Archive for November, 2013

November 20, 2013

COP19/CMP9: Africa Faces Financial Shortage to Adapt To Climate Change

VIOLET MENGO
20 November 2013

Africa faces huge financial challenges in adapting to climate change, according to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report launched yesterday.

The report spells out the costs that will be faced if governments fail to close the greenhouse gas “emissions gap” between current 2020 emissions reduction pledges and what’s needed to keep warming below 2°C.

Due to current climate change caused by past emissions, Africa is already committed to adaptation costs in the range of US$7 to 15 billion per year by 2020.

These costs will rise rapidly after 2020, since higher levels of warming result in higher costs and damages.

While addressing the Conference of Parties this morning at COP19/CMP9 in Warsaw, Zambia’s Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Harry Kalaba highlighted among other things the need for a clear pathway on long term finance, institutional mechanism to address loss and damage, adaptation, mitigation technology and capacity building.

Zambia’s Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Harry Kalaba addressing the Conference of Parties this morning at COP19/CMP9 in Warsaw. Picture by VIOLET MENGO.

Zambia’s Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Harry Kalaba addressing the Conference of Parties this morning at COP19/CMP9 in Warsaw. Picture by VIOLET MENGO.

Meanwhile, tomorrow 21 November is an important day for cities and regions as they gather for the first ever “Cities Day” at the on-going UN Warsaw Climate Conference (COP19/CMP9).

A joint initiative of the COP Presidency, the UNFCCC Secretariat, the City of Warsaw, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and partners, the “Cities Day” bundles a series of city-focused events that will showcase and spark local climate action.

The Cities Day will kick off with a dialogue between Mayors and Ministers on how cities can contribute to global efforts on scaling up climate actions.

This will be followed by ICLEI’s session on raising the level of ambition through local climate action and UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change Urban Poor Pillar Lighthouse Activities.

November 20, 2013

COP19/CMP9: Somalia Must Not Be Forgotten

Atayi Babs
November 20, 2013

Negotiators at the ongoing Climate conference in Warsaw, Poland have been urged not to relegate the severity of the tropical cyclone that killed over 100 people in Somali region of Puntland last week.

Leaders of African civil society organisations under the umbrella of Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) made this declaration today as the climate conference enters its final week.

Map of Puntland

Map of Puntland

In the wake of the typhoon Haiyan tragedy that killed thousands in Philippines, a tropical cyclone hit the north-eastern Somali region of Puntland and killed up to 100 people, displacing thousands. The strong winds, heavy rains and flash floods that hit the semi-autonomous region destroyed homes, buildings, boats and entire villages were lost with over 100,000 livestock missing, endangering the livelihoods of tens of thousands of local people.

While commiserating with the Somalis as well as the Philippines, the Alliance urged Negotiators at the conference to ensure that the Somalian tragedy receives the deserved attention as well as fire negotiations on immediate and deep emission cuts and changes to the development pathways, Climate Finance and Technology Transfer commitments, global emissions budget and equity, and institutionalized compensatory framework for impacted people should be addressed without further delay.

Flag of Puntland

Flag of Puntland

PACJA’s Mithika Mwenda warned that “we must not forget the 10,000 lives affected by the storm in Somalia. One more death due to climate disasters is unacceptable to Africans and we must all commit to more ambitious, bolder and bigger greenhouse gas reduction targets in Warsaw!”

The Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a continental coalition of Civil Society Organizations from diverse backgrounds in Africa, has emerged as the most vibrant and largest Civil Society platform on climate change and sustainable development.

With a membership of more than 500 organizations and networks, the Alliance brings together Faith-based Organizations, Farmers and Pastoralists` Groups, Community-based organizations, Non-Governmental organizations, Trusts, Foundations, among other sectors with a common goal of promoting and advocating for Pro-poor, climate-friendly and equity-based responses to climate change.

November 15, 2013

Winners of the International Water Essay Competition Announced

WaterSan Perspective
November 15, 2013

The winners of the first ever International Water Essay Competition have been revealed.

The competition was organized by the University “Politehnica” of Bucharest – Faculty of Power Engineering in collaboration with the Romanian Water Association and the International Water Association – Romanian Young Water Professionals. The winners were team Number Eight.

The winning team included: George Dragomir (Romania), Albert Nkwasa (Uganda), Bianca Pricope (Romania), Georgiana Radu (Romania). Their essay ventured into the ‘Future in obtaining alternative fuels from wastewater treatment processes.’

For their winning essay, each member of the winning team gets a Samsung GALAXY Tab 2 and a 1TB External Hard Drive.

Water Essay 2013 Logo

Water Essay Competition 2013 Logo

Up to Eight teams of four members from different countries participated in elaborating essays on required topics for two weeks

Team number four : Andrei Anastasiu (Romania), Amira Gogoanta (Romania), Kunakey Komlan (Burkina Faso), Anca Rotaru (Romania) came in the second position. Their essay concentrated on ‘Using nanotechnologies in wastewater treatment.’ Each members of this group wins a 1TB External Hard Drive.

In the third position was Team number Three. This included: Elena Isac (Moldavia), Razvan Roman (Romania), Denisa Stancu (Romania), Laura Stanescu (Romania). Their essay concentrated on ‘Cyanide hazards from gold mining to water issues.’ Each member of this team takes home a USB memory stick of 64 GB.

The three winning teams were awarded prizes by Mr. Prof. George Darie – Rector of the University “Politehnica” of Bucharest.

The essays were evaluated by four criteria: innovation, clarity, presentation and contents. The jury was composed of five recognized experts with extensive experience in research and design water industry.

Certificates of participation were presented to the competitors with promotional products offered by sponsors, by Prof. PhD. Eng. Constantin Bulac – Dean of the Faculty of Power Engineering and Mrs. Prof. PhD. Eng. Diana Robescu, organizer of the event.

One of the coordinators of these competitions, Assist. PhD. Eng. Elena Manea – the Faculty of Power Engineering – University Politehnica of Bucharest and Chair of Romanian Young Water Professionals says the competition aimed at, “giving the students and young professionals an opportunity to cooperate in mixed teams in a move to develop their knowledge based on each other’s experiences. It was also an opportunity for the participants to develop their ability to speak in public; an aspect I think most of the young professionals have gaps in and meet experienced professionals.”

Dr. Eng. Elena Manea, one of the coordinators of the competition.

Dr. Eng. Elena Manea, one of the coordinators of the competition.

Dr. Elena describes such competition as, “an easy way to promote the young professionals and their capacities.”

The competition was related to the International Conference on Energy and Environment. This year’s topic is ‘Smart solutions for water industry’.

November 12, 2013

COP19/CMP9: AFRICAN CSOs DEMAND FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF AGREEMENTS

Atâyi Babs and
Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC.)
November 12, 2013

Civil society groups across Africa demanded that developed countries fulfill and implement their commitments under the UN climate convention, in order to fairly share a necessary ’emissions budget’, and avoid catastrophic climate change.

At a press conference held immediately after the opening session of the 19th session of the UN Warsaw Climate Conference, the group said that Africa is in the frontline for climate change impacts.

“We watch with horror what has happened in the Philippines, and know that it is happening in our homes too.” Mithika Mwenda, the Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), said.

“I don’t know how rich countries can ignore the facts being screamed by mother nature, nor the cries being made by the world’s poor – the time has come to cut climate changing causing emissions and to cut them deep,” Mwende said.

Mithika Mwenda, the Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance

Mithika Mwenda, the Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance

“Africans expect our governments to stand firm on setting an emissions budget, as recommended by the IPCC. They must then share this budget fairly, based on historical responsibility and capacities.” Said Dr. Habtemariam Abate, from Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change.

“These negotiations are about the emissions budget, whether governments admit it or not, they either negotiate to share that budget fairly, or they plan to exceed it,” Dr Abate added.

“African civil society has strong and clear proposals for how to deliver energy to those who do not have it whilst avoiding the trap of dirty fossil fuels and therefore allowing us to live within the emissions budget. Proposals include a globally funded feed in tariff – we expect such a measure to be adopted here in Warsaw,” Azeb Girmai, from LDC Watch, said.

“Warsaw can be the moment the world chooses clean over dirty energy and Africa will be leading in that choice,” Girmai, said. “African people need an international mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change. That’s the reality. We see it every day. Perhaps the rich only see it on television – well they need to turn it on, watch it, learn, and then take responsibility for the suffering their emissions have caused.” Robert Chimambo, from Zambia Climate Change Network, said.

“The best agreement on Earth won’t make a difference without implementation in the real world. That’s why a clear outcome in Warsaw must be drastically scaled up climate finance and technology transfer. Only if those commitments are met can African governments really believe that the rich world plans to act in good faith on any future agreement.” Said Agnes Banda from Malawi, one of the most vulnerable countries.

opening session of the 19th session of the UN Warsaw Climate Conference

opening session of the 19th session of the UN Warsaw Climate Conference

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance released several briefs outlining their analysis, shared with other civil society observers, on the issues of: Equity Markets Pledge and Review (form of the post-2020 agreement) Global Feed in Tariff.

November 8, 2013

Rotary and UNESCO-IHE Partnership to Train Future Water Leaders

WaterSan Perspective
November 08, 2013

Building on the success of the Rotary and UNESCO-IHE partnership to train future water leaders, the second class of students – 16 in total – began graduate studies last month at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the premier postgraduate water education institution in the world.

The first class of Rotary sponsored scholars, who began their studies in October 2012, successfully completed their first year of an 18-month Masters of Science degree program at UNESCO-IHE, a United Nations Institute in Delft, The Netherlands. They are now embarking on a six-month thesis period. After graduation in April 2014, the scholars’ expertise will be put to work improving water and sanitation conditions in their own communities with projects the scholars and sponsoring Rotary members will design and implement together in their respective countries of Argentina, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Ghana.

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

“Students finished a year of challenging class work and are beginning their 6-month research component on issues of water management,” said Michael McClain, professor at UNESCO-IHE. “After completion of their thesis projects, students will be ready to enter into the broader water management area and focus on the more important issues of bringing people, water, and economic development together,” said Dr. Michael McClain.

“I will work at the National University as a lecturer and consultant, training future water professionals and contributing to public interests,” said Gonzalo Duró from Argentina, a student from the first Rotary/UNESCO-IHE class. “Based on the idea that the future generation is key to start a change in how humanity uses water in an increasingly challenging world, our plan is to build a traveling educational program to educate kids on water care.”

Rotary International Logo

Rotary International Logo

Through this unique partnership, Rotary is providing more than funds for scholarships. Rotary clubs and Rotary members are mentoring students both in their home country as well as during their stay at UNESCO-IHE in The Netherlands. These relationships and networks will enable the students to effectively implement their skills upon return to their home country.

“These highly motivated individuals are fully committed to raising the standards of water sanitation in their home country,” said Henk Jaap Kloosterman, member of the Rotary Club of Voorburg-Vliet, The Netherlands. “With their dedication and with the support of the local and sponsoring Rotary clubs – they will deliver tangible results and save lives.”

According to a joint report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. About 884 million obtain water for drinking, cooking, and washing from unprotected sources. Waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, claim nearly two million lives a year, most of them children under age five. The continuous task of fetching water keeps millions of people, especially women and girls, from going to school and holding productive jobs. Improved water and sanitation is key to reversing this trend.

“I am proud of the partnership between Rotary International and UNESCO-IHE in developing the capacities of young professionals in countries and regions where they are needed the most,” said András Szöllösi-Nagy, Rector of UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. “Safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation are vital factors in human health and quality of life. But much knowledge and capacities are needed to build strong local and regional education and research environments and adequate institutions to enable sustainable change.”

“In Uganda, a number of water supply systems have collapsed due to poor design, poor operation and maintenance structure,” said Hilary Muhereza, one of the 16 scholars to start in October who plans to tackle the issue in her home country of Uganda. “There is a lack of technical expertise especially in flood risk management to mitigate the problem. Uganda lacks professionals in the water industry to work with new technologies and tools such as web based information and knowledge networks.”

Men constructing a water tank in Uganda for rainwater harvesting

Men constructing a water tank in Uganda for rainwater harvesting

The Rotary Scholarships for Water and Sanitation Professionals was established in 2011 to address the world’s water and sanitation crisis and promote long-term productive relationships between Rotary members and highly skilled water and sanitation professionals in their communities. Through this strategic partnership, The Rotary Foundation – the charitable arm of Rotary International – provides grants to Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor students each year for scholarships to any of three 18-month Master of Science degree programs at UNESCO-IHE including: MSc in Urban Water and Sanitation, MSc in Water Management, MSc in Water Science and Engineering.

November 8, 2013

UK Company Launches New Sanitation Solutions

WaterSan Perspective Reporters
November 08, 2013

The UK’s largest garden building manufacturer, Dunster House Ltd, has announced that it is targeting the African marketplace to become a supplier in the near future, of their unique sanitation solutions.

“We believe that with the right distribution network, we could bring our unique off grid solutions to the African marketplace in order to contribute to providing sanitation and energy solutions, which are sustainable and eco-friendly,” said Company director Chris Murphy.

Dunster House Ltd, based in the UK, has designed the ‘Devco Eco Compost Toilets’ as an alternative option that can allow the users to recycle waste for use in compost or as plant fertilizers. The company are also exhibiting their ‘sanitation solutions’ at the AidEx exhibition in Belgium in November.

DEVCO Eco Composting Toilet

DEVCO Eco Composting Toilet

The ‘Devco Eco-Composting Toilets’ are timber built outhouses with a urine diversion system to enable the collection and storage of waste for future use.

Company director Chris Murphy explained that there are a variety of potential uses and locations where a waterless toilet can be implemented and offer a sanitation solution.

“Without the need for water; our composting toilets offer a sustainable solution for many rural or remote locations where sewer and water connection is too expensive or unavailable.” He said.

The toilet has been designed to separate waste to allow for users to collect it for potential recyclable purposes if the correct procedures are followed.

Two waste collection bins are provided underneath the toilet, which can be swapped to allow for the drying process once the first bin is full. Urine can be diverted into a separate container or into a soak-away in the ground outside of the building.

Chris added that ‘Urine is high in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which if diluted correctly could be used as a valuable fertilizer supplement whilst growing plants; whereas faeces can be reused if dried for a significant period of time to eliminate pathogens.”

With factories, distribution and manufacturing sites in the UK, Estonia, Hungary and Poland; Dunster House Ltd is an international company with a growing export division reflecting the company’s expansion.

The Inside Part of DevCo Eco Composting Toilet

The Inside Part of DevCo Eco Composting Toilet

The company is currently searching for experienced trade partners with widespread network capabilities with whom they could partner with.

The company are exhibiting their ‘sanitation solutions’ at the Aidex exhibition in Belgium between 13 – 14th November.

For more information regarding the company’s Eco Toilets and export opportunities visit www.dunsterhouse.com

November 8, 2013

AfDB Injects 5.4 Million USD in South Sudan Water Sector

WaterSan Perspective Reporters and
African Press Organization
November 8, 2013

The African Development Bank Group has approved a grant for an assessment study of a water supply and sanitation program for 11 small and medium-sized towns in South Sudan.

The USD 5.4 million grant, extended from the Fragile States Facility, will benefit some 170,000 people living in those 11 towns.

African Development Bank Logo

African Development Bank Logo

The low levels of access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation coupled with poor hygiene awareness has been the principal cause of water-related diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and guinea worm in the country. Despite the availability of surface and ground water resources in South Sudan, two out of three people in the country do not have access to safe and potable water services whereas eight out of 10 people do not have access to adequate sanitation.

The grant will finance the feasibility study and detailed designs for water supply and sanitation infrastructure facilities in the identified towns. In order to address the sustainability of the planned infrastructure and operations, a framework for capacity building of sector institutions within the study area will be developed. Based on an integrated approach, the study will address the challenges to sustainable provision of water supply and sanitation services in a holistic manner.

The study will cover aspects of water resources management, knowledge management and capacity building among local institutions as well as facilities for monitoring and evaluation.

The study is anticipated to be concluded in September 2015 and the knowledge generated will enrich the AfDB’s continued learning process, and its support to African countries, especially in fragile states.

The 11 towns selected for the study are: Fangak, Mbili, Jikou, Leer, Ayod, Gokmachar, Tonj, Mundri, Cueibet, Terekeka and Kapoeta.

Competition for water resources is perceived by a majority of countries to have increased over the past 20 years

Competition for water resources is perceived by a majority of countries to have increased over the past 20 years

On account of the impact of lack of access to water, South Sudan Government has labeled the water supply and sanitation sector as an extremely high priority and a key entry point to its development objectives. The water sector is therefore one of the top six expenditure priorities as articulated in all the Government’s key strategy documents.

The study outcome will be ready to finance and implement project documents for the identified priority 11 towns in South Sudan. This will provide opportunities for the government to access investment funding for water and sanitation infrastructure development, for which the AfDB will be ready to provide the support.

November 8, 2013

Abidjan to Host a High Level Forum on Water and Sanitation for All in Africa

WaterSan Perspective and
African Press Organization
November 8, 2013

A High Level Forum on water and sanitation for all in Africa kick off November 21 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire presenting an unprecedented opportunity for potential investors in water, sanitation and affordable housing businesses in Africa.

The forum will assemble Heads of States, Finance Ministers, Water and Sanitation Ministers, investors and donors from southern countries and also from the north, private businesses and trade associations from Africa, and development practitioners with a focus on identifying business opportunities in the water and sanitation sector.

Water and Sanitation for Africa Logo

Water and Sanitation for Africa Logo

Africa is among the fastest growing regions of the world with an average growth of 5.6% per year. Africa is also fast gaining increasing access to international capital, meaning that the potential for investment and expansion in infrastructure is higher.

Africa’s growth is largely constrained by poor infrastructure. A study conducted by the African Development Bank estimated that the total cost of bridging Africa’s infrastructure gap over the next decade will be about $93 million a year.

In 1980, Africa’s urban population was estimated at 28%. By 2008 it had risen to 40% and projected to reach 50% by 2030.

This rapid urbanization rate has created demand for more infrastructure including housing, water and sanitation systems. To spur the growth, many African governments have strengthened their legal frameworks, policy and strategy regimes, anti-corruption policies, and the quality of their human capital.

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

In 2000, it was estimated that 59 million households had $5000 or more income above which they start spending roughly 50% on non-food items. By 2014, this figure is expected to increase to 106 million households. Thus many more Africans are prepared to exchange cash for quality service especially in water, sanitation and housing.

Despite these positive trends, the water and sanitation sector has not yet received adequate investor attention in Africa. This state of affair is mostly but arguably attributed to the socialist focused development paradigm for the sector; water and sanitation services were branded as social services with strict governmental controls. This limited the business interest in the sector and led to over-reliance on government investment and charity.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Today about 400 million people living in Africa lack access to clean drinking water, while over 600 million people lack basic sanitation services. Several millions of children die from preventable water and sanitation-related illnesses every year. In Nigeria and Ethiopia for instance, about 97,000 and 33,000 children die every year of diarrheal diseases caused by poor drinking water and sanitation respectively. All the countries with larger economies in Africa including South Africa, Ghana, Sudan, Angola still lose thousands of children every year through water and sanitation-related illnesses.

This realization has triggered the call for a shift in the development orientation for Africa’s water and sanitation sector from social to the inclusion of more economic and financial models.

With focus on south-south cooperation for water and sanitation sector growth in Africa, the 2013 High Level Forum provides the platform for exploring business opportunities with potential partners from India, China, Turkey, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Taiwan, Japan, not forgetting the continent’s traditional partners from the north. African investors can also explore opportunities outside the continent.

The event, organized by Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) in collaboration with the government of Côte d’Ivoire in Abidjan, with sessions like the High Level Panel of Heads of States in Africa and Finance Ministers Roundtable, for instance provides opportunities for direct access to an estimated 25 governments for closer business discussions.

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