Archive for February, 2013

February 24, 2013

Africa: Hundreds of Thousands of People to Walk For Water and Sanitation

WaterSan Perspective
February 23, 2013

Hundreds of thousands of Africans will join with people across the world to take action to call for an end to the water and sanitation crisis on the 20th anniversary of World Water Day on Friday 22nd of March.

To mark this moment, the World Walks for Water and Sanitation campaign have released a new film to inspire the public everywhere to join the world’s largest global mass mobilisation movement for change. The video can be viewed at www.worldwalksforwater.org.

wwfwas logo 2013

wwfwas logo 2013

In Sub-Saharan Africa today, 330 million Africans (39% of the population) are without access to clean water. While a staggering 600 million go without safe sanitation – 70% of the population. Every year 400,000 African children under the age of five die from diarrhoeal diseases brought about from a lack of these services.

With a month to go, over 170,000 people are already planning to take part in walks in 25 countries including in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar.

They will be walking in solidarity with the millions of Africans – overwhelmingly women and children – who walk great distances each day to collect water for their basic needs and who have no safe place to go to the toilet.

The World Walks for Water and Sanitation events are part of the Keep Your Promises campaign, which calls on governments to honor the commitments they have made to finance and provide access to these basic human needs.

In Sierra Leone, over 2,500 people will be taking part in walks across the country, including in Freetown. The Minister for the recently established Ministry for Water Resources, Hon. Momodu Elongima Maligie, has been invited to attend.

Over 300 young people will be joining a walk in Nairobi organised by the International Youth Council.

Liberia CSOs WASH Network is planning a three day sit-in and petition action at the Ministries of Health, Lands and Mines and Public Works. They’re planning to collect 15,000 signatures calling for promises to be kept.

10,000 people are planning to walk in Ghana whilst 3,000 people will walk in Malawi.

Natasha Horsfield, a coordinator of the campaign added: “It’s time to tell world leaders that it’s not acceptable for 2,000 children to be dying every day because they don’t have clean drinking water or a safe place to go to the toilet.”

The World Walks for Water and Sanitation calls on people across Africa to join the thousands of campaigners walking to demand political leaders keep their promises on sanitation and water this World Water Day. Organise your own walk or join one near you.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

February 24, 2013

Uganda: AWF Offers a $1m Grant To Promotion of Sanitation

Patrick Kabatereine
February 24, 2013

The African Water Facility offered a 1 million euro grant to efforts dedicated to providing affordable and sustainable sanitation services to over 100,000 urban poor living in Kawempe Municipality, in Kampala, Uganda.

The funds go to the Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI) to support their Kawempe Urban Poor Sanitation Improvement Project (KUPSIP)

By expanding sanitation coverage and reducing environmental pollution, the KUPSIP is expected to help improve the health of slum dwellers and decrease the mortality rate of children under five. In particular, this will be achieved by reducing the spread of cholera and diarrheal diseases, which is 23 per cent higher in households where facilities are inadequate and in areas where human waste disposal is improperly managed.

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

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

More specifically, the grant will support provision of sanitation facilities for households, schools and the public in poor urban areas; delivery of pro-poor sanitation financing for accessing affordable and improved sanitation infrastructure; definition of a sustainable fecal sludge management and safe reuse strategy and promoting of collaboration with the private sector to identify and market affordable and consumer-friendly sanitation technologies.

Others are dissemination of targeted information, education and communication to promote better hygiene practices and generation and dissemination of knowledge products covering the entire sanitation chain through collaboration with agronomical research institutions.

The AWF grant will cover 74 per cent of the total project cost, while CIDI and collaborating partners will meet the balance of 26 per cent in form of financial and in-kind contributions.

Poor Sanitation and hygiene remains one of dangerous threats to good health in most Africa’s towns

Poor Sanitation and hygiene remains one of dangerous threats to good health in most Africa’s towns

The project will be executed by CIDI in partnership with Kawempe Municipality of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the National Water and Sewerage Cooperation (NWSC) and should be completed by the end of 2015.

February 15, 2013

African Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Networks Endorse Continental Force

Lum Edith Achamukong
February 15, 2013

The Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet) has been endorsed as the continental force that will henceforth coordinate, facilitate and strengthen the exchange of information and knowledge in fostering strategic planning on adaptation to climate change.

The network was authorized during a workshop hosted at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi Kenya on 05-06 February 2013. About 70 representatives from some 20 regional adaptation knowledge platforms and other organizations were unanimous on the pressing need for a “continental network for Adaptation in Africa”

The regional adaptation networks emphasized that Knowledge has a critical role in supporting, planning and the implementation of climate change Adaptation projects. However, such knowledge is shrouded by challenges such as fragmentation, lack of alignment of practices, insufficient understanding of end users and overlaps.

Delegates at AAKNet technical Workshop

Delegates at AAKNet technical Workshop

AAKNet was thus given the mandate to build new alliances in order to enhance collaboration and innovation, to harmonize and aggregate knowledge in useable packages tailored for addressing particular climate risks and building capacity so as to provide short, midterm and long-term solutions to climate change.

The delegates called on the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), an organ of the African Union (AU), to recognize AAKNet and give it legal and political status to steer adaptation efforts.

Speaking during the workshop, the Director of the Africa Regional Office of UNEP Dr.Mounkaila Goumandakoye said harnessing knowledge is vital because Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the impacts of climate change.

He assured the delegates that resource mobilization is underway to implement their recommendations given that susceptible areas of the continent like the Sahel and the Horn of Africa are not only having difficulties adapting to climate change but are equally experiencing conflict.

Dr.Mounkaila called for the networks to bridge the gap between policy and science and aim at concrete action because ten out of the eight top polluters have increased their emissions while six out of the ten fast growing economies are from Africa.

The workshop was held just after the Eighteenth Conference of Parties (COP18) that took place in Doha which injected some energy and momentum in advancing the adaptation agenda.

February 15, 2013

UNFCCC Expands Efforts to Increase Regional Distribution of Clean Development Mechanism Projects

Charlotte Agume Asiimwe and
Vera Nshemeire
February 15, 2013

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat and the East African Development Bank (EADB) have signed a partnership agreement to establish a regional collaboration centre in Kampala, Uganda in an effort to increase participation in clean development mechanism (CDM) projects.

The partnership agreement was signed by the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, and the Director General of EADB, Vivienne Yeda.

UNFCCC boss Christiana Figueres speaks during the function for awarding awards to winners of the UNFCCC/CDM African Radio Contest 2012 at Qatar Convention Center. By Fredrick Mugira

UNFCCC boss Christiana Figueres speaks during the function for awarding awards to winners of the UNFCCC/CDM African Radio Contest 2012 at Qatar Convention Center. By Fredrick Mugira

This is the second regional collaboration centre established by the UNFCCC and a regional development bank in Africa with the aim to bring the benefits of the CDM to currently under-represented regions. The first centre, which was established a few months ago in Lomé, Togo in collaboration with the Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (BOAD), provides assistance in the development of CDM projects in Francophone Africa.

“The two regional collaboration centres in Lomé and Kampala are designed to help Africa increase its attractiveness and potential for CDM. Our goal is to build capacity, reduce the risk for investors in such projects and help make the continent an increasingly attractive destination for CDM projects,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres.

The office in Kampala will be operational as of 1 May 2013. Besides hosting the office, the EADB is also expected to provide personnel, as well as administrative and logistical support. Commenting on the collaboration, EADB Director General Vivienne Yeda lauded the partnership between the two organizations, saying it will help bring sustainable development in the region.

“This partnership with UNFCCC is key for us at EADB as we invest in sustainable development and seek to ensure sustainability in all our operations. We hope that the new office will help increase the regional distribution of CDM projects in East Africa where there is an acute need for sustainable development,” said Ms Yeda.

The new office in Kampala is expected to enhance capacity-building and provide hands-on support to governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses interested in developing CDM projects in more than 20 countries in the region. Among the countries that can seek support from the new office are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

“There is a great deal of untapped potential for CDM in Africa. The regional collaboration centres aim to tap the potential of carbon offset projects on the continent,” said Peer Stiansen, Chair of the CDM Executive Board.

Uganda, where the new office will be established, is one of the Least Developed Countries that is leading by example as it has already reaped sustainable development and other benefits from the CDM. There are currently 12 projects and four programmes of activities (PoAs) registered under the CDM in the country.

The regional collaboration centres are intended to support the identification of CDM projects, provide assistance for the design of such projects, address issues identified by validators, and offer opportunities to reduce transaction costs.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

February 15, 2013

Uganda: Implement Environmental Laws, Bishop Tells Government

Chris Mugasha
February 15, 2013

The Ugandan government has been challenged by the church of Uganda to embark on the implementation of environmental laws to penalize those who have degraded the environment especially by turning wetlands into farms.

The bishop of West Ankole Diocese the Rt Rev Yona Katoneene expresses his concern saying, “if we continue talking without implementing the existing laws by acting there is nothing we are going to achieve.”

A woman with a Jerry Can struggling to locate where to fetch water from in the degraded Kikondera wetland in Buhweju district of Uganda. Picture by Chris Mugasha

A woman with a Jerry Can struggling to locate where to fetch water from in the degraded Kikondera wetland in Buhweju district of Uganda. Picture by Chris Mugasha

He attributes continued water shortages in various parts of the country to encroachment on wetlands noting that, “the population is growing and the damage being inflicted on environment will affect the next generation.”

“Time is going to come when the weather is going to change and people will not be accessing water,” laments Bishop Katonene

He appeals to government to intensify messages of patriotism so that every Ugandan can preserve natural resources.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

February 15, 2013

Uganda: Water Shortages Trigger Domestic Problems

Chris Mugasha
February 15, 2013

Water scarcity in some parts of Uganda has led to increased domestic violence in homes.

One of the worst affected is Bushenyi district in the southwestern region.

Wills Bashasha- the Bushenyi district chairperson says that the water shortage in the district had led to many women being beaten by their husbands, while others are allegedly raped as they travel far off places to collect water from shallow wells.

Women in Uganda carrying water from a shallow well  in plastic jerricans

Women in Uganda carrying water from a shallow well in plastic jerricans

He now wants households with iron-roofed houses to construct water harvesting tanks as a measure to reduce on causes of domestic violence in homes.

Bashasha notes that it’s a shame to find people carrying jerry cans of water collected from far off wetlands and swamps despite the fact that such water could have been tapped during the downpour before flowing off to the wetlands.

He explains that the issue of lack of water in some homes has contributed to domestic violence with women and children being the victims.

According to Bashasha, some children’s academic performance especially those in day-schooling has greatly been affected which he attributed to water stress at home.

“They go to schools after walking long distances while chasing for water and as a result they reach at school when they are already stressed and tired,” Bashasha notes.

He says they have already started a campaign to encourage people and institutions with permanent houses to construct water tanks that harvest water from roofs.

Bashasha articulates that they are trying to reach development partners to come and help the vulnerable families especially the elderly by constructing water harvesting tanks for them.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

February 1, 2013

Uganda: Destruction and Privatization of Wetlands Heighten

Chris Mugasha
February 01, 2013

Wetlands were 13 percent of Uganda’s area, but in a short time they have shrunk to 11 percent. The level of wetlands destruction is very visible.

Wetlands cover about 13% of the total area of Uganda, with permanent wetlands covering approximately 7,296 square kilometers, and seasonal wetlands covering about 2,809 sq. km. A total of 2,376.4 sq. km of wetlands have been encroached upon and reclaimed in Uganda today. This implies that almost all the seasonal wetlands in the country have been encroached upon and reclaimed for human settlements, industry and agriculture.

One of the worst affected is Orusindura wetland along the Ishaka-Kitagata-Ntungamo road.

The wetland which is the only source of water in the area is facing extinction as it has continued to disappear due to human encroachment.

Our reporter Chris Mugasha took the following pictures showing Orusindura wetland destruction:

Orusindura wetland destruction

Orusindura wetland destruction

Orusindura wetland destruction

Orusindura wetland destruction

Orusindura wetland destruction

Orusindura wetland destruction

February 1, 2013

President Sirleaf: World Loses $260 Billion from Poor Water and Sanitation

WaterSan Perspective
February 01, 2013

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued a stark warning to the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel that is meeting this week to address the future of international poverty reduction efforts, noting that economic losses due to poor water and sanitation access globally are costing $260 billion (US) every year.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The President, one of three co-Chairs of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, stated on Wednesday (30 January 2013) that:
“$260 billion in economic losses annually is directly linked to inadequate water supply and sanitation around the world. We must take this issue more seriously.”

“All too often access to adequate sanitation in particular is seen as an outcome of development, rather than a driver of economic development and poverty reduction. South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore in the 1960’s and 1970’s demonstrated the potential for boosting economic development by addressing sanitation.”

The President’s comments came during the High-level Panel meeting in Monrovia which was broadly focused on the theme of “economic transformation”.

The Panel, which includes 27 leaders from government, the private sector and civil society, is co-chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Sirleaf.

The group is tasked with producing a report in May to the Secretary-General containing recommendations for a development agenda for the world.

The current Millennium Development Goal targets on water and sanitation have had starkly differing levels of progress and political and financial support. While the drinking water target – to halve the proportion of people worldwide without access to safe drinking water – was met five years early in 2010, the sanitation goal is decades off track. Progress in Africa specifically is even worse with sub-Saharan Africa expected to meet this goal a century and a half late.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

Girish Menon, Director of International Programmes for the international water and sanitation charity WaterAid, said:
“The High Level Panel must grasp this unique opportunity to put together an ambitious vision for eradicating poverty in our time. For this aspiration to be realised there must be a central focus on achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene.”

“International efforts on the existing Millennium Development Goals have shown us that to succeed in areas like education, child health and gender equality progress on access to water, sanitation and hygiene is crucial. Integrating these approaches will be the key to success.”

Liberia is in many ways typical of sub-Saharan African countries, with access to safe drinking water at 73% of the population, far exceeding levels of access to decent sanitation, at only 18%. The average across sub-Saharan Africa to these services sits at 61% for water but just 30% for sanitation.

President Sirleaf, who is also Goodwill Ambassador for water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa, also stated:
“Without more progress in providing access to safe water and effective sanitation, children will continue to miss school, health costs will continue to be a drag on national economies, adults will continue to miss work, and women and girls, and it’s almost always women and girls, will continue to spend hours every day fetching water, typically from dirty sources.”

According to a 2012 WaterAid report, the lives of 2.5 million people around the world would be saved every year if everybody had access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

WaterAid Logo

WaterAid Logo

The international charity has also highlighted that if governments meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of their population without sanitation by 2015 the lives of 400,000 children under the age of five will be saved around the world – over 100,000 in Nigeria, and 66,000 in India alone.

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