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

 

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.

Farmers_Climate_Africa_AFSA

COP27: Activists say hunger, food insecurity rising in Africa driven by climate change

Around 70 percent of Africans relying on rain-fed farming, meaning hundreds of millions of people will be severely affected by climate-driven droughts, heatwaves, and other natural disasters from frequent droughts to rising sea temperatures, according to a new book presented on Wednesday by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA).

AFSA is the largest network of networks in Africa, with more than 30 network members with a combined potential reach of 200 million Africans. Its membership embraces farmers, indigenous communities, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fisherfolk, consumer networks, women and youth networks, faith-based organizations, and civil society organizations.

The publication titled “Building an African Food Policy for Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems” is a comprehensive look at the state of food security in Africa

According to the new findings, African farmers, long viewed as victims, are beginning to implement long-term, sustainable solutions to Africa’s climate crisis. Indeed, they are models that all farmers could learn from.

On the sidelines of the 27th conference of the parties to the United Nations framework convention on climate change – COP27 which is currently taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, AFSA has submitted a position paper that outlines a clear path forward for leaders and policymakers to prioritize climate adaptation through agroecology.

Improved food systems

According to Dr. Million Belay, AFSA General Coordinator and Panel Expert with IPES-Food, ignoring agroecology is ignoring Africa’s farmers and sidelining the planet’s most vulnerable people who are being hit first and worst by the climate crisis.

“Africa could feed itself many times over. But agroecology cannot and must not be overlooked by decision-makers as the most effective means to build resilience and enable small-scale farmers, pastoralists, and fishers to adapt to climate change,” Dr Belay said.

Sena Alouka, Executive Director of Togo’s Young Volunteers for the Environment and Chair of AFSA’s Climate and Agroecology Working Group, emphasized the same point “Leaders at COP27 must prioritize food systems in Africa’s climate adaptation plans and integrate agroecology into UNFCCC climate negotiations.

“The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 27) provides a global opportunity to begin a just transition away from high-emitting industrial agriculture, corporate food system monopolies, and false climate solutions and toward agroecology, food sovereignty, and self-sufficiency,” he said.

It is expected that on the sidelines of COP27, AFSA will present data conveying the urgent need for government climate investment in agroecology and food system efforts.

Latest estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) show that traditional systems of land use, farming practices and cropping patterns in most parts across Africa are all changing as small-scale farmers face growing demands from markets to liberalize trade and to use chemicals to increase production in order feed the growing population.

Strengthening Africa’s resilience

To develop solutions that will address the malnutrition and food security challenges in Africa, climate activists stress the need to understand the diverse food systems in the region and develop particular solutions for each farming system instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.

For example, in the Sudano-Sahelian region, estimates show that millets are recommended as the primary crop, suitable for the largest area of land, since they require less moisture, while sorghum is dominant in sub humid and semi-arid southern Africa.

Attempts to grow crops that are not suited to the prevailing ecological conditions will often result in low yields or crop failure, with consequent adverse effects on food security, AFSA warns in its new report.

During ongoing climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, AFSA wants ensure negotiations strengthen Africa’s resilience to the climate crisis by integrating agroecology into regional and national climate policy spaces.

Latest reports by FAO indicate that Africa’s food and agriculture sectors are among the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.

It said that the resilience against multiple threats, including climate change, is a key prerequisite for sustainable development, in particular when it comes to the challenge of feeding over 2 billion Africans by 2050.

maasai-women-pix

Donors pledge to meet Sh207bn funding for forest conservation

In Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Kenya’s indigenous and forest-dwelling communities may not have a direct opportunity to voice their agenda at the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.
The hunter-gatherers such as Ogiek, Sengwer, Yaaku Waata and Sanya, and pastoralists like Endorois, Turkana, Maasai and Samburus may not even be following the proceeding of the two weeks conference that has galvanised more than 120 powerful leaders to tackle the climate change crisis.

Interestingly, not even the high-powered Kenyan delegation has representatives of the indigenous communities.
However, their efforts to save the ancestral forests should raise ambitions as donors at the COP27 meeting say they are on track with the Glasgow pledge to meet their annual funding levels and help the indigenous forest conservation efforts and stop the plundering.

During the high-level segment at COP27, the donors behind the Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities (IPLC) pledge, presented their progress towards meeting the $1.7billion (Sh207 billion) commitment by 2025, as promised in Glasgow last year.

Pledged countries

Five countries namely the Federal Republic of Germany, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of the Netherlands, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America and 18 philanthropic institutions, chaired by the UK and Ford Foundation, committed to this landmark pledge at COP26.

This new level of recognition of the role indigenous people and local communities play in addressing the climate and nature crises by protecting and maintaining the worlds remaining rainforests has given hope to indigenous people in Kenya.

“This is a very welcome move and shows that the work done and advocacy efforts by indigenous people are being recognised at the global level,” said Mr Joseph Towett, the Ogiek Council of Elders chairman. 
He added: “This is a major win for the Ogiek community. We hope to remain steadfast in protecting the Mau forest and other forests in Kenya and the government should also support our efforts instead of waiting for the donors to make the first move.”

The donor progress report finds that they are meeting the target; meaning they disbursed close to one-fifth of the total amount in 2021, the first year of the five-year pledge.

“While it is good to see that the donors are meeting their commitment, their report shows that they were already meeting the level of annual funding they promised when the pledge was made. This makes it very clear that the pledge is not ambitious enough,” said Toerris Jaeger, executive director of Rainforest Foundation Norway. 
He challenged the donors to raise their ambitions.

“Donors should set a new target that mirrors the need and urgency of protecting rainforests and supporting indigenous people and local communities,” said Mr Jaeger.
At least 36 per cent of key biodiversity areas globally are found on land claimed by indigenous people and local communities, along with at least 25 per cent of the above-ground carbon stored in tropical forests.

Research has shown that forests managed by indigenous people have lower deforestation and support more biodiversity than other protected areas.
A 2021 report by Rainforest Foundation Norway showed that less than 1 per cent of official climate aid goes to support forest management and tenure rights for IPLCs, leaving efforts to advance their tenure and conservation underfunded. 
The foundation recognises that the mobilisation to support the pledge brought in new donors and more money so that the total amount of funding for IPLC land rights and forest management increased in 2021.

Recognition

Climate experts say more support is needed and it’s the experience of indigenous people in the forests that should be made better. The progress report admits that a minimal share, only 7 per cent of the funding, goes directly to the organisations of indigenous peoples and local communities, with administrative barriers and capacity constraints limiting direct access to funding.

“We are glad to see that the donors recognise that the current funding is not fit for purpose and thereby not benefiting indigenous and local communities as much as it could. We expect donors to intensify their work on improving this. IPLCs have made considerable investments in building capacity and structures to handle donor funding and are now waiting for the donors to support this,” says Mr Jaeger.

fmureithi@ke.nationmedia.com

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Drought: Kenya reports wildlife deaths in parks

By Agatha Ngotho I angotho@gmail.com

Photo caption: A giraffe at a national park in Kenya. A new report says that drought has led to deaths of more than 1000 wildlife in the country. Photo by Joseph Kipsang.

As the world descends on the tourist city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from tomorrow to discuss global climate change crisis, Kenya, will still be reeling from the impact of droughts on its wildlife with numerous deaths reported in the country.

The meeting, dubbed the Conference of Parties (COP) 27 opens on November 6th November 2022 with 40,000 people attending.

According to the World Economic Forum, climate change is causing devastation to the continent's water bodies, impacting food security, threatening ecosystems and impeding socio-economic development.

Kenya has not been spared by the devastating drought which has seen 4.3 million people in need of urgent food aid and the death of more than 1,000 wildlife. Wildlife deaths

The current drought in Kenya, say authorities, has killed 205 elephants, 430 zebras, 51 buffalos and 12 giraffes.

According to Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza 14 different species of wildlife have been affected between February and October 2022 by the drought.

She said the drought has resulted in the deaths of 205 deaths, elephants, 512 wildebeest, 381 common zebras, 205 elephants, 49 grevy’s zebras, 51 buffalos and giraffe (8 Reticulated and 4 Maasai zebras).

The CS spoke on 4 th November 2022 during the launch of a report on the impacts of the current drought on wildlife in Kenya done by the Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI).

Malonza said the most affected areas include Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia-Samburu ecosystems.

“Elephants in Amboseli and Laikipia-Samburu regions are worst affected by the drought as the ecosystems have recorded more than 70 elephant deaths. The Amboseli ecosystem has lost 510 wildebeests, 358 common zebras, 76 elephants, and 19 buffalos among other species,” she said.

On November 1, President William Ruto announced that the Government will set aside Sh200 million to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to support interventions geared towards cushioning wildlife from famine.

The CS explained that rainfall in the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya failed completely during the October–December 2021 and March–May 2022 rainy seasons.

This resulted to the current drought being experienced in Southern, Eastern and Northern Kenya.

“The drought has caused mortality of wildlife, mostly herbivore species. The mortalities have arisen because of depletion of food resources as well as water shortages,” said Malonza.

The report indicated that the grevy’s zebra population, which is restricted to the Lakipia- Samburu landscapes has so far lost 49 grevy’s zebra even with the intervention of a feeding
programme.

The programme is currently ongoing in areas of Buffalo Springs and Samburu National Reserves through the Grevy’s Zebra Trust. It is providing supplement feeding to over 500 individuals daily with buffalo and oryx also benefiting from the feeds.

The Trust has reported 49 deaths related to drought out of the 90 deaths so far recorded.

The most affected areas within the Grevy’s zebra’s range are Isiolo County and Eastern parts of Samburu County, especially the Wamba Area.

The report further pointed out that the rhino population remains not seriously affected by the drought but one rhino aged about 2 years died in Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, Tsavo West
National Park.


“The drought continues to worsen as days’ pass as evidenced by the upwards trend of wildlife mortality between February and October 2022. The continued worsening of the drought condition could affect more rhinos in overstocked rhino sanctuaries including Ngulia
Rhino Sanctuary, Tsavo West National Park among others,” the report noted.

It also indicated that the Southern Conservation Area particularly Amboseli ecosystem is the most affected followed by the Laikipia-Samburu landscape from the months of February
through to October.


The Wildlife Research and Training Institute report further showed that the drought has negatively impacted on the herbivore populations and particularly wildebeest and zebra. It
has claimed more than 500 and 380 wildebeest and common zebra respectively in the Amboseli Ecosystem.

“Most of the affected wild animal species are grazers. Elephants were as well affected by the drought due to reduced forage and mostly to young elephants who may not reach out to
above 2-meter vegetation biomass,” the report stated.
The Laikipia-Samburu and Amboseli ecosystems are worst hit having recorded more than 70 elephants’ deaths each followed by 54 deaths in Tsavo East, West and Ranches.


Amboseli ecosystem, which hosts over 1900 elephants has so far lost 76 elephants to the drought of which 45 were juveniles dying of malnutrition since the mothers could not produce enough milk. In Tsavo, four elephant calves were preyed by lions as their mothers
were too weak to protect them.


In the report, the wildlife research outfit called for urgent and immediate provision of water as well as salt licks in the most affected ecosystems of Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia- Samburu.
It also recommended for the enhancement of provision of hay to Grevy’s zebra in northern Kenya over the next two months to cover a wider area.

It called for support to undertake well-structured monitoring of wildlife mortality in all protected areas and key ecosystems. This, they noted, will help to better understand the effects of the drought and recommend future and timely appropriate management action.


It called for urgent aerial census of wildlife in Amboseli ecosystem before the next rainy season to determine and evaluate the impact of the current drought on wildlife.

“The National Treasury should allocate funds to support the next National Wildlife Census in 2024 to establish the impact of the current drought on wildlife populations in all the affected ecosystems. This is in addition to provision of funding to support destocking of Ngulia Rhino
Sanctuary (Tsavo West National Park) and prevent any eminent drought related mortality of black rhino in the sanctuary,” said the report.

Mr Shadrack Kithure, the leader of a community based environmental group at Mporoko swamp in Maua. The swamp has been invaded by residents who do farming with the group sensitizing residents on the benefits of conserving it.

Meru wetland put under lock and key as drought ravages region

Mr Shadrack Kithure, the leader of a community based environmental group at Mporoko swamp in Maua. The swamp has been invaded by residents who do farming with the group sensitizing residents on the benefits of conserving it.

Igembe Central sub-county is one of the driest areas of Meru County and residents rely on rain for subsistence farming. But about 40km from the Meru-Maua road, we find a fenced-off oasis.

The Gakunku wetland is the source of the Bwathonaro river, which snakes through the Igembe region and Meru National Park, giving life to thousands of residents and wild animals before draining into the river Tana.

But five years ago this oasis with lush vegetation and a stark contrast to surrounding areas was threatened with extinction by human activity, with residents invading it and cultivating crops, especially arrow roots.

Alarmed that this would lead to the drying up of the river and threaten the lives of residents and animals, members of the Bwathonaro Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) fenced it off and planted thousands of trees.

“The situation was dire because during dry seasons, like now, there would be a scramble for the little water that came out of the well. Domestic animals would be brought here, residents fetched water from the well while others grew crops. It was chaotic,” said WRUA secretary Riungu Mutea.

Mr Riungu Mutea, the secretary of Bwathonaro Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) at Gakunku wetland explains how they conserved the water catchment area by fencing it off and putting it under lock and key.

With funding of Sh3 million from the Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resources Management Project, the community fenced off the 25-acre wetland, put it under lock and key and formed a committee that placed the area under 24-hour surveillance.

They also incorporated the revered Njuri Ncheke council of elders to help conserving wetlands.

“Since their word is final, we brought Njuri Ncheke elders on board so that they could assist us. They camped in the small forest and threatened residents with a curse should they encroach on the area or cut down trees there. It became a sacred ground and that is how we succeeded in protecting it,” Mr Mutea said.

Residents have also built an intake for five projects, with water serving over 400 households or 3,000 residents. They also ration water during dry seasons by releasing it to the park at intervals.

“Residents use water during the day, while at night we direct it to the park. This has reduced human-wildlife conflicts because animals don’t cross over to our farms,” said committee chairman Wilson Nduati.

 
A signboard at Gakunku wetland and catchment area for Bwathonaro River which was fenced off and put under lock and key to prevent degradation by residents.

The wetland is a relief from the ravaging effects of drought in the area that has seen crops dry up due to lack of rains. Several residents benefit from the water pumped from the well to their farms, where they irrigate their crops, including miraa trees.

Mr Simon Mumbere, the knowledge management and learning officer at the Upper Tana catchment project, said they focus on conservation and management of natural resources in Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Murang’a counties.

“We work with members of the community in the six counties and address practices including over-abstraction of water and pollution, which cause degradation of catchment areas, leading to adverse effects such as human-wildlife conflicts,” Mr Mumbere said.

But the Gakunku success story is not reflected in the entire region. In the Maili Tatu area, on the outskirts of Maua, is the Mporoko swamp, a 140-acre wetland that has been invaded by farmers.

Mr Shadrack Kithure, the coordinator of a community-based environmental organization, said they have partnered with other groups to sensitise members of the community on the importance of conserving the wetland.

“We planted 20,000 trees and incorporated elders, who are helping us to conserve the area. Once we plant the trees we hand them over to elders, who instill fear in residents by warning them against cutting down the trees, and it has worked,” Mr Kithure said.

He called on the county government to intervene by fencing off to protect it.

“People have also planted eucalyptus trees in parts of this wetland and this is posing a danger to the catchment area. The government should move in and criminalise this activity or there is the risk that this wetland will dry up,” he said.