Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Africa’s Gain Or Loss From COP18 Will Be Squarely On You- Africa’s Chief Negotiator Tells Peers

Emmanuel Okella
November 30, 2012

The Chair of the African Group of Negotiators has told delegates from the continent that whatever Africa will take out from the ongoing UN climate negotiations will depend on both their grasp of the issues as well as effective presence at working sessions.

Mr. Dlamini Emmanuel, who has expressed cautious optimism at the outcome of the ongoing UN climate conference in Qatar, says previous instances when some delegates treated trips for these talks as holiday breaks, have cost the continent its own fair share of the bargain.

An African youth holds a placard at the COP 18 in Doha

An African youth holds a placard at the COP18 in Doha

In a meeting with Dr. Fatima Denton, the Coordinator the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and other officials from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the chief negotiator said what Africa brings home from Doha would depend on a clear mastery of the issues by the negotiators.

“As we move towards the Ministerial level, it is clear that our delegates need a better grasp of the issues, and not just the position that other partners hold on those issues, but why they hold them”, he said.

His comments follow concerns by many African activists that the continent is lagging behind in the negotiations with some of its key demands to be delivered in Doha, laying in doubt.

This is not the first time delegates are facing accusations of this kind. Even at previous COP meetings delegates have repeatedly been accused of not participating enough, instead spending much of their time shopping and touring host cities.

“You see, if we are not present during the discussions; or, if we do not show a clear understanding of the issues, we would neither be able to lead them nor infuse our position into the final documents of the Conference”, he said.

He admitted the existence of some capacity gaps among new delegates but said the lead negotiators could ably represent the continent, despite the ever-changing rough world of climate negotiations.

Earlier, Emmanuel warned that any future agreement coming out from Doha should be more than just a “mitigation deal”.

African agencies like the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) are concerned that failure by Africa to cut a meaningful share in the outcome of the talks, directly increases the continent’s vulnerability to the harsh impacts climate change.

Key on the agenda of the African group is the green climate fund to help countries implement adaptation and mitigation measures but also extension of the commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol that mainly conditions wealthy nations to emission reduction targets.

Chebet Maikut who is coordinating Uganda’s negotiation team admits existing knowledge gaps among delegates mainly as a result of frequent changes of the teams by governments.

“Like for the case of Uganda we keep having new people on board and sometimes this slows the process because they spend some time trying to understand not only the different positions but also the processes of the negotiations” he observed.

“The good thing is that the team always has experienced people who help guide the process but as you may see, this affects their overall input in the talks because they have to balance between participation and guiding the relatively new colleagues” he added.

Dr. Fatima Denton, who has managed several climate change programs across Africa and a veteran of COP negotiations, said that she understands the nature of challenges that negotiators often face and assured the African Group of ACPC’s willingness to continue providing technical assistance.

November 26, 2012

A Global Catastrophe Looms

Fredrick Mugira in Doha Qatar,
November 26, 2012

A global catastrophe looms and something must be done now to avert it. This catastrophe will be caused by climate change.

This is according to Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, outgoing president of the UN Climate Change Conference.

“Urgent action is needed if we are to avoid a global catastrophe in the next generation,” she stresses.

Official opening function for the United Nation’s two-week conference on Climate Change (COP18/CMP8)

Nkoana-Mashabane, who is the South African Foreign Minister was on Monday 26th, 2012 officially opening the United Nation’s two-week conference on Climate Change (COP18/CMP8) that has attracted over 1700 participants from up to 194 nations cross the world.

She called for dedication and warned against indecisiveness in the struggle against climate change.

“We cannot waver in our resolve to rise to this challenge,” said Nkoana-Mashabane vehemently as the participants listened attentively.

Later after her address, COP 17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane handed over the conference presidency to Abdullah bin Hamad Al- Attiyah, chairman of Qatar’s Administrative Control and Transparency Authority. Attiyah is now the COP 18 President.

In his speech, Attiyah described climate change as, “ a challenge for humanity.”

He told the participants to take advantage of the conference to find solutions for coping with this challenge.

Speaking during the same occasion, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told the participants to pay attention to the developing nations’ urgent need for financial and technical support in the struggle against global warming.

Clad in Islamic attire, Figueres noted that the conference in Doha will endeavor to conclude some of the plans that were initiated in past United Nations Climate Change Conferences, citing the plans instituted in Bali.

COP18/CMP8, Doha Qatar

She noted that the discussion will work out a legal binding agreement obliging developed countries to cut their carbon emissions.

Signed in 1997, the Kyoto protocol mandates reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere. Such gases trap heat leading to an increase in temperatures on the earth or what is termed as global warming.

However, some industrialized nations including USA have never ratified this agreement while countries such as Russia and China have expressed their intention not to participate in the second commitment period.

Many developing countries now want developed countries to show more practical commitment to the emission reduction.

November 19, 2012

Lack of Toilet Exposes African Women and Girls to Shame, Fear and Violence

WaterSan Perspective Reporter and
WaterAid
November 19th, 2012

Seven in ten women in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to a safe toilet, threatening their health and exposing them to shame, fear and even violence.

This means that on World Toilet Day, 19 November, 297 million African women and girls lack safe and adequate sanitation and of those 107 million don’t have a toilet at all.

A survey commissioned by WaterAid of women living across five slums in Lagos, Nigeria, showed that one in five had first or second hand experience of verbal harassment and intimidation, or had been threatened or physically assaulted in the last year when going to the toilet. Anecdotal evidence from other African countries suggests that the scale of the problem may be much larger than this.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said:
“When women don’t have a safe, secure and private place to go to the toilet they are exposed and put in a vulnerable position and when they relieve themselves in the open they risk harassment. Women are reluctant to talk about it or complain, but the world cannot continue to ignore this.”

“Adequate sanitation, coupled with access to clean, safe water to drink, transforms lives, improving health, safety and productivity. Governments are urged to take action and invest in access to sanitation and water.”

Other studies from Uganda and Kenya show that such experiences of fear, indignity and violence appear to be common in Africa wherever women lack access to safe and adequate sanitation.

Sandimhia Renato, 18, from Mozambique walks 15 minutes every day to defecate in the bush.
“Sometimes when I go I feel ashamed and go back without defecating. Sometimes I wait until dark to go there so no one can see me. I will be very concerned about Diani, my daughter, going to the bush because it is so far from here. At night it is very dangerous. People get killed. A woman and a boy were killed with knives. One woman I know of has been raped.”

Security came out as a recurring concern in the poll of women from slums in Lagos, with 67% of respondents saying they feel unsafe even using shared or community toilets in a public place.

Poor hygiene has serious implications on health. Every day, over 1,000 African mothers lose a child to diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of adequate sanitation and clean water.

Lack of decent sanitation also affects productivity and livelihoods. Women and girls living in sub-Saharan Africa without toilet facilities spend 20 billion hours each year finding a place to go in the open, according to figures released in a WaterAid briefing.

WaterAid logo

Barbara Frost continued:“This World Toilet Day, WaterAid is joining the call of hundreds of organisations around the world, for governments to keep the promises they have made to get adequate sanitation and safe water to the world’s poorest people”.

WaterAid has also released a new film showing what it would be like for women in the western world if they also lacked sanitation. The film can be viewed online at www.wateraid.org/1in3

November 19, 2012

Countries Mark World Toilet Day

World Toilet Organization and
Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
November 19th, 2012

Today is World Toilet Day, a day set aside not simply as a celebration, but as a way to highlight the plight of 2.5 billion people without access to a clean, private toilet.

“I give a shit, do you?” is theme of global awareness campaign.

World Toilet Day logo

19 November 2012 Geneva/Singapore: “I give a shit, do you?” is the plea of the 2012 global World Toilet Day campaign put together by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the World Toilet Organization (WTO).

Observed annually on 19 November, World Toilet Day (WTD) aims to break the taboo around toilets and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper dignified sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people continue to face.

“World Toilet Day aims to draw attention about the major impact the humble toilet has on our lives.

Access to a clean, private toilet equals health, dignity, freedom and safety” says Chris Williams, Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, a Geneva-based, United Nations hosted organization that is championing the issue. “In addition, sanitation can also be looked at as a motor for economic development. Studies show that each dollar invested in sanitation generates five dollars in return. For countries, and individuals, sanitation is one of the best investments to be made” he concludes.

The sanitation crisis is not only an affront to dignity. Hundreds of tons of feces and urine plunge each day directly into rivers, creating a human and environmental health hazard. Every twenty seconds a child dies from sanitation-related illness.

“What we don’t discuss, we can’t improve” says Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization. “Over the last 12 years World Toilet Day has become an amazing groundswell movement for everyone to support better toilets and sanitation conditions around the world. World Toilet Day has also become a day of creativity as people all over the globe celebrate it in their own style” he adds.

Designed as an online campaign, www.worldtoiletday.org, World Toilet Day wants to cast its net far and wide to get the attention of not just those working on these issues already, but also decision makers and the public.

A latrine in rural Uganda. The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

Campaigners have taken World Toilet Day to new heights – today, get involved with:
• The “World’s Longest Squat” will take place in Bettiah, Bihar, India, the culminating site off the 50-day long Nirmal Bharat Great WASH Yatra. Yatra attendees and staff will squat, like those 1.2 billion people around the world who open defecate every day because they lack a clean, private toilet, and see who can squat the longest with observers cheering on www.nirmalbharatyatra.org

• Ghana WASH Project and join route marches and dramas by school pupils http://www.ghanawashproject.org

• “Big Squats” at the University of Iowa chapter of Engineers Without Borders (USA) and at Queens University Belfast (Northern Ireland)

• SochinAction – Be the Change Exposition in Singapore (Malaysia), the world’s largest social movement by children. They are encouraged to design and innovate on to make positive changes in the world they live in crisis. http://sochinaction.com

• The Public Toilet – Domestos, in collaboration with the artists’ collective Greyworld, is supporting WTD by erecting a digital squatting sculpture in Potters Field, London (UK). You can have your face digitally uploaded on the sculpture by recording a short video or a photo of yourself at www.thepublictoilet.com

• Toilet Hackers will be celebrating World Toilet Day in New York City (USA) with a benefit reading of An Inconvenient Poop. Written by Shawn Shafner and Croft Vaughn, and directed by Scott Nogi, this reading features a talented cast with multimedia and music. All proceeds will go to Toilet Hackers’ sanitation program in Samburu, Kenya. http://callofdoodie.eventbrite.com/

• The Keep Your Promises campaign, led by End Water Poverty (EWP), launches a petition calling on governments to keep their promises on sanitation and water www.keepyourpromises.org

• The DefeatDD campaign invites you to make your sanitation wish and share it on Twitter and Facebook: http://www.defeatdd.org/take-action/world-toilet-day

November 13, 2012

More Water, Better Sanitation and Cooperation: Germany aids Zambia

Julius Mandaliza Phiri
November 13, 2012

WATER supply and sanitation in Zambia is compounded by wide discrepancies in access to an improved water foundation between urban and rural areas.

In peri-urban areas, access has been significantly expanded through the construction of water kiosks while the most important reforms have been carried out since 1989 with a focus on urban areas.

A water Kiosk in Ndirande Malawi. In places without access to clean water children and walk long distances, use dirty water from ponds and rivers or they are charged large amounts of money by water sellers.

Eleven regional commercial utilities were established to replace disjointed service provision by the Ministry of Local Governments and Housing in the country.

Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company, Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company, Nkana Water and Sewerage Company in Copperbelt Province, North-Western Water and Sewerage Company in North-Western Province, Western Water and Sewerage Company in Western Province, Southern Water and Sewerage Company in Southern Province, Eastern Water and Sewerage Company in Eastern Province, Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company in Lusaka Province, Luapula Water and Sewerage Company in Luapula Province, Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company in Central Province and Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company in Northern Province.

Nevertheless, the reform process has only partially achieved its objective of which investment levels had remain at only a fraction of what would be needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) and the level of non-revenue water remains high at 44 percent by 2010.

The investments include access to quality water and responsibility for water supply and sanitation policy.

Because of this external cooperation such as African Development Bank, Denmark, German, Japan as well as the World Bank had been investing a lot in the water sector by improving the water supply in the sub-Saharan countries from 1990s until 2008.

In 2008 only 60 percent of the population of Zambia had access to an improved source of water supply and 49 percent had access to adequate sanitation.

The water kiosks, which were first introduced in Zambia in 2006 were being operated in various townships adding that the kiosks had been erected in densely populated townships like Mchenga,Mchini, Munga,Magazine, Chisitu and Nabvutika among others.
Lack of access to water and sanitation has significant negative social impacts in particular on girls and women who were often in charge of collecting water for their villages and homes – sometimes by walking extremely long distances to do so.

Water Resources

Unlike many other countries in the region Zambia has more than adequate water resources, although during the dry season water resources may be scarce, especially in the southern part of the country.

Water scarcity is one of the world’s leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally

The annual rainfall averages between 1400 mm in the north and gradually declines to 700 mm in the south.

The country is rich in rivers, such as the transboundary Zambezi and lakes Tanganyika, Mweru and Kariba.

It is estimated that only 1.5 percent of the annual renewable water resources are being used at present.There are significant regional differences across the country with regard to place and time when water is available.

Responsibilities in the sector are clearly separated between the Ministry of Local Government and National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) which is an economic regulation and local government as well as commercial utilities owned by local government in the service provision in urban areas.

Supports

The Germany supports the water and sanitation sector in Zambia through financial cooperation carried out by KfW Development Bank and German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) being carried out.

German aid has been particularly involved in expanding services to the urban poor through water kiosks, supported via the Devolution Trust Fund (DTF).

In the Eastern Province, which currently has only a single commercial utility called Eastern Water and Sewerage Company (EWSC) the German government has been assisting in commercializing the service delivery in small towns outside of Chipata.

Through the support of KfW 520 wells have been built or rehabilitated in eight districts of the Eastern Provinces.

Sanitation facilities have been built at schools, health posts and measures to promote appropriate hygiene behavior have been supported.

Recently the Germany government announced that it would provide Eastern Province with K106.5 billion under the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation programme.

The three-phase project will utilize K46.5 billion towards the improvement of the water infrastructure in the towns through the Eastern Water and Sewerage Company (EWSC).

Former Germany ambassador Frank Meyke disclosed the development during the handover of the EWSC water treatment plant in Petauke that his government would make available the funds in three phases to Urban Water Supply and Sanitation being implemented by the provincial water utility.

Ambassador Meyke said the K46.5 billion will be made in the first phase towards the water infrastructure in the towns of Petauke, Lundazi, Mambwe and Chama respectively.

He said the works will include the drilling of boreholes, installation of pumps, construction of storage reservoirs, laying of pipes, construction of water kiosks, and rehabilitation of sanitation facilities in school s and hospitals as well as maintenance works on Lundazi Dam.

Ambassador Meyke said the project would benefit 100,000 people many of whom would enjoy such services for the first time.
“In Eastern Province, a total of K106.5 billion will be made available in three phases to Urban Water Supply and Sanitation. At the end of the first phase, K46.5 billion will be disbursed to improve water infrastructure in the towns of Petauke, Lundazi, Chama and Mambwe,” he said.

The project would soon go into the second phase in the towns of Chadiza, Nyimba, Katete and Chipata.

Ambassador Meyke said beside the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation programme in Eastern Province, German also supported the rural sector where close to 2000 water points were constructed, reaching approximately 600,000 rural people.

He said the value of the projects amounted to a total sum of K177 billion in the province.
The envoy said at the recent Government negotiations on development cooperation between the two governments that in November last year a total of K215 billion was committed for future support to the Zambian water and sanitation sector.

Ambassador Meyke said 880 million Euros had been provided under the German-Zambia Development Cooperation for over 40 years, saying the bulk of this had been allocated to the water and sanitation sector.
He said German would continue supporting Zambia in increasing access to safe drinking water and to improved sanitation facilities.

He said through the improvement of water and sanitation, Zambia would be assisted to achieve some of the MDGs by 2015.
Eastern Province Minister Charles Banda in a speech read for him by Permanent Secretary Hlobotha Nkunika commended Germany for the support being rendered to Zambia.

He was happy that the cooperation between the two countries in the water sector dated back to the 1990s when the Government of Zambia commenced the water sector reform programme.

“The Germany Government has been key to the success of the water sector through the support it has given to Southern and North-Western Water and Sewerage Companies, NWASCO and to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing,” the minister said.
He said the Zambian Government was committed to continue the steadfast sector reforms of 1994 implementation of the water sector and the concept of commercialization.

Banda however said the Government was aware that EWSC was owed K3.5 billion in outstanding water bills by various departments.
He directed all Government departments with outstanding water bills to liquidate them or face disconnection by the water supply company.

November 5, 2012

Kenya: Nanyuki Water Supply and Sanitation Progress Choked

Lillian Onyango
November 05, 2012

The running of Nanyuki’s water and sewerage services changed five years ago. The town’s water supply and sanitation status has considerably improved but its progress is being chocked.

Francis Maina is the Managing Director at Nanyuki Water and Sewerage Services Limited (Nawasco). For the last three years that he held the position, he says he is restricted in giving his best to the company.

Water services in Nanyuki, like all other towns in Kenya, were run by Municipal Councils Water and Sewerage departments. Later, with the enactment of the Water Act in 2002, the municipals had to form companies to run this function on their behalf.

Nawasco was formed in 2006 but only started its operations a year later yet its customers have refused to appreciate the change.

“If you were to go into town now and ask around, the people will tell you the council provides the water services. They see the company as part of the council,” Mr Maina said.
But that is not the half of its troubles.

Nawasco has found its hands tied when it discovered there is a limit to the things they can and cannot do.

“There are things mandated for the board and for the company to do, and they need to be very clear. The intention was good but there was one area left hanging – the transfer of assets,” he told WIN/TI Reporter during an interview at his offices.

He explained that with the assets tied elsewhere, their operations have consequently been affected and almost defeating the purpose of the change.

Also, the agreement bears a political twist such that Nawasco is owned by the council through its shareholding and it still has good control of the water services.

Political operations also comes in Nawasco’s way, the MD said politicians, who are shareholder, determine some of the major policies. This makes it difficult for the company to change some provisions.

“Like we have to implement the Corporate Governance Guidelines and it would take changing details in the Memorandum of Understanding, Articles of Association in line with those guidelines, which has to be done by the shareholders,” Mr Maina said.

Effects of this would trickle down to the customer when the company is red-flagged in the industry causing, giving it a hard time getting funding for its projects that is customers have heavily gained from.

But it is not all gloom.

According to Mr Maina, one of their bigger gains is that they have managed to widen their client base. It now boasts of a number of about 3,000 newly connected customers in the last three years.

When Nawasco took over, it had about 4,000 customers and the number later grew to 6,500 in 2009 and the company’s area of scope is not limited to the town. It also covers the peri-urban regions and its environs.

“Nanyuki is engulfed by boundaries and since we are the only ones providing water we cross about five kilometres into Nyeri and into Meru,” he explained adding that they cover an area of up to 142km2.

Revenue collection is another area in which they have gained ground. The company is now “more vigilant” and has recovered most of the money that had been inaccessible through unpaid bills.

“When it was the council running the show, there was something like political protection on some people and government institutions,” Mr Maina explained.

He went on to add: “Now we are working on commercial terms and have to collect our revenue. Otherwise, we will not be able to operate.”

This goes to explain how Nawasco’s collection revenue shot to almost 95 per cent from 65 per cent.

Also, they have been beneficiaries of grants, mainly from the Water Service Trust Fund.

Since 2009, Nawasco has received almost Sh90 million to undertake projects, which he termed as “pro-poor”. “In that time we wrote proposals on helping the poor get water services and got the funding,” said Mr Maina.

So far, the money has gone into serving slums, informal sectors, public sanitation and extending its sewerage coverage.

Areas such as Likii and Rukuma have received a water storage tank and are currently going through the piping process to ensure efficient supply. And in Temu, the company installed a sewerage line.

“This was a matter of environmental concern the area is very near Nanyuki River and had no sewerage. So what was happening was that whenever the septic tanks and pit latrines flow, they would finally drain into the river,” Mr Maina clarified.

The company has built a block of public toilets and is in the process of constructing three others.
They also constructed two water kiosks to assist welfare groups make some money while selling the water at affordable rates.

The issue of illegal connections was nipped in the bud when Nawasco re-laid the pipes, making it difficult for people to make their own connections and made them visible for subsequent connections.

Nanyuki gets its water from Mount Kenya, which towers over the town’s horizon and guarantees it off an almost-all-year-round water supply except for three months during the dry season.

%d bloggers like this: