Ethiopia needs $157b to implement climate adaptation programme

By Mekonnen Teshome |

With the adoption of a Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (CRGES), Ethiopia has made exemplary climate change adaptation moves over the last decade.

However, the national programme now faces the challenge of lack of global climate financing.   

The country says it needs $157 billion (Ksh19 trillion) to implement its long-term low emissions development strategies (LT-LEDS).

Ethiopia’s climate financing challenges were brought to light by the country’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) experts at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

According to the experts, though Ethiopia is currently facing the worst impacts of climate change in the last 40 years, the support from “development partners” was negligible in relation to climate change financing. 

International Environmental Agreements Negotiations Director with EPA, Mensur Dese said impacts of climate change, including recurrent droughts, flash floods and erratic rains have increased drastically over the last four decades in Ethiopia due to the ever changing climate. 

The experts, who presented Ethiopia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP), further elaborated that lowland areas of the country – Somalia, Oromia, South and Southwest regional states – have been severely affected due to the human-induced challenge.

According to the experts’ report, 8.1 million people were affected by the drought this year, over 2.1 million cattle died and 22 million are still at risk, and the situation in Eastern Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular calls for immediate global climate financing response.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, noting the unfulfilled promises of the developed countries in tackling climate change impacts, said, “It is past time to address the growing financial and technological needs. Pledges must be translated into new resources and support. The time to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis is running out. We must now scale up our efforts.”

“Increased funding must reflect the magnitude of Africa’s challenge. Countries must honour their climate pledges, provide the necessary financing, and address the outstanding issues of loss and damage and the carbon trading mechanism in ways that allow for faster results.”


Mr Abiy said Africa is the most vulnerable to climate change while it accounts for less than five per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and approximately 17 per cent of total global population.

Nevertheless, he added, the continent receives less than five per cent of the world’s climate fund, which is mainly in debt.

Developed countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union and Australia acknowledged that there is currently a funding gap in addressing loss and damage, at an informal consultation on loss and damage finance during COP27.

As part of COP negotiations, developed countries pledged to provide $100 billion (Ksh12.2 trillion) in climate finance to developing countries by 2020. However, they are yet to fulfill the commitment.

With the announcement of $150 million (Ksh18.3 billion) donation for Africa’s adaptation to climate change by US and Egypt last week, it seems that the appeal is being fulfilled.

However, the global financial requirement is huge as the impact of climate change is rapidly increasing.

To this end, a United Nations-backed report presented at COP27 reveals that developing and emerging countries, excluding China, need investments well beyond $2 trillion (Ksh244 trillion) annually by 2030 if the world is to stop the global warming juggernaut and cope with its effects. 

One of the lead authors of the report, Nicholas Stern, confirms that rich countries should recognise that it is in their self-interest as well as a matter of justice, given the severe impacts caused by their high levels of current and past emissions, to invest in climate action in emerging markets and developing countries.

Mr Abbas Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer of Economic Analysis and Policy at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Planning and Development, in his brief to donor countries and development partners in Sharm El-Sheikh, solicited for the support of development partners to help the country implement its plan.

He told participants that the country envisages an average of 9.1 per cent economic growth in 30 years when the plan is implemented and 85.3 million jobs will be created due to the green economy the country is going to realise.

Dr Mithika Mwenda addresses climate activists during one of the 
COP27 sessions in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

Why African CSOs are disappointed by COP27 outcomes for the continent

Dr Mithika Mwenda addresses climate activists during one of the COP27 sessions in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

By Clifford Akumu |

African civil society organisations (CSOs) have expressed disappointment with the progress and expected outcomes from COP27 as the curtains closed on the global climate change meet in Sharma El Sheikh, Egypt.

The CSOs said contrary to expectations by Africa, COP27 left “millions of Africans in continued climate-related misery”.

Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director, Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), said Africans leave COP27 a disappointed lot.

“We came with the hope that the momentum created by the discussions in the year ahead of COP27 under the facilitation of UNFCCC, the COP Presidency and friends of the COP would materialise with concrete outcomes in Egypt. But unfortunately, the end of COP is an anti-climax,” said Dr Mwenda.

He said people facing starvation in the Eastern and Horn of Africa because of climate-related droughts, women in Nigeria drowning in floods and those buttered by the cyclones in Southern Africa would continue to wait for signals on action from the international community.

“This will continue to delay because decisions on loss and damage have been delayed yet again to 2024,” he said.

Tracy Sony, a gender specialist from Botswana, said the most pressing issue of concern is the lack of clear linkages between yearly plans, programmes and discussions from across continents but without concrete outcomes at every other COP.

“Why should we be meeting every year in these COPs that end up with no substantial outcomes?” Sony posed.

Augustine Njamnshi, Chair of Political and Technical Committee at PACJA, said Africans left COP27 less reassured of the goodwill of global leaders, especially those in high-polluting industrialised countries. He said climate activists expected to see delegations from the developed countries make bold decisions reflecting the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.

Njamnshi said that as in Glasgow last year, which lowered the bar and deferred urgent actions despite the high risk of missing the Paris Agreement targets, COP27 has dashed the hopes of the African people, potentially raising their plight.

Mentioning areas Africans felt let down by the COP27, he said failure to admit Africa’s special needs and circumstances on the agenda of COP27 contributed to the slow progress, delays and, in some cases, the lowering of ambition on issues pertinent to Africa.

In addition, the deferral of a decision on financing loss and damage to 2024 with no guarantees of an outcome that reflects the aspirations and hopes of Africa and the lower-than-needed emission reduction ambition announced by big polluters, particularly the EU, have downgraded the COP in the eyes of Africans.

Njamnshi said the lack of a clear trajectory for phasing out fossil fuels, which has resulted in the decision by some countries to continue using the high-polluting sources of energy that have powered the same economic model behind the current climate crisis, would not be helpful.

“After a careful examination of what needs to change to rekindle hope and justify Africa’s continued engagement with the global effort to address the climate crisis, we call on African leaders to reassess the relevance of the UNFCCC and COP processes to the African people and take radical actions to strengthen Africa’s voice and participation,” he said.

He demanded of big polluters to honour their engagement to deliver the resources needed to address the climate crisis in Africa, especially as it concerns adaptation and loss and damage.

Florence Kasule, a climate activist from Uganda, said African women feel disappointed by the process and progress at this COP.

“The COP was tagged as an implementation COP with its promise on key African issues and had women excited since they are the major implementers of climate action at the grassroots,” she said.

However, she added, women feel disappointed by the lack of action on adaptation, loss and damage, which has meant little action on agriculture on which the economies of African countries rely and given that women drive the venture.

Lucky Abeng, a young man from Nigeria, said the youth that make up 70 per cent of the population of the continent left COP27 disappointed.

“Young people have been disadvantaged and look to next year with uncertainty. The COP27 progress has done nothing but punctured the pride of the African youth,” he said.

Dr Mithika Mwenda addresses climate activists during one of the 
COP27 sessions in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

Striga Smart Sorghum Project Launched

Dr Mithika Mwenda addresses climate activists during one of the COP27 sessions in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

By Don Ngome |

A new project, Feed the Future Striga Smart Sorghum for Africa, has been launched in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The project utilizes genome editing technology to develop new sorghum varieties resistant to Striga.

Striga is a parasitic weed responsible for up to 100 percent yield loss in Africa’s staple cereals, thus posing a great danger to the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers on the continent.

The three-year multi-institutional, multisectoral project is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) which has awarded nearly US$3.8 million to support the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) AfriCenter, Kenyatta University (Kenya), and Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia).

In Kenya, Dr. Gatama Gichini, a representative of Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary, presided over the project launch.

 “The Ministry encourages the partners to anchor the project within Government agricultural programs for synergy and optimum success,” he said.

The lead partners say the project is a game-changer in Africa’s quest to combat the effects of climate change on agriculture. “We are grateful for this outstanding award.This is a clear demonstration of USAID’s commitment to address agricultural challenges and empower African smallholder farmers through yield improvement interventions,” said

Dr. Margaret Karembu, the project’s contact.

Prof. Steven Runo, a co-chief scientist termed the new project a win for agriculture in the region. “Striga infestation is a real menace in sub-Saharan Africa. We convey our utmost gratitude to USAID for the big support in arresting this mammoth challenge and ensuring the region becomes food sufficient,” remarked Prof. Runo.


60-year-old James Nyagwoka at his arrowroots farm in Kegagati, Kisii County.

Farmers forced to act smart to tackle effects of climate crisis on agriculture.

By Rosemary Onchari |

Margaret Nyaboke was an optimistic farmer as she supervised workers planting maize on her farm four months ago. She projected returns from sales of at least 75 per cent of the produce, and knew the remainder would last her small family a year.

But she was all wrong. A sizable portion of the crops soon started yellowing and their growth stunted. She has not experienced the yellowing and stunted growth for the 10 years she has been a farmer.

“We had rains for about one month, and we hurriedly tilled the land and planted. But the rains did not last,” she says.

Compared to the previous season, her maize harvest went down from 30 sacks to 26 in the last harvest season.

Due to the unpredictable weather patterns, Nyaboke is now contemplating shifting focus from maize farming to indigenous vegetables.

Africa has recently suffered extreme weather events such as prolonged droughts and flooding, besides unpredictable rain patterns that have disrupted farmers’ plans and messed yields, putting many lives at risk of food insecurity.

Globally, at least 350 million farmers appealed to leaders at the November 2022 United Nations    Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) to increase adaptation finance. They also appealed for promotion of a shift to more diverse, low-input agriculture to help farmers adapt to climate change.

Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have shown that more than 60 per cent of Africa’s 1.4 billion people live in rural areas and depend on climate-sensitive livelihoods like rain-fed agriculture.

Meanwhile, James Nyagwoka, who grows arrowroots in Kegati village, Kisii County, has joined in the efforts to tackle effects of climate change by adopting climate smart farming.

“Since the disruption of weather patterns in the last four years, I no longer depend on the rains, I irrigate my farm,” he said.

A water well and a nearby river provide steady supply of water to his farm, especially during the dry season.

Nyagwoka started growing arrowroots in 2015, as it is not prone to many diseases and pests and also because it requires little agronomic practices. He has utilised the spaces between the arrowroots to grow kales and spinach for subsistence and economic purposes.

This season, Nyagwoka planted 100,000 arrowroots. He projects to harvest in December.

Kisii Country Director of Agriculture Nathan Soire said since the intensity and distribution of rainfall had been disrupted, farmers are forced to embrace new ways out.

The long rainy season in the high-altitude area used to be from December to February. This was the normal planting season for food crops. In the low-altitude areas, planting season would start between February and March. But this is no longer certain.

Diseases and pests such as the fall army worms, which thrive in high temperatures, have affected crop production, causing farmers losses and untold suffering.

Soire now says the local ministry is now creating awareness on soil conservation and water harvesting methods. It has increased awareness on the importance of agroforestry, according to Soire.

The ministry has sensitised farmers not to rely on rain-fed agriculture but instead adopt technologies such as use of irrigation.

“We have encountered situations where it stops to rain just when crops are flowering or fruiting. These are critical stages where the crops need water more.

But due to climate change farmers suffer losses due to low production,” he said.

Agriculture officers have always encouraged farmers to use organic manure to improve the soil texture and structure for capacity to hold adequate water over a long period. Farmers have also been advised to plant during the onset of rainy seasons and also supplement the rainfall with irrigation systems.

Cover crops and mulching is also encouraged as a means to tackle effects of the climate crisis on agricultural yield.

Kisii County Head of Meteorological Department Henry Sese has meanwhile urged farmers to acquaint themselves with the changing weather patterns as well as identify different types of crops that can adapt.

“During the dry season, we advise farmers to grow crops that require little rainfall such as cassava, finger millet, sorghum, and sweet potatoes, which take about three months to mature,” said Sese.

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

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 is marching along CBD



Dr. Thierno is marching along CBD

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

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 and Ruth Keah

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

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.


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


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