.
"South Africa regards climate change as one of the greatest threats to sustainable development and believes that climate change, if unmitigated, has the potential to undo or undermine many of the positive advances made in meeting South Africa's own development goals and the Millennium Development Goals.
"The world needs to recognise that, the 2 degrees Celsius goal cannot be achieved by one part of the world on its own.
"We, as a collective, must therefore deliver a comprehensive international programme on adaptation that provides access to significantly up-scaled finance, technology and capacity building for all developing countries, recognising the particular vulnerability of countries in Africa" she said.
The minister challenged COP17 delegates to deliver a framework for nationally appropriate mitigation action by developing countries, supported and enabled by finance, technology and capacity building, all of which are measured, reported and verified.
"Climate change threatens to undermine many of the development objectives of countries in Africa and in the rest of the developing world in areas such as water, energy, health, agriculture and forestry.
"Many concerns and issues surround the use of forestry as a carbon sink. Nevertheless, forestry remains an effective, low cost method of removing carbon from the atmosphere in a sustainable manner," she said.
Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization's Forestry Department, Eduardo Rojas- Briales, says forests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change - they are pillars of sustainable development.
- By Basil Msongo
Rockefeller Foundation supports climate resilience2011-12-07
The Rockefeller Foundation says its climate change resilience work in Africa helps smallholder farmers adapt to more extreme and difficult to manage weather patterns.
"Delegates at COP17 have an opportunity to focus the discussion and the decision making on how to build the resilience of communities that are already feeling the impact of extreme weather because of climate change," says the foundation's Associate Director, Cristina Rumbaitis Del Rio.
"Our climate change resilience work, focused at the local and regional level, proves that building real adaptive capacity to climate change is possible. So, as government leaders, climate experts and representatives of the private sector discuss and debate the future of an international climate change framework in Durban, we hope that the COP community also focuses on the success that local governments and communities have already achieved in resilience-building. We hope they will find pathways to support and scale these innovations.
"Since 1995 the UNFCCC has convened the international community to cooperatively consider what they could do to mitigate climate change and to manage its impacts. Guided by our dual mission to build resilience and promote growth with equity, the foundation focuses on building resilient communities that are able to weather the effects of climate change," she said.
"In 2007 we launched our climate change resilience initiative - a $90 million commitment which focuses on urban environments in Asia, agriculture in Africa, policy research and replication efforts.
"To help rapidly growing cities in Asia develop resilience plans and to help them prepare for the current and future impact of climate change, we formed the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network."
The foundation's President, Judith Rodin says between 2004 and 2011, over $1,3 billion was committed to help Africa reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
"However, to date only $390 million has been spent.
"We stand at a fragile point in history. We are not sitting in conference rooms in Copenhagen or Cancun anymore. We look out of our window and Africa is right there, a continent whose climate predicament can be ignored no longer" she said.
- By Basil Msongo
Gender key to sustainable forests2011-12-07
If the forestry sector ignores gender issues it will miss a huge opportunity to reduce poverty, conserve biodiversity and bolster sustainable development states the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) book, Gender and forests.
The Director of IUCN, Julia Morton-Lefevre says women have important primary roles as managers of forests, land, water and other natural resources in many communities - a position which makes them powerful agents of change in formulating responses to climate change.
Speaking at the launch of the book at Forest Day 5 at COP17 in Durban Morton-Lefevre said women are part of the solution.
"By developing national gender-sensitive climate strategies, we can concretise practical steps that lead to improved benefits for men, women and nature."
IUCN is an international organisation that helps the world find pragmatic solutions to the most pressing environment and development challenges. It focuses on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy. This done by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world and bringing governments, non-governmental organisations, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.
The book, which has been published in partnership with the Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), recognises that after decades of neglect and marginalisation gender issues are at last finding way into many forests, land use and environmental policies.
In addition, the book states that women across the world are primary users of forest resources and their sale on forests products is vital to covering household expenses and tiding them through leaner times of the year. Women, therefore, have more at stake than men when forests are degraded or forests access is denied.
Morton-Lefevre said that despite this, numerous studies have shown that womens' concerns are often neglected as the ownership of forests and sales of valuable forests products are largely under the control of men.
"We need to make gender issues more seriously, not only to make our work more effective but also to redress gender imbalances by enhancing womens' empowerment, strengthening womens' rights and ensuring that women get their fair share of benefits," she said.
- By Paida Mpaso
Keeping the legacy of Wangari alive2011-12-07
Fourteen global bodies championing the cause of the environment have launched an award in honour of the late Professor Wangari Maathai for her lifelong commitment to environmental protection.
The various UN bodies and non-governmental organisations under the banner of the Collaborative Centre for Conservation of Forests say the award will reward excellence in seven different areas that the environment icon championed.
The 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate, environmentalist, scientist, parliamentarian, founder of the Green Belt Movement, advocate for social justice, human rights and democracy, elder and peacemaker died of cancer in September 2011.
2011 is the United Nations' International Year of the Forests and the award is being set up in the name of a woman who in 1977 established most probably the greatest tree planting initiative in the world. The Green Belt Movement works with women to improve their livelihoods by increasing access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. She became a great advocate for better management of natural resources and for sustainability, equity and justice.
As the first eastern and central African woman to hold a Ph.D. and the first African woman Nobel laureate for peace, Maathai went on to establish the movement which has planted over 45 million trees in Kenya. The target is a billion trees.
She insisted that the tree planting be carried out by women in the villages of Kenya to help protect their environment and ensure paid employment for planting trees. Maathai believed that social and economic issues were fundamentally intertwined with the environment.
Her work inspired reforestation by adding millions of trees, enhancing the fact that although human activities partly cause the current climate crisis, it can also be help solve it.
The award will celebrate her remarkable selfless dedication to improving the environment, and enhancing the lives of women in Kenya. Her legacy continues to inspire leaders around the world, among them, former US president Bill Clinton.
The Clinton Climate Initiative Forestry Programme was among those who paid tribute to Maathai's legacy at Forest Day 5 at COP17.
Clinton said Maathai was a good friend.
"She would be so pleased that COP17 is taking place in Africa. She recognised that the continent was tragically hard hit by deforestation and climate change and she urged us not to give up, "said Clinton in a personal letter to Forest Day 5.
FANRPAN Chairman Sindiso Ngwenya says Maathai stood next to him at COP14 in Poznan, Poland when he announced the African Climate Solution that called for support for agriculture, forestry and other land uses.
"I am sad today that she is no longer with us, but I am happy that her spirit lives on in all of us as we commit to make sure that Africa is food secure.
- By Zeddy Sambu
Don't convert Climate Change Fund into loan - Swazi agricultural expert2011-12-05
In a bid to protect the smallholder farmer, the cornerstone in food security in Swaziland, Sicelo Simelane of the Swaziland Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) says Africa opposes the move by developed countries to convert the Climate Change grant money into a loan scheme for the developing world.
"Africa feels that by letting the developed world impose this fund as a loan would be reverting the continent's situation back to the ecological debt debate which was dominant prior to the creation of the Climate Change Fund.
"Let's follow the debates at COP17 and set up obligations for the developed world so that they don't just end as just talk but lead to a roll-out of the grants. This fund was set up by the developed world to assist the developing world cut greenhouse gasses. It was successfully brokered at the international talks in Cancun, Mexico last year, a deal that took four years of negotiations. This deal was to result in less deforestation, the transfer of technology to developing countries and the establishment of a yearly fund, most likely to the tune of US$ 100 billion to assist countries adopt to climate change.
"I believe there is a need to follow up the Climate Change Fund. Last year's meeting also agreed on the establishment of the fund to handle and deliver the billions needed for the developing world to adapt to climate change and a system to inspect the actions taken to avoid climate change by rich and larger developing countries.
He says in Swaziland there are predominantly two types of agricultural farming, the rain-fed agriculture and the irrigation one and both are impacted by changes in the climate.
He cites the Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation project which has the Siphofaneni Dam alongside it – the dam only gets water when the Lusutfu River is flooded - as a very relevant case. If the river dries up the agreements must take this reality into account, which invariably includes the human factor – the farmers.
"The issue of adaptation is crucial for Swaziland. The government needs to devise adaptation strategies as dams could already be experiencing climate change effects. Policies must be mainstreamed and include all other sectors. We are already feeling the impact of climate change," he says.
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Chief Executive Officer Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda says African negotiators at COP17 must push for a responsible climate deal on agriculture.
"They should secure a deal that will promote food security help African farmers adapt to climate change and reduce emissions from agriculture. FANRPAN is an Africa-wide organisation advocating for sound agriculture. It also advocates for climate-smart agriculture which includes sustainable increases in productivity, strengthened resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems and efforts to mitigate climate change by using proven techniques such as agro-forestry, improved grazing, zero tillage and intercropping.
"No agriculture, no deal – FANRPAN's call at COP17 - will ensure that food insecurity no longer causes havoc on the African continent. We are grateful that COP17 is taking place in Africa. We want African negotiators to strike a responsible, binding climate change deal on agriculture.
"Should they fail to clinch such a deal, civil society will say any deal that does not have agriculture as a stand-alone priority sector with a dedicated work programme is a betrayal to the farming sector and anybody who needs food to survive."
"Now is the time for previous commitments made in Cancun to be sealed. Financial commitments should also be cemented to ensure that agricultural projects do not remain pipedreams but become realistic with measurable outputs. We should not keep on moving the goalposts - COP17 should produce concrete outputs that are binding to everyone."
"Whilst our call – no agriculture, no deal – is not a protest call, it illustrates how serious we are about a pressing situation. We don't embark on protest campaigns, but we advocate for evidence based dialogue. Agriculture is the backbone of Africa's economy and it needs a secure climate, so we will use all our power to ensure that the sector is put on the centre stage at COP17, and not through an exit door. I am also confident that Africa is well prepared for this conference and will sing from the same hymn sheet. As a matter of fact, Africa will use COP17 to push for a better global policy environment, improved agricultural productivity and land use," says Sibanda.
- By Ackel Zwane
Agriculture can't be treated like aviation - Dr Sibanda2011-12-05
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lindiwe Majele Majele Sibanda says the deep, almost inherent adaptability and resilience of the world's farmers make them well suited to deal with a changing climate and their voices to be heard at COP17.
"Farmers are dealing with limits to usable land and water, rising populations and the near-insatiable appetites of the world's fast-expanding middle class and this makes them to have their voices heard.
"It's is a misconception to put agriculture in the same league with the aviation and maritime industry when it comes to climate change negotiations. It needs to be treated separately and we are happy that there is realisation that this must be done."
She says there is every reason to believe that farmers, along with the companies and institutions that develop crop varieties and agricultural technologies, can meet the challenge of reducing emissions from agriculture.
"There is also evidence that today's levels of research and development, particularly for advances that can benefit the poorest regions, are grossly insufficient and need to be improved.
"Agriculture was regarded as a sectoral issue, meaning that it is bundled in with other sectors and negotiations about who should pay what for the emissions that result from aviation and maritime trade as the chances of an agreement on other issues are likely to weigh down the chances for agriculture as well."
She says the agricultural sector, representing both smallholders and commercial farmers with the support of 54 African governments, has issued a national road map, called climate smart agriculture for responding to climate change, along with a performance scorecard to measure how the sector fares when it comes to emission reduction.
According to the South Africa's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Petterson, feeding Africa and the world at a time of climate change is one of the major challenges of our era.
"Global food production must rise by 70 per cent by 2050 to feed over nine billion people worldwide. Without strong adaptation measures, climate change will reduce food crop yields by 16 per cent worldwide and by 28 per cent in Africa over the next 50 years. It is unlikely that the price and yield volatility will continue to rise as extreme weather continues, with further negative effects on livelihoods and placing food security at risk," the minister says.
Sibanda says while they understand that agriculture is the sector most vulnerable to climate change, it is also a major cause, directly accounting for approximately 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
"This could be as much as 30 per cent when considering land-use change, including deforestation directed by agricultural expansion for food, fibre and fuel.
"However, agriculture can still be part of the solution. Addressing agriculture is critical to achieving global climate goals. This new blueprint outlines a series of short-term and longer-term initiatives that will assist negotiators in coming up with a policy that will take agriculture out of the other leagues," says Sibanda.
Professor Raymond Auerbach of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University says climate smart agriculture is more about more crops per drop and must be supported as it is meant to have a single line about agriculture being included in the final text that emerges from COP17 which has not been the case at any previous conference.
He echoes Sibanda's sentiments that the African agricultural sector must convince negotiators to agree to the establishment of a work programme on agriculture.
"We are convinced that this would seek solutions to the problem of agriculture's contribution to climate change and vice versa.
"Better climate-change and forecast models, combined with more effective agriculture in drought-threatened areas will not solve all problems, but they should reduce the need for emergency responses, and make such measures more effective when they are necessary," he says.
- By Fidelis Zvomuya
Big agricultural spend, but lagging behind CAADP targets2011-12-05
South Africa is still lagging behind in implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) seven years after African heads endorsed the programme in Mozambique with the hope for an agricultural investment growth.
Simon Kisira, a member of the CAADP's implementation team says despite South Africa having the most advanced agriculture and value chain sector on the continent, it lags behind its peers in the SADC and the African region in CAADP implementation.
Within the SADC, South Africa together with Angola, Botswana, Madagascar and Zimbabwe are still yet to consolidate and sign their CAADP compacts. At least 40 countries on the continent are at various stages of implementation, with 28 having signed their national CAADP pact.
Kisira says his team met with the country's agriculture stakeholders in October, aiming to kick starting a co-ordinated CAADP-related intervention in agriculture development.
"A lot still needs to be done and we do hope South Africa will meet its obligation," he says without giving what percentage the country is at the moment.
"Despite having a huge agriculture budget a lot still need to be done in making sure the country meets its ten per cent commitment as per the Maputo declaration," he says.
"So far eight African countries have exceeded the ten per cent target and most have made significant progress towards it. Ten countries have met the six per cent productivity target and another 19 have achieved productivity growth of between three and six per cent," he says.
CAADP's aims to accelerate agricultural growth, improve food security and strengthen environmental resilience within the continent, was put in place in 2003 as part of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), which wants the country's endorsement as the one with the most advanced agricultural production and value chain on the continent.
In establishing the programme, NEPAD set ambitious targets of eliminating hunger and reducing poverty through agriculture and by addressing policy and capacity issues across the sector and the continent.
Zita Langa. Director-General at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, says despite not meeting the quota, this year alone the agriculture budget received a 17,9 per cent increment.
"Our 2011/12 budget of R 4,719 billion is over R700 million more than in the previous financial year.
"This alone reflects government's seriousness about the agriculture sector. We already spend more than ten per cent of our national budget on agriculture through various programmes such as subsistence-farming assistance projects, agricultural infrastructure development, various national technical farming assistance programmes, agricultural research and services institutions and local and provincial government led agricultural development programmes," he says.
- By Fidelis Zvomuya
Forests and Climate Change: Forest Day2011-12-04
Participant registration for Forest Day is now open.
Forest Day, now moving into its fifth year, has become one of the most intensive and influential annual global events on forests. At its heart, it is a platform for anyone with an interest in forests and climate change to meet once a year to ensure that forests remain high on the agenda of global and national climate strategies, and that those strategies are informed by the most up-to-date knowledge and experience. Forest Day presents an opportunity for stakeholders from different backgrounds and regions to network, share their experiences and debate the pressing issues facing forests around the world.
Swaziland can still save indigenous forest2011-12-01
The abrupt change from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture by residents along the Lower Usuthu Irrigation Project in Swaziland has seen the killing of the indigenous forest. However, the realities of the uncertainty in the world market price of sugar have dawned on the farmers who now realise how much the forest meant to them. But the question is what are the chances of salvaging or conserving what remains?
The answer may come from a study by Dr du Plessis of South African National Parks who revealed that in South Africa new strategies and approaches for indigenous forest management were developed. These became operational in 1984, resulting in a series of modifications to the regulation system.
There are close similarities between the case in Swaziland and that in South Africa, giving reason why it is possible to still regain indigenous forests. There has been mass destruction of sparse land to give way to sugarcane growing.
Du Plessis says developments in outh Africa and the subsequent growth of its economy, the period between 1892 and 1939 was characterised by an escalating demand for timber.
"Large sawmills were established and the woodcutter population gradually increased. It soon became evident that such high exploration levels were not sustainable. In 1939 the government passed the woodcutter Annuities Bill, which saw the registered woodcutter's system come to an end."
In the case of Swaziland most of the land had been in the hands of peasant farmers who had nothing much to do with it except for game, medicinal plant species harvesting and logging for domestic use. The rest was used as grazing as it lies in the low veld where cattle thrive. However, most of these farmers only operated on a subsistence scale until the sugarcane industry started encroaching. The European Union offered to convert these farmers into commercial ones by offering loans on condition the farmers would convert their land to sugarcane farming. There has been argument that the EU did not specify that the money made available for the project was for sugarcane farming alone but that is the only area where the market is available. The farmers have since realised that proceeds are only realised once a year and hardly make any difference in their lives. They then remember the days of the forest.
Du Plessis says with the logging technologies and methods presently in use, only about 6 000 of the 9 276 hectares of timber harvesting Management class are effectively subjected to harvesting, primarily due to conservation constraints requiring terrain restrictions with no harvesting on very steep slopes and in moist patches.
During the first eight years, the Swaziland project was to construct three dams and a distribution system, together with on-farm works, to irrigate a net irrigable area of approximately 6 500ha. After completion of this first phase, the government of Swaziland intended to expand the project into a second phase during which the water delivery system would be extended and an area of further approximately 5 000 ha would be developed. The project was to support the development of irrigated farms.
The project area is located along the west bank of the lower Usuthu River between Siphofaneni and Big Bend. The area is subdivided into five different blocks - the Weir Block at Bulungapoort, the Lubovane North Block, the Lubovane South Block, the St Philips Block and the Matata Block. The area encompasses four chiefdoms and parts of another four chiefdoms, and is expected to benefit approximately 2 600 households. Beneficiaries generally would be smallholder farmers, mainly involved in sugarcane farming, cotton, maize and other high value crops under irrigation.
- By Ackel Zwane
Rescuing the Kyoto Protocol2011-12-01
Thousands of delegates for the 17th Conference of Parties on climate change are facing the huge challenge of rescuing the Kyoto Protocol as it's the last opportunity to reach agreement for its second phase before it ends in 2012.
COP17 delegates from more than 190 that are in Durban, South Africa for the conference are expected to face critical decisions on whether or not there will be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
The protocol was adopted in December 1997 at a meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Kyoto, Japan aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The Kyoto Protocol, which was opened for signature on March 16, 1998 and came into force in 2005 is set to expire in 2012, hence talks in Durban are the last chance to set another round of targets before the first stage of the protocol ends.
Action Aid International's Climate Justice Coordinator, Harjeet Singh said in Durban that the death of the Kyoto Protocol could leave deep wounds in the COP17 negotiations.
"Rich countries have purposefully kept expectations low for the climate summit. Yet poor nations, whose people are worst hit by climate change, have made it clear the bar must remain high," he said.
"Over one and a half billion people are on the verge of a climate–driven food crisis and unless tackled now, another 50 million people could be at risk of hunger by 2020. If rich countries don't radically curb their carbon emissions by 2020, the climate crisis that ensues could dwarf our ability to respond."
Some countries such as Japan, Russia, Canada and Australia have already signalled their intention not to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and it is alleged that they want a legally binding agreement that will include all major developing countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
South Africa agreed to the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 and is one of the countries which appeal for an inclusive, fair and effective climate change deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is favourable to both developing and developed countries.
39 of the 40 industrialised countries have ratified the protocol which sets binding targets for industrialised countries to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5 percent between 2008 and 2012.
The Kyoto Protocol commits most developed nations to legally binding targets to cut emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.
"It may seem impossible, but you can get it done," Christiana Figueres, Executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told delegates.
The Kyoto Protocol is the most crucial issue of the Durban meeting, and it is alleged that the whole process of the climate change talks will be affected if decisions cannot be reached on the issue.
- By Basil Msongo
F is not a swear word in climate-smart agriculture2011-12-01
"At FANRPAN we believe in the triple F bottom line for sustainable climate-smart agriculture - feeding the farms and family, feeding the fiscus and feeding the environment. Climate smart agriculture is about food security, it's about farming as a business, it's about sustainable agriculture."
This is according to Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). Speaking at a climate-smart knowledge day, organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation at COP17 in Durban, Sibanda said 70 per cent of the world is fed by smallholder farmers. The majority of these are cultivating rain-fed land.
"How does one expect these farmers to apply climate-smart agriculture if you do not assist them with modern-day amenities such as access to the information, improved seeds and affordable fertilisers?
"For example, in Swaziland where farmers depend entirely on rain to irrigate crops, they normally plant by 11 November after the first rains. By 29 November the country still had no rain. In the same vein, farmers apply 10kg of fertiliser to a hectare of land - despite the scientific recommended minimum of 60kg. However, this is what they can afford.
"Organised agriculture needs to ensure that the providers of the world's food basket are informed, have access to appropriate technologies and are assisted to realise their vision of earning an honest income."
About youth involvement Sibanda says young people are mainly interested in upstream agriculture, such as processing, distribution and marketing, not in hands-on farming.
"Today we see many farmers older than 70 years. To them farming is a retirement job, not an occupation. This does not auger well for the modernisation of agriculture. We will only attract young people if we can convince them that agriculture is not for paupers but a high-tech occupation. By applying the triple F bottom line we can move closer to practical climate-smart agriculture," she says.
Close to a million died of weather related illnesses2011-12-01
More than 710 000 people died as a direct consequence of 14 000 extreme weather events, which resulted in estimated losses of about US$ 2.3 trillion during the period from 1991 to 2010.
According to the recently released Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index 2012, in 2010, the ranking of the most affected countries is led by Pakistan, Guatemala, Colombia, Russia and Honduras, with all of the ten most affected countries being developing countries in the low-income or lower-middle income country group.
Sven Harmeling, Team Leader International Climate Policy at the Germanwatch says this year´s analysis underlines that less developed countries are generally more affected than industrialised countries.
Harmeling says in the African region, indirect impacts like food scarcity as a consequence of droughts often cause the most severe consequences which cannot be considered with sufficient reliability in the data that provide the basis for the Climate Risk Index.
"Nearly 1 in 30 Africans were affected by drought in 2010 only, but also considerable flooding exposures and vulnerabilities highlight the need for African countries to embark much more expeditiously on a risk reduction paradigm," he says.
Almost 37 million people from the continent were affected in 2010 by these extreme weather event. "However, the problem is that these figures are much less than reliable and more difficult to determine than the number of deaths," Harmeling says.
According to Harmeling, the findings can be seen as a warning signal to be better prepared for a higher level of extreme weather events. "To be prepared for the future, we need to understand our past lectures. Unfortunately, the current inadequate promises of the world's governments to fight climate change will push our limits of preparing for disasters and adaptation. Durban's climate summit will also be decisive for necessary commitments made by all governments to reverse the global emissions trend."
The index says adding climate impacts, such as desertification and increased variability of extremes, means that adaptation must be of top priority for most African countries. "Since response capacity is the lowest in many of the African countries, which also have contributed almost nothing to the climate crisis, the support of this endeavour becomes a priority, yet obligation for the international community and developed countries in particular," the report says.
With regard to future climate change, the Climate Risk Index can serve as a warning signal indicating past vulnerability which may further increase in regions where extreme events will become more frequent or more severe through climate change. While some vulnerable developing countries are frequently hit by extreme events, there are also some where such disasters are a rarity.
The Global Climate Risk Index analyses the quantified impacts of extreme weather events both in terms of fatalities as well as economic losses. Harmeling says at the UN Climate Summit in Cancún in 2010, Parties to the UNFCCC agreed to establish a work programme on loss and damage from climate change impacts. "What is important to take into account is that addressing loss and damage is crucial because it recognises that the next 20 years of climate change impacts are locked in because of the emissions already accumulated in the atmosphere and their associated effects on global warming," he says.
- By Fidelis Zvomuya
Malawi encourages nongovernmental organisations to engage farmers in mitigating climate change2011-12-01
The Malawian Ministry of Agriculture has appealed to nongovernmental organisations to drive awareness campaign demonstrations on the ways to mitigate the effects of climate change on the production of small holder farmers.
Speaking in Durban at the Conference of Parties 17 (COP17), the Director of Land Resources Conservation Department, John Mussa said the effects of climate change are being felt and there is a need to scale up on mitigating factors.
Cop 17 is a United Nations meeting between more than 190 countries from all over the world to find solutions to the global threat of human-made climate change. The aim is to stop the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere getting to a level which would cause dangerous changes to the world climate.
"The best thing we can do for our smallholder farmers is to further encourage fellow extension workers and the nongovernmental organisations to hold demonstrations on the impacts of these practises that can assist the farmers in the adoption of the best practises that can withstand the harshest temperatures," he said.
A study conducted by GOAL in 2010 found that some districts in the southern part of the country like Nsanje are more prone to both dry spells and floods, a situation which makes life difficult for small holder farmers who make up make the majority of the district's population.
Mussa said the Malawian government, through climate-smart agriculture, is already implementing ways of mitigating climate change effects.
"Government is already encouraging smallholder farmers to mitigate the effects through the adoption of farm practises like conservation agriculture and agro forestry farming systems. Ever since these methods were introduced, farmers have been responding well and I think we are making progress. However, there is a need for nongovernmental organisations to further help in especially encouraging farmers to use hybrid and improved seeds as opposed to the local recycled seeds."
According to Mussa the population of Malawi is fast growing and this could hinder agricultural production as the land is continuously being further degraded.
"Malawi has about 13 million people. Land is becoming a constraint to agriculture production. We need to intensity agriculture production and apply modern-day farming methods," he said.
The Chief Executive Officer for the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, says if there is no agriculture work programme, then there is no deal.
"This year's agriculture and rural development day at COP 17 highlights and promotes the climate-smart agriculture agenda.
"Currently agriculture is on the side lines of UNFCCC negotiating text, so the goal of the Agriculture and Rural Development Day is to ensure that the agriculture sector is elevated and considered as a priority sector in the negotiations. We are saying no agriculture work programme, no deal.
"Climate change and food security are central to social, economic and the environmental agenda and this calls for collective action from multiple actors that include relevant government industries and research community development agencies, the private sector and the farmers.
"Appropriate policy frameworks are required to address the challenges on increasing small holder farmer productivity, building resilience and helping farmers adapt to climate change mitigations," she said.
- By Paida Mpaso
Rooted in agriculture2011-12-01
Pieter Mulder certainly has agriculture running in his veins - his grandfather headed the Agricultural College in Potchefstroom and his father hails from Cedara, an area in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa that is rooted in agriculture (no pun intended!).
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries opened the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Climate Smart Knowledge Day at COP17 in Durban. It was appropriate that his talk was titled 'A call to action on climate-smart agriculture'.
When asked about South Africa and, more specifically, about the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its standpoint on climate-smart agriculture, he indicated that South Africa is taking steps to address the issue and that COP17 would assist in raising the level of awareness. But he is convinced that South Africa can do a lot more. He was optimistic that a deal for agriculture will be imminent. The first step in ensuring that South Africa is in sync with the rest of Africa was when his department arranged a meeting of African Ministers to brainstorm climate-smart agriculture issues in September 2011. He describes this as a step in the right direction.
The deputy minister's roots as a communication professional became apparent when he outlined how key messages on, especially climate-smart agriculture, was communicated to key stakeholders. He was confident that South Africa's green policy and the Planning Commission's strategy would be key communication initiatives from a departmental perspective.
When it comes to South Africa and the agriculture sector, it must be the deep agricultural heritage that prompted Mulder to say that matters of food security and poverty alleviation were close to his heart and that he was committed to making a difference and ensuring that South Africa continues to grow in terms of commercial agriculture and to also feed southern Africa – in spite of commercial farmers shrinking from 100 000 to 40 000!
The buzzword is emissions and Mulder is convinced that South Africa will meet its emission targets set in Copenhagen at COP15. However, he expressed the hope that the industrialised big players like China will also take steps to reduce emissions.
The Road to COP17: WBI Global Dialogue Series on Climate Change2011-10-27
This is the Facilitator's summary of the Global Dialogue Series on Climate Change, prepared by Dr Crispian Olver, Director, Linkd, and Facilitator of all GDLN sessions during the series.
In the build up to the 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17), the World Bank Institute organised a global dialogue series on topical climate change issues. Linkd Environmental Services facilitated the dialogues and provided technical support. Our goal was to encourage reflection and knowledge sharing between practitioners from developed and developing countries on key topics with relevance to discussions at COP17. Five round-tables were structured around the topics of climate resilient cities; adaptation, and food security; climate finance; scaling up mitigation actions in cities; and human resources and technology for climate change.
Agriculture and Climate Change: Beyond Copenhagen2010-04-29
Agriculture has a unique place in human development. It will be seriously afftected by climate change. Adapting agriculture is critical to food security and the nutrition of the world’s population. As a major source of greenhouse gases, agriculture also carries substantial potential for mitigation.
In 2009, Platform members and partners worked to enhance understanding of the relation between agriculture, climate change, food security and development. In 2010 they will continue their contribution to the climate change debate.
South Africa Talks Climate2010-03-31
What do people think about climate change in South Africa? Can communication and media strategies be tailored to support South Africa's response to climate change?
Between August and October 2009, the BBC World Service Trust conducted research in South Africa to gauge public understanding of climate change.
The research consisted of 16 focus group discussions with South African citizens, as well as 18 in-depth interviews with opinion leaders from government, religious institutions, the private sector, the media and civil society.
Many South Africans do not see climate change as having any special relevance to South Africa or the rest of the African continent. however, when prompted to think about the impacts of climate change locally, they link it to national issues which they are already concerned about, such as the loss of wildlife and increased flooding.
Many South Africans use climate change as an umbrella term to refer to the destruction occurring in their natural surroundings, with changes in the weather and seasons forming part of the broader environmental changes people have observed over the course of their lifetimes.
Most South Africans tend to view climate change as a ‘green’ issue that only the wealthy can afford to worry about. they are less aware of the potentially far-reaching social and economic consequences of climate change on South Africa, in terms of migration, food export revenues, and tourism.
Despite recognising South Africa’s contribution to climate change, citizens express reluctance to moderate their lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions, especially as they see little government or private sector leadership on the issue. South Africans say that they do not want to sacrifice things important to them (cars or electricity, for example) unless the government reassures them that their actions can have a real impact.
South Africans tend to view the destruction of the environment as an inevitable consequence of their country’s development.
Opinion leaders believe that, while many South Africans are aware of climate change, they see it as a remote threat and are yet to realise the dramatic impact it could have on their livelihoods in the future.
There is a feeling amongst the public that, politically and individually, South Africa lacks the will to tackle climate change in a cohesive and committed manner. South Africans believe that issues like HIV and AIDS dominate both government and NGO agendas, to the detriment of environmental issues.
South Africans frequently mention recycling as a viable way to tackle climate change and environmental degradation. however, many are unclear how recycling links to climate change and often cite personal and systemic barriers to recycling (lack of time or lack of recycling facilities, for example).
Supporting African Participation in the ICID 2010 Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi Arid regions2010-03-29
There will be two categories of applicants:
Have your say on Green Growth2010-03-19
The OECD’s Green Growth Strategy team is setting up a protected website to gather views and inputs from a wide range of stakeholders. This initiative is part of the OECD’s broader efforts to promote an informed dialogue and enhance cooperation on key green growth issues. Country delegates, including non-OECD members, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders can participate in online discussion, collaboration and information sharing, as well as comment on the first draft of the Green Growth Strategy interim report (to be posted on this website in mid-March).
To join this online community, please send the OECD Green Growth Strategy team (email@example.com) your title (Mr/Miss/Ms/Mrs), last name, first name and e-mail address.
For more information on the OECD’s work on Green Growth: www.oecd.org/greengrowth
Cities in a Post-2012 Climate Policy Framework: Climate Financing for City Development? Views from Local Governments, Experts, and Businesses2010-03-16
This study investigates how suitable the international climate financing architecture is for cities and local governments in the developing world by integrating views from senior City Decision Makers, International Climate and Urban Experts, and International Business Representatives. The report discusses city level greenhouse gas inventories andt provides an interesting account of the position of local governments in the international climate negotiations.
The study was prepared by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, with the support of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the sector project 'Policy Advisory Services for Urban and Municipal Development' of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ).
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Micro-level practices to adapt to climate change for African small-scale farmers2010-02-23
This paper discusses micro-level practices for adapting to climate change that are available to small-scale farmers in Africa. The analysis is based on a review of 17 studies about practices that boost small-scale farmers’ resilience or reduce their vulnerability to observed or expected changes in climate; it includes data from more than 16 countries in Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The review shows that African smallholders are already using a wide variety of creative practices to deal with climate risks; these can be further adjusted to the challenge of climate change by planned adaptation programs.
We found 104 different practices relevant to climate change adaptation and organized them in five categories: farm management and technology; farm financial management; diversification on and beyond the farm; government interventions in infrastructure, health, and risk reduction; and knowledge management, networks, and governance. We conclude that adaptation policies should complement farmers’ autonomous response to climate change through the development of new drought-resistant varieties and improved weather forecasts, the provision of financial services, improvement of rural transportation infrastructure, investments in public healthcare and public welfare programs, and policies that improve local governance and coordinate donor activities.
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Second Pre-AMCEN African Civil Society Consultative Workshop2009-10-22
The African civil society working on climate change on the platform of PACJA, an alliance of civil society organizations operating in 43 countries across Africa, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 19 - 20 October 2009 at the second Pre-AMCEN Civil Society Organisations Climate Equity consultative workshop.
Recognizing that the consolidation of the negotiation texts has reached a critical stage, the group present at the meeting reaffirm its support for the African common position on climate change and call upon the High Level Experts Climate Change Negotiators from Africa to consider the following issues:
Future of the Kyoto Protocol
Attempts to undermine unity of the G77 and China/African Group
Distortion of responsibilities of parties under the Kyoto Protocol
Support and Solidarity
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Political Statement2009-10-22
Statement to the Second Meeting of the African High Level Expert Panel on Climate Change, 21 - 23 October 2009, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Augustine Njamnishi, PACJA Representative, Central Africa
Up-coming Carbon Markets Conferences2009-09-01
FANRPAN 2009 Regional Policy Dialogue and Annual General Meeting2009-08-31
Maputo, 31 August 2009 - 4 September 2009
Theme: True Contribution of Agriculture to Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Southern African countries
Pocket guide to the Copenhagen Climate Treaty (WWF)2009-06-22
The world’s financial and climate crises have a common cause: living beyond our means. The world is running up huge ecological debts, just as it has run up huge financial debts. Neither is sustainable. Our leaders cannot successfully put capitalism back together again without at the same time fixing the greatest single consequence of unsustainability – climate change.
The links between finance and climate are not always obvious because of the way the world’s economy is accounted. Nature, our most fundamental capital asset, does not appear on company balance sheets or in most national economic data. So its depreciation goes unnoticed. Nobody is called to account for the fact that we are spending our natural capital like there is no tomorrow.
When the financial system crashed, some countries bailed it out by printing money. When the planet’s life support systems are trashed, no such solution is available. We CANNOT make another planet.
By filling the atmosphere with the gases that cause climate change we are undermining the planet’s basic life support system. As the former World Bank chief economist, Lord Stern, argued in his influential report on the economics of climate change in 2006, the failure to put a price on those emissions is "the greatest market failure the world has seen".
But fixing that failure is a great enterprise. Our economic system – our civilization – is only possible if the basic resources of the atmosphere, oceans, forests and soils, and fundamental processes like the climate system and its carbon and hydrological cycles, remain intact. To make economics and ecology into enemies is to doom both. But to reconcile them is to open up the possibility of a richer, more sustainable, more profitable and fairer world.
Yet, while politicians have spent recent months throwing trillions of dollars at a solution to the financial crisis, they have yet to truly address the still more serious crisis of a crashing climate system. The chance to make good that mistake comes in Copenhagen in December this year, when the world comes together with the intention of setting rules for controlling the gases that are creating that crisis and deciding how to deal with the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
Assunto: Candidaturas: Observadores da Sociedade Civil para CIFs2009-06-22
Information in connection with the above, received from The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is appended hereunder. The relevant details are provided on the document.
The application form is also attached.
Issued by Nelson Moodley, on behalf of Professor Cheryl Potgieter, University Dean of Research
Special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) on climate change2009-05-25
The twelfth session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), held in Johannesburg in June 2008 focused its attention on climate change. A ministerial policy dialogue underscored the importance of the decision and outcomes of the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007, in particular the agreement on the Bali Action Plan, which set 2009 as the end date for negotiations on strengthening the climate regime beyond 2012. Representatives also noted that Africa had a shared vision on adaptation and mitigation, using sustainable development policies and measures approach, supported and enabled by finance, technology and capacity-building. It was agreed that Africa must speak with one voice in advancing the continent’s interests in negotiations for the climate regime beyond 2012.
"A Copenhagen Deal Without Agriculture Is No Global Deal"2009-05-08
17th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17) Chairperson Hon. Minister Gerda Verburg endorses AFOLU
The 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) opened on Monday morning, 4 May 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates adopted the agenda and began discussing the thematic cluster for which they will negotiate policy options: Africa, desertification, drought, agriculture, land and rural development.
Opening the meeting, Gerda Verburg, CSD 17 Chair and Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Netherlands, said agriculture must be included in climate change negotiations if fundamental mitigation and adaptation goals are to be met. She noted that biofuels are only a limited part of the solution towards sustainability, and highlighted that negotiations should be guided by the principle that we are here to play a role in "making poverty history."
TerrAfrica Climate Brief No. 1 - Sustainable Land Managment in Africa: Opportunities for climate change adaptation2009-04-30
Climate change is a threat to livelihood security in Africa
Climate change will exacerbate existing vulnerabilities to land degradation, floods and drought in Africa and will challenge farmers to make major changes in farming systems.
TerrAfrica Climate Brief No. 2 - Sustainable Land Managment in Africa: Opportunities for increasing agricultural productivity and greenhouse gas mitigation2009-04-30
Land degradation and land use change are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Africa
Soil and vegetation on the earth’s land surface store three times the carbon present in the Earth’s atmosphere. Landclearing and degradation turn this valuable carbon sink into a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As land continues to degrade, livelihood options for at least 485 million Africans also dwindle with it.
TerrAfrica Note d’information sur le climat no 1 - La Gestion Durable des Terres en Afrique2009-04-30
Le changement climatique constitue une menace pour les modes de subsistance en Afrique
Dans les années à venir, le changement climatique accentuera l’exposition aux risques de dégradation des terres, d’inondation et de sécheresse à travers l’Afrique, et les agriculteurs auront plus de peine à opérer des changements structurels dans leurs systèmes d’exploitation.
TerrAfrica Note d’information sur le climat no 2 - La Gestion Durable des Terres en Afrique2009-04-30
La dégradation et le changement d’aff ectation des terres constituent les sources principales d’émissions de gaz à eff et de serre en Afrique
Les sols et la végétation conservent trois fois le volume de carbone présent dans l’atmosphère de notre planète. Le défrichage et la dégradation sont tels que ces importants puits de carbone se transforment en une source majeure d’émissions de gaz à eff et de serre. Avec la dégradation continue des terres, les choix qui s’off rent à plus de 485 millions d’Africains pour assurer leur subsistance diminuent aussi.
TerrAfrica - Land and Climate: The Role of Sustainable Land Management for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Sub-Saharan Africa2009-04-30
Climate change and land degradation are major threats to the survival and livelihoods of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Major new opportunities exist to help improve the livelihoods of African smallholder farmers, pastoralists, and other resource users while mitigating emissions of greenhouse gases, reducing land degradation, and addressing other environmental problems in the context of the current negotiations to develop a post-Kyoto climate change framework, and international, national, and local efforts to promote sustainable land management (SLM) and conserve biodiversity.
This issue paper is an executive summary of a larger document with the same title. It seeks to help address these threats and achieve the potential of these opportunities by informing policy makers, development practitioners, and others concerned about these issues about the linkages between climate change and SLM, the opportunities and constraints to promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation through SLM, and the policy and institutional options to overcome the constraints and realize the opportunities that are now or are becoming available.
TerrAfrica - Climat and Gestion des Terres: Le rôle de la gestion durable des terres dans l’adaptation au changement climatique et la réduction des émissions en Afrique sub-saharienne2009-04-30
Le changement climatique et la dégradation des terres constituent de très fortes menaces pour la survie de millions de personnes en Afrique sub-saharienne. Pourtant, il est d’ores et déjà réellement possible de contribuer à améliorer les conditions de vie des petits exploitants agricoles africains, éleveurs de bétail et autres utilisateurs de ressources naturelles tout en atténuant l’émission de gaz à effet de serre, en réduisant la dégradation des terres et en s’efforçant de corriger les impacts des changements et variations climatiques dans le cadre d’interventions locales, nationales et internationales.
Le présent document prend en compte ces menaces et suggère des exemples d’actions destinées à informer les décideurs, les praticiens du développement et autres parties prenantes sur les liens existant entre le changement climatique et la gestion durable des terres (GDT), sur les perspectives et contraintes inhérentes à la promotion de l’atténuation des impacts du changement climatique au moyen de la GDT, ainsi que sur les options politiques et institutionnelles disponibles pour surmonter les obstacles et concrétiser les potentialités actuelles.
Municipal Responses to Climate Change in South Africa2009-04-30
This study assesses the extent of progress made in institutionalising climate change policy responses within three metropolitan municipalities in South Africa – Cape Town, eThekwini (Durban) and Johannesburg. By focusing on the progress in some of South Africa’s largest metropolitan areas on the issue of climate change policy development and implementation, the study serves to highlight South Africa’s readiness and capacity at local government level to deal with climate change and related environmental problems.
Many countries in different parts of the African continent are facing urgent environmental threats to their economies due to the phenomenon of climate change. South Africa, despite its relative wealth and greater endowment of financial resources and infrastructure, also faces similar problems and threats to its economy. It is acknowledged in South Africa that climate change poses a range of human, environmental and economic security challenges that call for decisive and coordinated action by government. To this end, and in keeping with Goldblatt and Middleton’s (2007) observation, the formulation of effective climate change responses requires ‘multi-level governance’ structures that span the entirety of the policy process. From the design of policy tools and interventions to their actual implementation, such a multi-level governance agenda must necessarily include the elaboration of these and other climate change interventions at local level as well; that is, at the level of municipal decision-making and responses to climate change. This paper therefore reports on the findings of a short study conducted on the level of progress made by the South African government in terms of policies, programmes and strategies put in place to address the challenges posed by climate change. Specifically, the aim of this paper is to assess the extent to which climate change has been adopted as a priority policy issue within local government and how far local authorities have gone in implementing mitigation and adaptation strategies in this regard.
Report of Climate Change Round Table - Zimbabwe2009-04-15
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing mankind today. Science has clearly demonstrated that there is extreme urgency in taking real action to avoid irreversible damages to our planet. Reports of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) state that Africa will suffer the most from the impacts of climate change. The serious under-development of the continent signifies high vulnerability to climate change impacts.
The global nature of climate change requires the widest cooperation and participation in an effective and appropriate international response comprising mitigation and adaptation measures based on the principles of the Convention. Irrespective of a country’s contributions to the problem we shall all be affected and must therefore act now to combat climate change. The international community, in the spirit of the United Nations Charter and strong believe in multilateralism, has responded by adopting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC provides an international framework for mitigating the cause of climate change and its effects at both international and national level. Indeed it commits countries to integrate climate change issues into their national planning process, sub regional or regional programmes. Climate change is a global problem that requires solutions at both global and local scales.
Scholarship opportunities: Graduate Study in Environmental Management & Development, and Climate Change2009-04-01
The Australian National University (ANU) is the leading university in Australia and it has been ranked among the top twenty in the world. There are a number of scholarship opportunities for students from a range of African nations who are eligible to apply for study at the Master’s level in the Environmental Management and Development program and the Climate Change program.
Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change2009-03-27
The Parties to this Protocol,
Being Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”,
In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2,
Recalling the provisions of the Convention,
Being guided by Article 3 of the Convention,
Pursuant to the Berlin Mandate adopted by decision 1/CP.1 of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention at its first session,
Have agreed as follows...
Climate Risk Management and Adaptation Strategy2009-03-13
Climate change poses serious threats to sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, the quality of life, and political stability in the world. According to the IPCC, Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change and climate variability; and the situation is aggravated by the interaction of multiple stresses occurring at various levels, compounded by low adaptive capacity. Climate change experts project that all sub-regions of the continent will experience a temperature rise very likely larger than the global mean annual warming. At the same time, most parts of the continent are expected to experience reduced average annual rainfall and increased aridity and droughts. The combination of reduced rainfall and hotter temperatures is expected to result in a net drying and increased aridity for a greater proportion of the continent. It is important to note that all African countries are likely to be drastically affected by climate change. In the light of this mounting evidence, the Heads of State and Government of the G8 States, at their Gleneagles Summit in July 2005, called upon the World Bank and Regional Development Banks (RDBs) to prepare specific proposals on challenges related to climate change and poverty reduction.
The present Bank strategy on Climate Risk Management and Adaptation is based on lessons learnt, as well as several regional stakeholder consultation forums and the recommendations of the President’s Working Group on Climate Change. The overall goal of the Bank’s Climate Risk Management and Adaptation Strategy (CRMA) is to ensure progress towards eradication of poverty and contribute to sustainable improvement in people’s livelihoods taking into account CRMA. The specific objectives are: (i) To reduce vulnerability within the RMCs to climate variability and promote climate resilience in past and future Bank-financed development investments making them more effective; (ii) To build capacity and knowledge within the RMCs to address the challenges of climate change and ensure sustainability through policy and regulatory reforms.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD): An Options Assessment Report2009-03-01
The Bali Road Map should lead to a Copenhagen agreement that commits to climate stabilization at a maximum 2°C temperature increase, consistent with atmospheric CO2 concentrations below 450 parts per million (ppm). Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) will address a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions larger than the entire global transportation sector. Without REDD, the 2°C climate stabilization goal will not be reached.
This report assesses several important considerations for a future REDD mechanism within the UNFCCC, and strives to clarify and inform some of the critical choices that will need to be made about including REDD in a Copenhagen agreement. 1 At the international level, a good outcome for REDD would create the enabling conditions for effective implementation in REDD countries, including:
Agriculture and Climate Change: An agenda for negotiation in Copenhagen2009-03-01
If fundamental climate change mitigation and adaptation goals are to be met, international climate negotiations must include agriculture. Agriculture and climate change are linked in important ways, and this brief focuses on three: (1) climate change will have large effects on agriculture, but precisely where and how much are uncertain, (2) agriculture can help mitigate climate change, and (3) poor farmers will need help adapting to climate change. As negotiations get underway in advance of the meeting of the 15th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December 2009, this brief suggests negotiating outcomes for both mitigation and adaptation funding that will support climate change goals while enhancing the well-being of people who manage and depend on agriculture, especially in the developing world.
Climate change will affect agriculture, but it is uncertain where and how much
Climate change will have dramatic consequences for agriculture. Water sources will become more variable, droughts and floods will stress agricultural systems, some coastal food-producing areas will be inundated by the seas, and food production will fall in some places in the interior. Developing economies and the poorest of the poor likely will be hardest hit. Overall, however, substantial uncertainty remains about where the effects will be greatest.
Agricultural outcomes are determined by complex interactions among people, policies, and nature. Crops and animals are affected by changes in temperature and precipitation, but they are also influenced by human investments such as irrigation systems, transportation infrastructure, and animal shelters. Given the uncertainties about where climate change will take place and how farmers will respond, much is still unknown about the effects of climate change on agricultural production, consumption, and human well-being, making it difficult to move forward on policies to combat the effects of climate change.
FANRPAN participates at the United Nations CSD-17 Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting2009-02-24
Statement by the Scientific and Technological Community at the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD-17)
Presented by Lindiwe Majele Sibanda on 24 February 2009.
Climate Change, Development and Energy problems in South Africa2009-02-01
In climate terms, South Africa is already living on the edge. Much of it is arid or semi-arid and the whole country is subject to droughts and floods. Even small variations in rainfall or temperatures would exacerbate this already stressed environment. Most South African crops are grown in areas that are only just climatically suitable and with limited water supplies.
But that climate is set to change for the worse because of rising global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Indeed, there are already ominous signs of change – that dry seasons are becoming longer and wet seasons starting later. Rainfall is reported to be becoming even more variable, with rain coming in more concentrated, violent bursts. When the Government of South Africa used internationally agreed scientific computer models to explore the potential impacts of climate change on South Africa over the next 50 years, it predicted:
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat releases Assembly Document2009-01-27
The UNFCCC Secretariat has released the revised "Assembly Document", containing the ideas and proposals presented by parties and accredited observer organisations on the elements contained in paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan (BAP), received by 6 December 2008.
The Assembly Document consists of five chapters on the five elements of the BAP, namely on:
Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping South East Asia2009-01-01
The United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007 acknowledged, among other things, the need for enhanced action on adaptation and the provision of financial resources for it. This, in turn, implies the need for financial and technology transfer from the rich to the poor countries. In general, most developing countries in Asia have the least capacity to adapt to climate change and are therefore in need of whatever external support they can get to build their capacity (Francisco 2008).
As the long history of international climate change agreements tells us, resource transfers from rich to poor countries not only require a common and shared vision among the countries, but also involve long and complex political processes. Acknowledging the fact that in a resource-constrained world, there is a benefit and cost to every action, it is then essential for the resources available to be well targeted to the people who need them the most; those located in the areas most vulnerable to climate change.
The identification and characterization of the vulnerable communities and sectors were identified as priority concerns by the participants of the EEPSEA Climate Change Adaptation Conference held in Bali in February 2008. Identification of the most vulnerable groups by way of determining the most vulnerable regions within countries and in Southeast Asia as a whole is thus an urgent task for development agencies. This paper addresses this need.
Double Jeopardy: What the Climate Crisis Means for the Poor2009-01-01
From August 1 to 3, 2008, more than fifty preeminent policymakers, practitioners, and thought leaders from around the world convened at the Aspen Institute to explore the links between global climate change and poverty alleviation. Starting from the premise that climate solutions must empower the poor by improving livelihoods, health, and well-being, and that poverty alleviation itself must become a central strategy for both mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and reducing vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change, the roundtable sought to shape a common agenda to tackle two of the greatest challenges of our time.
The roundtable was hosted by Richard C. Blum and the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development Program, with the support of honorary co-chairs Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute and Mary Robinson of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative. Previous roundtables have focused on America’s role in the fight against global poverty (2004); the private sector’s role in international development (2005); poverty, insecurity, and conflict (2006); and international development’s changing landscape (2007). Reports from those expert gatherings are available at http://www.brookings.edu/global/Brookings-Blum-Roundtable.aspx.
Roundtable participants offered a wide range of individual and institutional expertise, as global policy negotiators, technologists, financial leaders, social entrepreneurs, health and humanitarian experts, and climate science pioneers. Rather than summarizing the conference proceedings, this essay—like those from previous years—attempts to weave together the informed exchanges, varied perspectives, fresh insights, and innovative proposals that emerged during the three-day discussion. A companion volume—Climate Change and Global Poverty: A Billion Lives in the Balance? (Brookings Institution Press, forthcoming)—contains chapters by experts that provide in-depth analysis of the topics addressed in Aspen.
Launching the Africa Bio-Carbon Initiative2008-12-10
Highlights from the Official Side Event at CoP-14, Poznan, Poland
The Africa Bio-Carbon Initiative was launched on the 10th of December in Poznan at the 14th Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol by a grouping of 26 African countries in East and Southern Africa. The Initiative advocates for a broader eligibility for bio-carbon in the Kyoto and related regional and national frameworks for climate change. This objective will contribute to the overarching goal of increasing the benefits for sustainable agriculture and land-use practices, biodiversity conservation, maintenance of environmental services, successful adaptation to climate change, and improvements in rural livelihoods, in addition to the delivery of cost-effective and verifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Eastern and Southern Africa and beyond.
COMESA-FANRPAN Launch the Africa-wide Civil Society Climate Change Initiative for Policy Dialogues (ACCID)2008-11-26
The inaugural ACCID Regional workshop was held on 26-27 November 2008, at the Farm Inn, Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop was attended by 21 representatives from 14 selected civil society organisations which have both national and regional mandates in terms of membership and representation.
HIV/AIDS Mortality and the Role of Woodland Resources in the Maintenance of Household Food Security in a Rural District of South Africa2008-11-01
This study examined food security among HIV/AIDS-impacted households (compared to non-HIV/AIDS-impacted households) in rural South Africa, with a particular focus on the role of savanna woodland resources (e.g. wild foods) in shaping household resilience following the death of a prime-age adult. The study was conducted in the Agincourt health and demographic surveillance site in the rural north-east of South Africa. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 290 rural households in May and June 2006. Households were stratified by their experience of an HIV-related death of a prime-age adult in the previous two years as follows: HIV death (n=109), quick non-HIV death (n=71) and no adult death (control) (n=110). Experience of a mortality, as well as household socio-demographic data, were provided by the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System which is run by the University of the Witwatersrand/Medical Research Council’s Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt Unit).
A survey questionnaire was used to quantify household food security, livelihoods, use of woodland resources, and impacts of the experience of an adult death on the household. Food security was assessed in terms dietary diversity, experience of hunger, short-term coping strategies, and longer term adaptive strategies. Survey interviews were conducted in the local language by experienced local fieldworkers from the Agincourt Unit. Detailed qualitative interviews were also conducted by the researchers, with assistance from local interpreters, in 17 mortality-impacted households. Satellite imagery was used to quantify woodland cover around each of the study villages.
COMESA Climate Initiative2008-06-23
COMESA Carbon Finance Workshop 23rd to 24th June 2008 in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa.
The Secretariat for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in collaboration with its partners, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Michigan State University (MSU), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR, and World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Food, Agricultural, Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and Africa Practice convened a Carbon Finance workshop from the 23rd to 24th June 2008 in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa.
The workshop was convened under broader COMESA wide approach and program on Climate Change within the context of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Environmental Action Plan of NEPAD.
The main objective of the meeting was to explore the feasibility of setting up a Carbon facility that will enable Africa to participate in Carbon market. The meeting was attended by government representatives from COMESA member States. In addition, representatives of WWF, CIFOR, IFC, PTA Bank, NEPAD, SADC, UNDP, TFC UK, DANIDA, Clinton Foundation, Genesis Analytics, Global Mechanism, Global Ventage, IIED, Terra Global Capital, ICRAF, Global Environment Fund, CARE International, South Pole Carbon Management, Eco security, EnviroTrade, GTZ Madagascar and Hichens Harrison.
Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary General ad interim of COMESA officially opened the meeting. He underscored the importance of COMESA’s role and the need to bring all the other Regional Economic communities on board in the Climate negotiations "COMESA region and Africa in General should immediately find space and participate fully in the Global Climate Change negotiations with a unified position", noted Mr Ngwenya. He urged the meeting to follow up with another workshop but a concrete action plan which should include the framework of the fund, policy reform and advocacy strategy and pilot project on how the region should proceed with the establishment of the Africa Carbon Facility. COMESA would like to table the out puts of this meeting at the forth coming COMESA –EAC – SADC tripartite Summit.
Dr Lindiwe Sibanda , CEO of FANRPAN , in her presentation she noted that local communities and indeed government need to see tangible benefits of participating in the carbon fund. For this to happen there is need for credible evidence that will detail the players and benefits in the whole value chain. There is also need to make sure that land policies are addressed and governments creates an enabling environment.
Private investors called for COMESA to take a leading role in raising the African voice in the UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP) negotiations to ensure the Africa’s carbon stocks are fully incorporated (Agriculture, forestry, Aforestation). They called for strengthening of Africa’s platforms for policy dialogues.
that Agriculture and support the development of necessary institutions and policies, the integration of sustainable agricultural and land-use practices into agricultural development strategies in Africa.
The COMESA Climate initiative will address climate, agriculture, conservation, and livelihoods through building knowledge and capacity and through place-based efforts in selected countries of Eastern and Southern Africa and as well as to help the member states to COMESA up with a Common position during the Conference of Parties.
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