New data contained in the report are frightening: progress in prevention and treatment has been faltering, resources have been shrinking and inequalities have been on the rise.

Inequalities in service provision hinder fight against HIV

By Christine Ochogo I christawine@gmail.com

New data contained in the report are frightening: progress in prevention and treatment has been faltering, resources have been shrinking and inequalities have been on the rise.

Inequalities in accessing HIV services remain a major setback in the fight against the epidemic, says a new report by UNAIDS.

In the report called In Danger: UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022, Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director, pointed out that the world will not defeat HIV if men continue to hold power and women are largely excluded from it.

‘This is what we call patriarchy while dealing with HIV,’ she explained.

Mrs Byanyima vouched for addressing the intersecting inequalities being faced by women, key populations and inequalities between children and adults.

Ms Adele Baleta, a media health trainer, while addressing a virtual cross border media café that brought journalists and experts from Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe together urged journalists to focus on these key populations to address the discriminatory issue they face in accessing essential HIV services.

“Why are sex workers unable to access PrEP and why is it that only 52% of children have access to Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART)?” Adele asked the health journalists on December 9, 2022.

According to the UNAIDS report that was released during the 2022 World AIDS Day, key populations – sex workers and their clients, gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender people and their sexual partners accounted for 70% of new HIV infections globally in 2021.

Adele reminded journalists of the importance of increasing awareness on HIV to help decrease stigma that has affected mostly adolescents, key populations and young people living with HIV as they still face stigma when they seek sexual health services.

“Stigma has added depression and isolation among people living with HIV (PLWHIV) and this has negative impact on health outcomes,” added Adele.

Catherine Mwauyakufa, a health journalist from Zimbabwe appealed to journalists to continuously highlight success stories on HIV rather than focus on challenges. This, she said will encourage PLWHIV to adhere to HIV treatment and continue living positively.

Dr Thierno

WHO ISSUES ALERT ON POSSIBLE SURGE OF COVID CASES

BY ANYANGO OCHIENG

sciencewriter2021@gmail.com

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an alert on a possible surge of Covid-19 infections amid the festive season.

The alert comes following a recent report of an increase of Covid-19 cases in parts of Africa.

Speaking during a virtual media briefing, the WHO Incident Manager Africa Regional Office Dr Balde’ Thierno said that a number of countries have already reported an increasing number of cases although the rate of hospitalizations is still low.

“It is important to maintain a certain level of vigilance, because, usually all cases of the viral disease would surge amid the festive seasons, between the months of May to July and November through December to January,” said Dr Thierno.

Dr Thierno said that similar trends had been seen in 2020 characterized by end year surges of cases and deaths.

The main drivers of the surges as explained by the expert have been the emergence of other SARS-CoV-2 variants.

“The increasing cases of Covid 19 and other respiratory diseases in parts of the world should be a cause of concern, it is during this period last year that the Omicron variant was also reported although with less severe impacts,” said Dr Thierno.

According to the WHO data as of December 9,2022, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Botswana, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Angola have recorded a total of 143 deaths due to Covid-19 within the last two weeks accounting to 85 percent of fatalities.

South Africa leads at 122 deaths followed by Zimbabwe at six while Angola closes the list with only one death.

The data also revealed that Kenya is among the countries with a higher number of hospitalizations within the past two weeks.

As of December fourth, the number of hospitalizations in Kenya remained steady at 24 patients.

“The general hospital occupancy in the Intensive Care Unit in Mauritius had risen but remained low at 5.2 percent and 1.5 percent,” said Dr Thierno adding that in South Africa, the hospital admissions had fallen steadily for the past three weeks with a backlog of deaths reported.

In DRC and Madagascar, the number of patients in hospital were nine and two respectively while Burundi and Ethiopia did not report any new hospitalizations.

The global organization is now calling for increased sensitization and awareness on the vaccines to increase the uptake while the high risk persons should also be advised to wear masks.

Dr Thierno said that apart from building one’s immunity, the vaccine also plays an important role of limiting the circulation of the virus within the community and in turn protecting the vulnerable.

He said adding that “the more the virus circulates, the more the chances of the virus mutating with fears that it may escape the available vaccines,”.

Since the onset of the pandemic, 643,875,406 cases of Covid have been reported globally with 6,630,082 while Africa has recorded 9,415,892 cases of the infection.

Victor Orindi, head of Adaptation Consortium

Kenyan outfit wins adaptation awards at COP27

By Ruth Keah I rkeahkadide@gmail.com

Victor Orindi, head of Adaptation Consortium

As curtains closed on COP27 at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Adaptation Consortium, a Kenyan organisation emerged among winners of the Local Adaptation Champions Awards, organised by the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA).

The awards recognise locally led efforts to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change across four categories: financial governance, inclusive leadership, capacity and knowledge, and local innovation.

Adaptation Consortium, led by Victor Orindi, was awarded for its efforts in bringing together people with a shared vision of empowering the community in responding and adapting to climate change challenges.

Speaking to our reporter after receiving the award, in the financial governance category, Mr  Orindi said his initiatives were inspired after he noticed that climate finance was not easily accessible to everybody, especially the vulnerable communities.

 “We noticed that while a lot was happening in climate finance, it was not happening in a coordinated manner. Vulnerable communities were not able to access funds and we noticed a barrier in sustained funding streams; and that communities could not have a say in the work to be implemented,” he said.

“So, we started bringing people together towards a shared vision of empowering the community.”

Mr Orindi, who is the National Coordinator of the Adaptation Consortium, said the only way countries can successfully mitigate climate change is by making sure that all voices are heard.

“Responding and adapting to climate challenges largely depends on context; and the only way you can get that right is by ensuring that those who are impacted have a say in terms of how and where things are done. So, enabling them to be involved in planning process ensures that their voices count at the end of the day,” Orindi added.  

“The Adaptation Consortium supports communities to create, access, and use climate finance from varied sources to reduce their vulnerability to climate change, while strengthening public participation in the management and use of funds.

The Consortium has also designed a County Climate Change Fund to attract climate finance from public, private, local, and international sources, giving sub-national governments and communities a predictable and sustained source of finance for adaptation and resilience-building efforts.

Speaking during the awarding ceremony, Kenya’s Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya called on more partners to fund more adaptation interventions identified by Kenyans.

“The GCA awards are about inspiring and motivating innovative and potentially scalable interventions. As a country, we are already taking forward many of the good practices and lessons from Ada work through the government-led/World Bank-supported Financing Locally Led Climate Action (FLLoCA) programme, among others,” said Ms Tuya.

“We hope that more partners can join our national-level efforts to provide adequate resources to finance the priority adaptation interventions identified by our people.”

Prof Patrick Verkooijen, GCA Chief Executive Officer, said such innovations require support to be scaled up so as to achieve the required impact. 

“Our winners show that community-centric and locally led solutions to the climate crisis exist, but they require support and recognition to be scaled up, and to achieve the most impact,” he said.

“The GCA is working with international financial institutions and governments to introduce these best practices to bigger funding streams, while maintaining what is at the heart of these impactful solutions and of successful adaptation – local leadership.”

Each winner will receive €15,000 (Ksh1.8 million) in funds to further the work they are doing in the spirit of the locally led adaptation principles. They will also have access to a global network of change makers.

The final list of winners was picked from a shortlist of 20 finalists and included a diverse selection of organisations from Kenya, Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Additional reporting by Aghan Daniel in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

 

Mwajumbe Mwabedarusi, a  seaweed farmer drying seaweed at the innovative drying site. Photo credit, Tebby Otieno

Technology assists fisher folks avoid post-harvest fish spoilage

By Tebby Otieno tebbyotieno62@gmail.com and Ruth Keah rkeahkadide@gmail.com

Mwajumbe Mwabedarusi, a seaweed farmer drying seaweed at the innovative drying site. Photo credit, Tebby Otieno

A new fish preservation technological intervention is set to assist fisherfolk reduce the possibility of fish spoilage. Set up in Kwale County, the SolCoolDry system, which stands for Solar Cooling and Drying system, is an innovation that consists of a small cold room and an ice-making machine.

Dr Linus Kosambo of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), said a research assessment revealed a lot of post-harvest fish spoilage was due to poor handling, lack of equipment and a lack of ice to preserve fish. Hence the invention of solar-powered technology that can generate ice for 24 hours.

“The ice is to ensure quality handling of fish from the time it is caught in the deep seas to the time it is brought to the shore to the time it is delivered to the market and even on our tables,” Dr Kosambo said during an exclusive interview.

While the researchers had the option of setting up a cold room for fish storage before sale, they felt it was necessary to provide fish dealers with ice through the SolCoolDry system to transport to their fishing spots. They say the decision was reached after their findings showed that storage was not a major issue in the area due to high demand for fish.

“It is important to supply fish dealers with ice so they can maintain the quality of fish throughout the supply chain. This can also be used in supermarkets,” Dr Kosambo noted.

After observing difficulties during the rainy season, which coincided with high spoilage rate, the researchers came up with the drying component. The system has inbuilt thermal collectors and can dry fish even during the wet season when covered. The system can also be integrated for 24-hour drying.

“Most of fishermen are off-grid as the landing beaches don’t have power supply; therefore, even if they have the technology, they don’t have the power to plug in. We thought we should get 100 per cent off-grid system to help the fishermen do some basic good handling and preservation of fish,” he explained.

Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) initiated the SolCoolDry system, in collaboration with AgriF1, Institute of Solar Energy, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), and Technical University of Mombasa.

Hussein Hasan, 41, a member of the Mwazaro self-help group and a fisherman, hopes that the innovation will increase his sales by not limiting the number of hours he spends fishing. For example, without access to ice, he stops fishing at 9am so that he can supply fish to retailers before the temperature rise. A challenge, he says, has been solved with the availability of the SolCoolDry system.

“This ice helps me because I come here to buy it when I go fishing. When I catch fish, I put them in ice to keep them from spoiling,” he says.

Neema Abdallah, another member of the group, agrees with him. She says the SolCoolDry system aids her husband, a fisherman, who nearly lost all of the fish he caught one day.

“I recall my husband returning home one day with a total of five large fish, but because they had gone so long without ice, they were all spoilt,” she says.

Neema adds that each fish weighed about 5kg and would have fetched Sh250 in the market had they not gone bad. Instead of throwing them, they found an alternative in drying them first before selling at between Sh100 and Sh150 each. Neema says her husband has become a frequent visitor since the installation of the SolCoolDry system, stopping by to buy ice before heading to the ocean to fish.

‘This ice has aided a lot of fishermen here; we have not heard any complaints about their fish going bad recently. I can say that this project has benefited a lot of fishermen,’ she says.

The SolCoolDry system also looks forward to addressing barriers faced by women eking a living from the ocean including those engaged in seaweed farming. One of such farmer is Mwajumbe Mwabedarusi, who got into seaweed farming as an opportunity to make some money. She later learned of other women practicing the same farming and they formed a group.

While they make a living from seaweed farming, she admits that drying them has been difficult. It was until recently this challenges were reduced in the two months the SolCoolDry system has been in place, thanks to the project’s technological drying site.

“After we harvest the seaweed, we put them in a sack and transport them here to dry. Before, we used to spread mats at homes and dry them. When it rained we would have to remove, else they get destroyed,” says Mwajumbe.

The SolCoolDry system and the drying site are located at the Mwazaro in Kwale county because it is easily accessible to the community and researchers.

Meanwhile, another initiative has been reached in Kwale and Kilifi. Dubbed the, Blue Empowerment project and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the system aims to develop an innovative and integrated technological model that will allow women to grow seaweed and rear fish in a controlled set-up along the Indian Ocean shore.

“Right now, it is becoming worse for people in the Coastal region, especially those who depend on natural resources, because climate variability affects them more. They need a solution that can build their capacity to endure them, and that is what we are doing,” says Dr. Joel Onyango from the African Centre for Technology Studies and the project lead for the Blue Empowerment Project.

Blue Empowerment Project aims to address barriers fisher women in the Coastal region face through adaptation of climate-smart Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture technology.

Dr Kipkorir Langat, Principal Scientist, Kenya and Marine Fisheries Institute. He says that to include sea grasses and mangroves in carbon management is key in conservation

Locals in South Coast Kenya to benefit from the carbon market initiative

By Ruth Keah I rkeahkadide@gmail.com

Dr Kipkorir Langat, Principal Scientist, Kenya and Marine Fisheries Institute. He says that to include sea grasses and mangroves in carbon management is key in conservation

Explaining the scientific word carbon credit to locals in Gazi and Makongeni Villages in Kwale County, Kenya was a very difficult task to Othman Sadiki, the coordinator of the Mikoko Pamoja Project.

Mikoko is a Swahili word meaning mangrove, while Pamoja means together.

Mikoko Pamoja Project, located in Gazi Bay Kwale County in Kenya, is a small scale carbon offset facility that seeks to provide incentives for mangrove restoration and protection through conservation activities, awareness creation and the sale of mangrove carbon credits along the coastal strip of Kenya.

Sadiki said it was an uphill task because the community could not easily understand how they could get money from preserving the mangrove trees along the Indian Ocean.

‘The locals were at first very hesitant because they could not understand how they could benefit from planting and protecting the mangroves, but we kept on educating them and when they saw the benefits, they are now embracing it,’ he said.

The project generates income for the Gazi and Makongeni communities through the sale of carbon credits, which are created from the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions avoided by the project. The credits are then generated through what is referred to as PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services).  

Since its inception in 2014, Mikoko Pamoja Community Based Organisation through technical support from Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) has established new mangrove forests covering 10 hectares.

Sadiki says, they have sold more than 12,000 tons of carbon credits, which generated more than Ksh 6.2m (USD620,000).

‘32 percent of the payment goes to community projects, which helps them in improving their livelihoods,’ he said.

Sadiki adds that nearly 500 members of the community participate in the regular protection and planting of new mangroves. This intervention also creates job opportunities for the locals.

Sentiments echoed by Iddi Bomani, chairman of the project in Gazi village who reports that they have benefited from many community projects out of the carbon credit money.

‘We have bought books for our schools, built two classrooms, improved the health facilities in our hospitals and started a water project,’ he added.

‘Every rainy season we plant 4,000 mangrove trees and coupled with the fact that we have hired rangers to protect the area to help combat mangrove destruction, we are sure every year the money will be increasing,’ he said.

‘Carbon credit project is excellent for it has uplifted our living standards,’ he added.

The carbon credit sales drew attention to the just ended climate change summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt leading to the founding of Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI)  inaugurated at COP27. It aims to support growth of carbon credit production and create jobs in Africa.

Led by a thirteen-member steering committee of African leaders, chief executive officers, and carbon credit experts, the initiative aims to expand Africa’s participation in voluntary carbon markets. It was inaugurated in collaboration with The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, with support of the UN Climate Change High Level Champions, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and Nigel Topping.

‘Carbon markets offer an incredible opportunity to unlock billions for the climate finance needs of African economies while expanding energy access, creating jobs, protecting biodiversity, and driving climate action,’ said Mohieldin.

However, he noted that Africa currently produces a tiny percentage of its carbon credit potential. He said some of the ambitions is for the growth of African Voluntary Carbon markets to produce 300 million carbon credits annually by 2030, and 1.5 billion credits annually by 2050.

They also hope to unlock Kshs 6 billion (USD48.8m) in revenue by 2030 and over Kshs 120 billion (USD975.6m) by 2050. Further, they will support 30 million jobs by 2030 and over 110 million jobs by 2050 and distribute revenue equitably and transparently to local communities.

Steering committee member and Vice President, Africa at the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet Joseph Nganga called for everyone to contribute to this important effort.

“Sustaining the rapid growth of African carbon markets isn’t going to happen accidently; it’s going to require action by governments, developers, and buyers. Together, we can unlock billions for climate finance and economic development in Africa,” he said.

As the new Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), seeks to support the growth of carbon credit production, this has come as good news to locals in Tana Delta, Tana River County, Kenya.

The community has just started planting mangrove trees along the ocean with the aim of selling carbon credits. Madina Ware from Kikomo village in Tana Delta, lower Tana Conservancy said planting of mangrove has not only helped them to maintain peace among different communities living in Tana Delta, but has also benefited them through eco-tourism activities.

‘We have tourists who visit our beautiful ecosystem, we also have a well wisher who educates our children because of us planting mangroves,’ she said.

Mrs Ware says they came to learn of carbon credit selling through their conservation partners and are now planting more mangroves to meet the required standards.

Anuary Abae, an environmental activist from Semikaro village in Tana Delta is also a happy man. He is the chairman of Chara Community forest association. He says, they have been planting mangroves to mitigate climate change.

The good news, he says, is that in early January they will be signing agreement between the community, the Kenya Forest Service and the county government of Tana River on trading in carbon credit.

‘We started planting mangroves in April 2021. An assessment by the experts revealed that we surpassed the target, so we are now ready to start earning,’ he told Sayansi Magazine.

Abae said they have so far planted mangroves on a 400 ha out of the 7,000 ha along the Indian Ocean. He is optimistic that the money they will get from selling carbon credit will improve their livelihoods.

‘If we get the money it will benefit the community and will solve water problem and end conflicts which are normally associated with resources,’ he said.

Dr Kipkorir Langat is a principal scientist at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries

Research Institute. His areas of research include how communities can use mangrove and sea grass in mitigating climate change and at the same time benefit from them.

While making a presentation at COP27 climate change conference in Sharm el- Sheikh, Egypt. Dr Langat said mainstreaming mangroves and associated blue carbon ecosystems into the development and climate change agenda could accelerate Kenya’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

According to Dr Langat, mangroves have a lot of benefits if taken good care of but it was disappointing to see the status of mangrove ecosystem declining over the years.

He said from 2010 the decline has been reducing due to the efforts which have been put by the community.

‘Currently we are having a decline rate of about 0.5 percent as opposed to about 2 percent which was from the year 2000-2010,’ he said.

‘Our evaluation has found out that out of all the services that we get from mangroves we can earn USD 200,000 annually,’ he noted.

Through the Mkoko Pamoja Project, Langat said mangroves covering 117 ha of land in Gazi Bay, south coast of Kenya are now protected from illegal deforestation by full-time guards.

‘This site has been a pilot project for mangrove restoration in Kenya, and right now the same initiative is being implemented in Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu with the local communities,’ he added.

Dr Langat concluded that to include both sea grasses and mangroves in carbon management is key in the conservation of both as well as help sustain fisheries.

Rwanda_Negotiators

COP27: Rwanda says hopes for establishing loss and damage fund in line with Paris Agreement fading

Rwanda_Negotiators

The Deputy Director General of Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA)and Rwanda’s Lead negotiator at global climate talks in Sharm El Sheikh on Friday pointed out that Rwanda and other vulnerable countries had much expectation in securing a decision of adopting the establishment of loss and damage fund but hope is fading.

“Negotiations are going well in some items and not well in other items,” said Munyazikwiye as negotiators are working round the clock to secure deal on loss and damage facility which has become apple of discord between North and South.

Speaking during a brief interview, the senior Rwandan official said that this item on the establishment of loss and damages facilities is not going well and developed countries are still far to have consensus on this decision.

Africa is in a last-minute dash to secure far-reaching climate deals, including a critical finance facility for the loss and damages states have borne due to extreme weather

At its briefing, the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) said its pushing to insert a compromise deal in the COP27 outcome document to help the states worst hit by climate change to blunt the fallout.

But getting delegates to settle on a package of loss and damage facility is proving problematic, with rich nations asserting an existing mechanism (a 2001 Adaptation Fund) to address the issue. However, African diplomats argued that the fund has, like many other efforts, failed to deliver measurable results.

Announcing a total of UU$105.6 million in new funding, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Walloon Region of Belgium, stressed the need for even more support for the Global Environment Facility funds targeting the immediate climate adaptation needs of low-lying and low-income states.

Additionally, states, including Belgium, Canada, France, the United States, and the European Commission, signaled political support for the two funds. Some expressed an intention to contribute further in the coming months.

Earlier this year, the Global Environment Facility member countries endorsed a new strategy for both funds so they can provide more targeted, dedicated support for climate-vulnerable countries as they work to build a more resilient future and implement their National Adaptation Plans.

The Global Environment Facility programming strategy for the next four years anticipates that the Least Developed Countries Fund will provide between US$1 billion and US$1.3 billion for LDCs and that the Special Climate Change Fund will provide between US$200 million to US$400 million for Small Island Developing States and other climate-vulnerable developing states.

On the sidelines of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Rwanda and Germany signed a new funding agreement of 46 million Euros that will be available to government institutions working to implement Rwanda’s climate action plan, also known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement.

Rwanda has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 38% by 2030 compared to business as usual. This is equivalent to an estimated mitigation of up to 4.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

Estimates indicate that the cost of the plan is fixed USD 11 billion, made up of USD 5.7 billion for mitigation and USD 5.3 billion for adaptation. It is expected that 40% of this investment will come from domestic sources and 60% from external sources across all sectors.

This article has been published with the support from MESHA/IDRC grant for COP-27 coverage
Members of GreenFaith, a multi-faith climate justice organization, demonstrate at the Action Area in Sharm El Sheikh, where the COP27 has been going on for almost two weeks

Activists: We will win against fossil fuels

African activists have promised resistance at home to oil-and-gas touting leaders

By Agatha Ngotho

Members of GreenFaith, a multi-faith climate justice organization, demonstrate at the Action Area in Sharm El Sheikh, where the COP27 has been going on for almost two weeks

Climate activists from across sub-Saharan Africa have accused African leaders of using COP 27 to undermine the goals of the Paris Agreement, by pushing for more fossil fuel deals at the expense of people and the continent. 

Barbra Kangwana, Safe Lamu and Climate activist from Kenya said the government proposed a coal plant at Lamu, a UNESCO world heritage site, in the name of boosting the national electricity supply back in 2019.

“Trying to fathom the damage that would have happened to the small coastal town left us restless. The locals were given the false hope of getting jobs at the plant. The glaring truth is, you cannot claim to feed a population you are killing slowly,” said Kangwana.

“We raised our voices, lobbied, signed petitions, went to court, and eventually the people won. This is a clear case of failing systems, and when systems fail, the people rise,” he said.

Patience Nabukalu, Stop EACOP and Fridays for Future activist from Uganda said the East African crude oil pipeline, a French-Chinese project is a clear example of colonial exploitation in Africa and across the global south.

“With 1444km running from Uganda to Tanzania – it would become the longest heated oil pipeline in the world, releasing 34 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, substantially adding to the climate breakdown,” she noted.

Nabukalu said EACOP is not going to develop the country. This is because peoples’ land was taken, leaving many homeless and poor. Critical ecosystems and biodiversity were left at risk of oil spills such as Lake Victoria, rivers, national parks, animals and birds, as well as aquatic life.

“We remain hopeful and vigilant as banks and insurers like Standard Bank, Deutsche Bank and Lloyds have withdrawn their support for EACOP. We will continue to resist until everyone involved abandons it completely. We resist for our people and their land and heritage,” she said.

The activists spoke on the sidelines of the COP-27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt as the summit neared closure.  They vowed to resist any further fossil fuel expansion on the continent.

Mbong Akiy, Head of Communication for Greenpeace Africa said the fossil fuel industry has degraded people, lands, oceans and air.

“Enough is enough. No matter how many deals they sign, no matter how many bribes they pay, or how fancy the suits they wear: we shall wait for them in our communities, we will wait for them on the frontlines,” said Akiy.

“We will not stop until we see a complete transition to clean, renewable energy that is guaranteed to take millions of Africans out of energy poverty. Our lands will not be a playground for greedy polluters who seek to make billions at our expense. In South Africa we have won against big oil, we sent Shell packing, and we will send them all packing again,” he added.

Dean Bhekumuzi Bhebhe, campaign lead at Powershift Africa noted that the new dash for gas is an elaborate excuse fueled by a dangerous capitalist-utopian dream that seeks to justify the continued use of fossil fuels in Africa.

“Fossil gas production does absolutely nothing in addressing the continent’s climate emergency and if adopted will stop Africa from leapfrogging towards a renewable and clean energy future. We pledge to continue pushing for The Africa We Want beyond COP27,” said Bhebhe.

On his part, Kentebe Ebiaridor, Environmental Rights Campaigner and Niger Delta Activist observed that fossi gas must be left in the ground and climate funding should be used for public good through community owned and controlled, decentralised energy.

He added that they have seen the devastation that oil has caused to those residing in the Niger Delta which have seen them go to court leading to them triumphing with reparations.

“The fossil fuel industry needs to understand that these communities will not stop. For every destruction they cause, they will pay,” said Kentebe.

“We expect concrete and urgent climate action from COP27. For our well-being and the well-being of our planet, we demand the Congolese government end the sacrifice of our forests and peatlands for drilling oil,” added Bonaventure Bondo, DRC Coordinator Youth Movement for the Protection of the environment.

This article has been published with support from MESHA/IDRC grant for the coverage of COP 27.

Alioune Ndoye, President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and Collins Nzovu, Chair of the African Group of Negotiators during a media briefing on the status of the negotiations at COP

COP27: Negotiators worried over little progress on climate talks

African climate negotiators express concern over lack of progress on adaptation, climate finance, loss and damage

 By Agatha Ngotho

Alioune Ndoye, President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and Collins Nzovu, Chair of the African Group of Negotiators during a media briefing on the status of the negotiations at COP

African group of negotiators have expressed disappointment that the Sh12 trillion (USD100b) pledge to developing countries remains unfulfilled.

This money is an equivalent of five times to Kenya’s 2022/2023 financial budget of Sh2.4 trillion.

Alioune Ndoye, President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) underscored the importance of delivering the USD 100 billion as soon as possible.

He said this will help build trust and faith in the multilateral process of addressing climate change.

“We urge developed countries to deliver on their commitment to meet the goal and ensure the progression of efforts in the on-going mobilization of climate finance,” said Ndoye.

He spoke during a media briefing on the status of the negotiations at COP 27 in Sham El Sheikh, Egypt.

“We urge developed countries to take the lead in implementing their targets while providing enhanced support to developing countries,” he said.

Collins Nzovu, Chair of the African Group of Negotiators said COP-27 has been dubbed an implementation COP, and that African Group are focused and determined to ensure they deliver on implementation.

“We also view COP-27 as an African COP being held on African soil, a continent that is worst affected by the climate crisis and yet contributes least to the pollution that causes climate change,” said Nzovu who is also the Environment Minister in Zambia.

“As such, we expect COP-27 to result in tangible outcomes which reflect people’s aspirations, including Africa’s special needs and special circumstances,” he said.

Nzovu alluded that Africa is a continent plagued by complex overlapping challenges, and many generations of Africans have been left behind and suffer consequences of actions not of their own making.

“The systemic problems facing Africa require dedicated and targeted interventions. This will also unleash our continent’s potential to contribute to achieving the 1.5c world,” he said.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Africa will be impacted more than any other continent while the continent only contributes less than four percent of the world’s total emissions.

The report indicated that Africa has the lowest historical and current emissions. It estimates that adaptation costs in developing countries will reach $127 billion, and Africa needs up to $86.5 billion annually by 2030.

The IPCC report further showed that Africa has suffered a 34 percent decline in food production and loss & damage to agricultural productivity.

The leaders called on all Parties to work constructively for reaching an agreement on a framework to enable achieving and assessing progress towards the Global Goal on Adaptation.

Nzovu said adaptation is a matter of survival for Africa and COP 27 should deliver on scaling up adaptation action and support including GGA.

“COP 27 is our fighting chance to ensure that the multilateral process delivers on its promise of an adequate adaptation response in the context of the 1.5 temperature goal,” said.

On loss and damage, he said the African continent is exposed to diverse types of loss and damage, which manifest most significantly in various sectors and are associated with extreme and slow events over different time scales.

He added that finance is critical for the implementation, and they called upon developed country Parties to engage constructively for a meaningful finance package. This should include delivery on the much promised USD 100 billion.

“COP 27 should design an effective and dynamic work programme and result in concrete decisions on scaling up both mitigation ambition and support for just transitions. We look forward to engaging constructively with all parties under your able leadership for a successful outcome in line with vision of the implementation COP,” said Nzovu.

Activists at the COP

COP27: Action plan to make clean technologies cheaper launched

By Aghan Daniel I aghan@meshascience.org

Activists at the COP

An initiative that seeks to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to the warming of the earth, has been launched.  

The announcement was made at the on-going UN Summit on Climate Change popularly referred to as COP-27 being held at Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

Why is carbon important?

Carbon is in carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that traps heat close to Earth. It helps the Earth to hold some of the heat it receives from the Sun so it doesn’t all escape back into space. But carbon dioxide (CO2) is only good up to a point – beyond that point, Earth’s temperature warms up too much

The strategy is a collaborative venture of 25 new collaborative actions to be delivered by COP28 to speed up the decarbonisation (reduction of carbon emissions) under five key breakthroughs of power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture.

Historic support by three COP Presidencies for COP26, COP27 and COP28 drives forward implementation from Glasgow to Sharm El Sheik and into the United Arab Emirates-hosted COP and sends a signal of intent to the private sector.

Actions target sectors accounting for more than 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are also designed to reduce energy costs and enhance food security, with buildings and cement sectors to be added to the Breakthrough Agenda next year

Under the Breakthrough Agenda countries representing more than 50% of global GDP set out sector-specific ‘Priority Actions’ to decarbonise power, transport and steel, scale up low-emission hydrogen production and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture by COP28. These measures are designed to cut energy costs, rapidly reduce emissions and boost food security for billions of people worldwide.

The actions under each breakthrough will be delivered through coalitions of committed countries – from the G7, European Commission, India, Egypt, Morocco and others, supported by leading international organizations and initiatives, and spearheaded by a core group of leading governments. These efforts will be reinforced with private finance and leading industry initiatives and further countries are encouraged to join.

The Priority Actions include agreements to develop common definitions for low-emission and near-zero emission steel, hydrogen and sustainable batteries to help direct billions of pounds in investment, procurement and trade to ensure credibility and transparency.

Another priority is to ramp up the deployment of essential infrastructure projects including at least 50 large scale net-zero emission industrial plants, at least 100 hydrogen valleys and a package of major cross-border power grid infrastructure projects

The collaborators also agreed to set a common target date to phase out polluting cars and vehicles, consistent with the Paris Agreement. Significant backing for the dates of 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets will be announced by countries, businesses and cities on Solutions Day.

They will also use billions of pounds of private and public procurement and infrastructure spend to stimulate global demand for green industrial goods.

Systematically, they noted in a press stamen, they will strengthen financial and technological assistance to developing countries and emerging markets to support their transitions backed up by a range of new financial measures, including the world’s first major dedicated industry transition programme under the Climate Investment Funds.

Finally, drive investment in agriculture research, development & demonstration (RD&D) to generate solutions to address the challenges of food insecurity, climate change and environmental degradation.

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COP27: New report urges innovative building solutions as Africa’s response to reducing greenhouse gases

Despite an increase in energy efficiency investment and lower energy intensity, the building and construction sector’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions have rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic to an all-time high, a new report finds.

Released at the latest round of climate talks in Egypt, COP27, the 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) finds that the sector accounted for over 34 per cent of energy demand and around 37 per cent of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021.

The sector’s operational energy-related CO2 emissions reached ten gigatons of CO2 equivalent – five per cent over 2020 levels and two per cent over the pre-pandemic peak in 2019. In 2021, operational energy demand for heating, cooling, lighting and equipment in buildings increased by around four per cent from 2020 and three per cent from 2019.

This, according to the report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), means that the gap between the climate performance of the sector and the 2050 decarbonization pathway is widening.

Reacting on the report, Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) observed that years of warnings about the impacts of climate change have become a reality. “If we do not rapidly cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, we will be in deeper trouble,” she said.

The Paris Agreement deals with GHG emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, the headline principle being to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. To put it in more relatable terms, the agreement aims to cut global emissions to zero by the end of this century.

Currently, real estate is in the sights of governments when forming new carbon reduction policy and will be particularly affected by new targets and the resulting regulatory impacts over time.

Energy efficiency

Decarbonizing the buildings sector by 2050 is critical to delivering these cuts. To reduce overall emissions, the sector must improve building energy performance, decrease building materials’ carbon footprint, multiply policy commitments alongside action and increase investment in energy efficiency.

The report says that investments in energy efficiency must be sustained in the face of growing crises – such as the war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis, and the cost-of-living crisis – to reduce energy demand, avoiding CO2 emissions and dampen energy cost volatility. The buildings sector represents 40 per cent of Europe’s energy demand, 80 per cent of it from fossil fuels. This makes the sector an area for immediate action, investment and policies to promote short and long-term energy security.

However, it shows that the sector can still change. For example, rising fossil fuel costs due to the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis are providing incentives to invest in energy efficiency – although the erosion of purchasing power and the impact of labor and materials may slow investment.

“The solution may lie in governments directing relief towards low and zero-carbon building investment activities through financial and non-financial incentives,” said Andersen.

Also, critical to reducing the sector’s emissions are including buildings in climate pledges under the Paris Agreement – known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – and mandatory building energy codes.

In Africa, experts point out that raw resource use is predicted to double by 2060 – with steel, concrete and cement already major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Materials used in the construction of buildings already account for around nine per cent of overall energy-related CO2 emissions.

Embodied carbon in buildings – the emissions associated with materials and construction processes – needs to be tackled to avoid undermining energy-saving measures. However, the sector can reduce its impact by, for example, looking at alternative materials and decarbonizing conventional materials such as cement.

Use of alternative materials relevant for Africa.

The African population is expected to reach 2.4 billion people in 2050 and 80 per cent of this growth will occur in cities. An estimated 70 per of the African building stock expected for 2040 has yet to be built.

To avoid increasing emissions while building the stock necessary to move people out of informal settlements, and to create buildings that are resilient to the impacts of climate change, experts recommend the African sector to look at sustainable construction materials and design techniques, in which the continent is rich.

Africa is also rich in renewable energy sources, solar and wind, which nations can use to power their buildings sustainably, the report said.

To mitigate these impacts, experts recommend to African Governments, especially cities, to implement policies that promote the shift to ‘circular material economies’.

The construction and real estate industries must implement zero-carbon strategies for new and existing buildings, it said.