Posts tagged ‘climate change’

May 3, 2016

A Global Wave of Actions to Break Free from Fossil Fuels Begins

Aaron Kaah Yancho in Cameroon
May 03, 2016

A global wave of peaceful direct actions lasting for 12 days has kicked off today across six continents targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, under the banner of Break Free.

2015 was the hottest year ever recorded and the impacts of climate change are already hitting communities around the world. From rising sea levels to extreme storms, the need to act on climate change has never been more urgent. Added to that, the fossil fuel industry faces an unprecedented crisis — from collapsing prices, massive divestments, a new global climate deal, and an ever-growing movement calling for change. The time has never been better for a just transition to a clean energy system.

To harness the moment, activists and concerned citizens committed to addressing climate change – from international groups to local communities to individual citizens – will unite to ensure that strong pressure is maintained to force energy providers, as well as local and national governments, to implement the policies and additional investments needed to completely break free from fossil fuels.

Climate-related natural disasters including floods, storms and heat waves have steadily increased across the globe over the past 40 years. Photo by Muchunguzi Emmy

Climate-related natural disasters including floods, storms and heat waves have steadily increased across the globe over the past 40 years. Photo by Muchunguzi Emmy

People worldwide are providing the much needed leadership by intensifying actions through peaceful civil disobedience on a global scale as so much remains to be done in order to lessen the effects of the climate crisis. This includes demanding governments move past the commitments made as part of the Paris agreement signed last month.

In order to address the current climate crisis and keep global warming below 1.5C, fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced now that renewable energy is more affordable and widespread than ever before. The only way to achieve this is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerating the shift to 100% renewable energy. During Break Free people worldwide are rising up to make sure this is the case.

In Africa, the actions are taking place in Nigeria and South Africa.

In Nigeria, in the Niger Delta actions will be held in three iconic locations to show what happens when the oil goes dry, and the community is left with the pollution and none of the wealth. An action at Ogoni land will demand an urgent clean-up of decades old oil spills and underscore how it is possible for citizens to resist the power of the oil corporations, and keep their oil in the ground where it belongs. Another action will be on the Atlantic coast, where Exxon’s offshore wells frequently leak, impact fisheries and harm coastline communities’ livelihoods.

In South Africa, two actions will take place each with hundreds of people highlighting the local impacts of coal and climate change. The first on 12 May will see people gathering in Emalahleni, one of the most polluted towns in the world, to speak out on the effects of climate change. The second on 14 May is focused on the Gupta residence in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

March 21, 2016

2016 Water Day: African Aquifers Can Protect Against Climate Change

WaterSan Perspective
March 22, 2016

Floods and droughts, feasts and famines: the challenge of living with an African climate has always been its variability, from the lush rainforests of the Congo to the extreme dry of the Sahara and Namib deserts.

In north western Europe, drizzle and rain is generally spread quite evenly across the year, as anyone who has gone camping in British summer will tell you. But when annual rainfall happens within just a few months or weeks of the year then it is a massive challenge for farmers, towns and industry to access enough water through long dry seasons and to protect themselves and their land from flooding and mudslides when the rains come.

Climate-related natural disasters including floods, storms and heat waves have steadily increased across the globe over the past 40 years. Photo by Muchunguzi Emmy

Climate-related natural disasters including floods, storms and heat waves have steadily increased across the globe over the past 40 years. Photo by Muchunguzi Emmy

New research suggests that Africa’s aquifers could be the key to managing water better. Professor Richard Taylor at UCL explains: “What we found is that groundwater in tropical regions – and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular – is primarily replenished from intense rainfall events – heavy downpours. This means that aquifers are an essential way of storing the heavy rain from the rainy season for use during the dry season, and for keeping rivers flowing.”

Many African climates are variable now, but are becoming even more unpredictable with climate change. So how can heavy rain be directed underground more effectively?

Award-winning UPGro research found a way, in Tigray Regional State in Ethiopia. MetaMeta of the Netherlands, together with its partners Mekelle University and Tigray Government looked at ways and means of collecting water with the roads – from culverts, drains, borrow pits, road surface, river crossings, as these have massive impact on how rain run-off moves across a landscape.

The idea then scaled up quickly – in 2014 the Tigray Government implemented road water harvesting activities in all its districts. The results have been spectacular in increased water tables, better soil moisture, reduced erosion from roads, less local flooding and moreover much better crop yields. Their guidebook “How to Make Water Wise Roads” helps others who want to apply these methods in their own areas.

Professor Taylor: “Having a buffer is essential to protect people and livelihoods from extreme hydrological events; groundwater can play an important role, but aquifers need to be well understood, well managed, and this needs good data and competent hydrogeologists in each of these countries. This is what GroFutures , and the other UPGro research projects, are working on.”

The GroFutures project will be hosting a workshop 31st March 2016 in Iringa, Tanzania to examine the potential of groundwater to expand irrigation and increase access to safe water in Tanzania.

December 11, 2015

Water, Sanitation Groundbreaking Initiatives Win Top UN Climate Change Prize

Fredrick Mugira
Paris. Dec. 11, 2015. At least four out of the 16 innovative initiatives honored as winners of the prestigious United Nations climate change award at this year’s climate talks in Paris focus on water and sanitation.

They are part of the 16 game-changing initiatives from around the world that were honored at a special ceremony in Le Bourget, Paris last evening, where climate change talks have been taking place for the last two weeks.

International Jamaican artist Sean Paul (in the middle) performed during the gala event in La bouget, Paris.

International Jamaican artist Sean Paul (in the middle) performed during the gala event in Le bouget, Paris.

The winning initiative that focus on water and sanitation include the Lifelink Water Solutions which is using ICT tools to provide safe, sustainable and affordable water in Kenya and Uganda; Solvatten Solar Safe Water Heater that is working to reduce carbon emissions while securing access to safe drinking water in Kenya.

Others are the Harvesting Geothermal Energy of El Salvador which is generating income with geothermal waste-heat and E-waste From Toxic to Green based in India which is creating jobs to keep e-waste out of landfills.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the guest of honour at the gala event where the attendees were treated to powerful photos, inspirational videos and a lively musical performance by Sean Paul.

Ban said such initiatives could inspire leaders worldwide to take positive steps to reduce carbon emissions in their countries.

“These ‘Lighthouse Activities’ shine a light on the groundswell of climate action around the world,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “As the world moves toward a future built on low-emissions sustainable development, these bold ideas can inspire leaders to be more ambitious in their own policies and actions.”

The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. This year’s winning activities range from a seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first to an initiative that is enabling 40 Latin American cities to take concrete climate action.

“I am honoured to celebrate the leadership shown by the people, organizations , companies and governments recognized as winners of the 2015 Momentum for Change Awards tonight,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said.

“By showcasing these remarkable solutions and the people behind them we can strengthen efforts that must not only start with an agreement here in Paris but must continue to build, as we accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon, highly resilient development path,” she said.

Each of the 16 winning activities touches on one of Momentum for Change’s four focus areas: Urban Poor, Women for Results, Financing for Climate Friendly Investment and ICT Solutions. All 16 were showcased at a series of special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France.

The 2015 Lighthouse Activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

December 11, 2015

AfDB Approves 22 Proposals for Climate Finance

Friday Phiri
Paris. Dec. 11, 2015. The African Development Bank approved 22 proposals under its Africa Climate Change Fund in 2014.

Kurt Lonsway, AfDB Manager for Environment and Climate Change, Kurt Lonsway made the disclosure on the eleventh day of the COP 21 in Paris when he featured on a high level discussion panel dubbed: Advancing Africa’s ‘readiness’ for climate resilient, low carbon development and green economy

Lonsway said the Bank recognizes the importance of helping African countries transition to green economic pathways amidst the negative effects of climate that most countries are grappling with.

“In 2014, with the help of the German government, we established the Climate Development Fund aimed at helping countries with adaptation and facilitating a green growth path,” said Lonsway.

He however pointed out that due to the observed high demand for funds, the bank is looking at expanding the portfolio into a trust to open up investments opportunities from international partners—a feat he said would subject countries to more rigorous processes that require readiness to access.

Despite progress to scale up climate finance globally, the amount of climate finance flowing to the African continent remains way below estimated needs—just about 4% of the total available climate financing portfolios.

James Fahn, Executive Director Earth Journalism Network speaking during a press conference organized by his organization at Paris Climate talks. Photo by Fredrick Mugira

James Fahn, Executive Director Earth Journalism Network speaking during a press conference arranged by his organization at Paris Climate talks. Photo by Fredrick Mugira

The question is therefore how to increase Africa’s access to climate finance by addressing some bottlenecks that exist, to help the continent’s transition toward climate resilient, low carbon development and green growth.

Among a few countries in Africa that recently got accredited to Green Climate Fund (GCF), is Rwanda.

Rose Mukankomeje, Director of the Rwandan Environmental Management Authority said perseverance and negotiation were key elements to the processes required for accreditation.

Quoting her former Minister of Education, Mukankomeje said: “In life, you don’t get what you deserve, but what you negotiate for”.

With this, she encouraged other African countries not to fear the processes as perception maybe different from reality, saying “If Rwanda has been accredited by the GCF; it is possible for other countries to get accredited as well.”

She nevertheless pointed out that Africa has to put in place proper measures to hold its representatives on the GCF board accountable.

And in reacting to this position, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) agrees that there has to be more accountability from those representing developing countries on the GCF board.

“Our advice to GCF board members representing developing countries is that they should put Africa’s interest first. They are there not to represent themselves but the continent’s interests”, Sam Ogallah of PACJA said.

Ogallah also advised African countries to apply for climate readiness funds adding that lack of capacity to access the funds is not entirely the fault of the GCF board.

“Why are countries not applying for the climate readiness funds? This money is there waiting to be utilized for capacity building and it is up to country focal points to wake up and do the right thing”, he added.

December 7, 2015

COP 21 / CMP 11: Meeting of Ministers Calls for Effective Climate Change Agreement

Fredrick Mugira
Paris, Dec. 7, 2015. The High-Level, ministerial segment of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris kicked off today with calls to action to conclude an effective climate change agreement at the end of the week and a sense of confidence that this can be done.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded Ministers of the direction that more than 150 world leaders had provided on the first day of the meeting, and that they had pledged their full support for a robust agreement. “Never before have so many Heads of State and Government gathered in one place at one time with one common purpose. Leaders have assured me they will work to remove any roadblocks,” he said.

One of the placards at the conference creating awareness about the need for everybody to get ton board and fight climate change

One of the placards at the conference creating awareness about the need for everybody to get ton board and fight climate change

Ban Ki-moon said that hundreds of mayors from around the world had also come to Paris to lend their support and make their city climate action announcements, along with hundreds of business leaders and investors representing trillions of dollars in assets.

In her address, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres spoke of the unprecedented number of over 180 national climate action plans submitted ahead of the Paris meeting and which constitute a clear signal to the world. She said: “The challenge we face now is to crystalize that call into a cohesive legal framework that brings the world together in action and implementation.”
Figueres also spoke of the groundswell of climate action being highlighted in a plethora of activities during the first week of the COP under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda.

“Commitments have given way to real action on the part of investors, corporations, provincial and city governments, and from civil society as a whole,” she said

Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly, said that whilst the year 2015 was all about reaching agreements, the year 2016 would be about their swift implementation. He said he would be organizing an event in New York in April to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals agreed this year. The meeting, including government and civil society, would spark many new initiatives.

This follows last week’s announcement by the UN Secretary General of an event in Washington, in May, to accelerate cooperative climate initiatives.

Lykketoft, however, cautioned that a robust universal climate agreement in Paris was an essential foundation for the world to avoid crossing the threshold of a maximum two degrees Celsius global average temperature rise, agreed by governments to be the defense line against unmanageable climate change. “Without your leadership, no amount of collaborative initiatives will suffice,” he said.

November 17, 2015

African Experts Urge the Continent to Address Livestock Methane Emissions

Joyce Chimbi
November 17, 2015

Though increasing calls for Africa to reduce methane emissions from livestock continue to be met with controversy, livestock scientists say that methane is a forgotten short-term climate pollutant with significant global warming potential that Africa cannot continue to overlook.

On one hand critics say that in the absence of a significant body of science to back the premise that methane emissions from livestock in Africa is becoming a major contributor to climate change, the continent must ignore calls to reduce methane emissions.

For total livestock emissions, beef cattle account for the highest methane emissions. Photo Joyce Chimbi

For total livestock emissions, beef cattle account for the highest methane emissions. Photo Joyce Chimbi

But on the other hand experts such as Asaah Ndambi say that though Africa accounts for only three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, “we have the highest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of livestock product.”

Statistics by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that livestock methane emissions account for an estimated 14.5 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Ndambi, a livestock scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya “we cannot run away from the fact that the methane emissions per unit of output in developing countries-particularly Africa and Asia- are significantly high in comparison to the same animals in industrial countries due to the low productivity of animals in Africa and Asia.”

Ndambi was speaking during the annual media briefing on climate change for Global South journalists held in New Delhi, India this year by the Center for Science and Environment where he said that methane emissions if ignored will present a major challenge in the future.

According to FAO, livestock contributes both directly and indirectly to climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Further stating that methane emissions from livestock account for about 80 percent of agricultural methane and 35 percent of the total anthropogenic [man-made] methane emissions.

Methane emissions mostly occur as part of the natural digestive process of animals and manure management in livestock operations, Ndambi says.

Methane’s Impact in Warming the Earth
Emmanuel Oladipo, Professor of climatology, Climate Change Network in Lagos, Nigeria says that “though there is need for more research into livestock methane emissions, we cannot ignore what preliminary studies are showing, methane is a potent gas.”

According to Prof. Oladipo methane has global warming potential of 23 times more significant impact in warming the earth compared to carbon dioxide.

Studies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report released in 2014 show that temperatures on the African continent, particularly in the more arid regions -where a vast majority of the population is pastoralist- are likely to rise more quickly than in other land areas.

As arid and semi-arid rangelands face warmer days, with frequent heat waves as predicted by the IPCC report, experts say that with the right interventions, the current generation has an opportunity to experience the phasing out of methane as a potent greenhouse gas.

According to IPCC, between 65 percent and 80 percent of carbon dioxide-which is the most significant man made greenhouse gas-released into the air dissolves into the ocean over a period of about 20-200 years.

Nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas is removed from the atmosphere through a process that could take up to 114 years.

Methane is consequently considered a short lived climate pollutant since it takes 12 to 14 years for it to be completely removed from the atmosphere but is much more potent as a heat-trapping gas, with experts saying that as the temperatures rise, continued increase of methane emissions will outpace that of carbon dioxide.

Calls for Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies
Towards addressing livestock contribution to greenhouse emissions, experts at the New Delhi Climate Change Media briefing said that a two-pronged strategy must be employed.

“We must look into the contribution that livestock methane emissions are making, we also must have adaptation and mitigation strategies,” Ndambi expounds.

He said that Africa must embrace fewer but more productive animals, a call that is already being received with resistance by pastoralists communities as well as other communities which keep domestic animals for religious purposes.

We have communities that keep their livestock long after they have stopped being productive, these animals continue to emit methane until they die. We are encouraging livestock farmers to slaughter such animals,” he said.

The situation might get even more complicated with experts such Sarah Akinyi, a Nairobi based Nutritionist saying that consumption of animal proteins among the poor in developing countries is too low “and we are encouraging more production and consumption.”

Further saying that with the exponential population growth in developing countries, “there will naturally be more production and consumption of animal proteins.”

In as far as total livestock [average emission per animal multiplied by total number of animals in a country] emissions are concerned, according to ILRI, beef cattle account for the highest methane emissions, followed by dairy cattle, pigs, buffalos and chicken respectively.

This means that emissions for beef can be high because we have more beef cattle in the world or because the emission per cattle is high,” Ndambi says.

Sheep and goats also have high emissions per kilogram of meat but they are fewer in number which makes their total methane emissions lower compared to cattle.

“We need to explore appropriate feeding strategies that increase productivity while at the same time reducing methane emissions from enteric fermentations. Strategies will therefore include feeding livestock on improved forages such as feed supplements,” Ndambi explains.

Emissions Per Capita
“Though emissions per capita are lower [this divides a country’s total annual emissions by its population] emissions per unit of output or rather per one litre of milk or a kilogram of beef are high,” Oladipo explained.

ILRI says that other strategies will include exploring various feed additives, including plant extracts as well as improving feed conversion efficiency.

Ndambi explained that the amount of feed consumed per unit of production, helps to decrease the amount of methane produced since more efficient animals have been shown to produce less methane.
This can achieved thought giving animals diets that are more highly digestible.

FAO also encourages creating awareness of appropriate strategies and technologies for reducing methane emissions from livestock and for mitigation purposes.

Article first published by Inter Press Service

May 15, 2015

African Countries Told to Help Enrich the Continent’s Position on Climate Change

George Mhango
News Analyst
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
May 15, 2015

State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ethiopia, Ato Sileshi Getahum urged Malawian delegates and those from other African countries to come up with good recommendations to enrich Africa’s position on climate change ahead of the next Conference of the Parties (COP) in the next few months. This in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during a three-day meeting aimed at launching the first-ever climate smart agriculture (CSA) alliance forum organised by the NEPAD Agency and the African Union Commission.

The forum is part of an integral part of Comprehensive Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in relation to attaining the productivity, food security, prosperity and resilience goals as said in the 2015-25 Results Framework endorsed at the Malabo African Union (AU) Summit held in June last year in Equatorial Guneau.

Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.

Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.

Getahun also urged Africa to continue to pressurize industrialized countries to step up their efforts and save humanity from imminent catastrophe that climate change and variability is leading to.

“As we learnt from the recently published IPCC reports, no matter how well some of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol performed, to this day, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have not stopped rising. Parties therefore must make substantial progress this time in COP21,” she said.

Getahun said this, therefore, needs a bold 2015 agreement which should include necessary means of implementation, capacity strengthening, appropriate technology transfer and the finance required to manage ecosystems to ensure food and nutrition security, sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

“With agriculture the mainstay of Africa’s economy, it is important that we invest in and practice climate smart agriculture. We need to show the rest of the world our adaptive capacity and remain positive that more development partners will come on board to help Africa upscale all the various CSA investments on the continent,” she explained.

But in her remarks, Minister Councilor Ms Tove Stub of the Norwegian Embassy in Addis Ababa backed the launch of the CSA Alliance Forum, saying it shows that African countries are committed to championing positive agricultural production in view of climate change effects, a point NEPAD Director of Programmes and Coordination Estherine Fotabong alluded to.

Stub stated that Africa through NEPAD is the first continent to develop such an agenda which is also aimed at sharing knowledge, new farming technologies and developing policies to promote CSA.

“The launch of the CSA Alliance Forum is a crucial step to the African agenda of promoting CSA considering that agriculture remains central to development on the continent. In fact NEPAD is to chair a global alliance and this experience from this first-ever alliance on CSA will assist globally,” she said.

Speakers from Malawi indicated that Lilongwe has developed policies that are meant to move in tandem with initiatives of NEPAD and African Union on how to mitigate effects of climate change thereby boosting agriculture production.

With Malawi’s economy described as agro-based experts and farmers are likely to use the session as a tool to boosting agricultural production considering that the model is in line with sustainable land and water management (SLWM) also championed by NEPAD.

March 25, 2015

Journalists Start West Africa’s 1st Online Newspaper on Climate Change

WaterSan Perspective
March 25, 2015

West Africa’s first online newspaper dedicated to opening new panoramas in the coverage and reportage of climate change and the region’s environment has been launched.

The online newspaper (www.climatereporters.com), which was launched over the weekend In Republic of Benin, Cote d’Ívoire and Nigeria simultaneously in commemoration of the 2015 International Francophonie Day envisions an informed, environment-friendly and climate-conscious citizenry living in a safe and serene West African environment, free from climate disasters and environmental despoliation.

Farmers worldwide are already feeling the effects of rising temperatures and more frequent droughts as a result of climate change

Farmers worldwide are already feeling the effects of rising temperatures and more frequent droughts as a result of climate change

Speaking at the launch, the medium’s Editor-in-Chief, Atâyi Babs revealed that the newspaper is “dedicated to bringing fresh, crisp and engaging climate reports from all over the world to West Africa, using the region’s finest blend of climate story tellers to enhance understanding and engender climate action across the region.”

“We are change catalysts, bringing international climate reports to every doorstep in West Africa at the same time taking the West African climate story to the world,”Atayi added.

The launch of the newspaper on the International Francophonie Day which is observed within La Francophonie’s 77 member states in celebration of the French language and Francophone culture and the signing of the Niamey Convention on 20th March 1970 which established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, reinforces the new medium’s capacity to reflect the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of West Africa. The newspaper is published online, real-time in English and French simultaneously.

With a multilingual team of talented reporters from across the region, ClimateReporters provides an interesting mix of environmental news stories and an imperative source of environmental information and opinion.

The medium aspires not only to focus on the big stories but also seek out some of more unusual and controversial environmental issues from around the world.

Speaking at the launch in Abidjan, Alain Landry Zahoré, the Cote d’Ivoire Bureau Chief disclosed that with special pull-out categories on climate change, sustainable development, road to Paris, energy, WASH, land, forests and health, ClimateReporters will focus attention on the present and future environmental issues facing the health of the planet and West Africa in particular.

June 21, 2013

Kenya: Farmers Take on Irrigation Technology

Jessica Nyaboke
June 21, 2013

Farmers in the North Rift Region of Kenya will soon begin to grow their crops under irrigation following the construction of multimillion shillings dam that will supply them with water.

The offer from Cankeen International, an export company will mostly benefit farmers in Uasin Gishu County of Kenya. The move sets a departure for local farmers from the traditional farming techniques

The Cankeen International an Export Promotion Company says that the organization has rolled out the pilot project to empower the farmers who from the past solely depend on rain water to grow their crop.

Irrigation is paramount to ensure survival of crops planted in dry areas.

Irrigation is paramount to ensure survival of crops planted in dry areas.

Dominic Biwott, the manager of the organization challenges the farmers to embrace the practice saying that currently the problem of climate change has affected a number of farmers leading to poor yields.

He singles out some of the areas which they have identified where the dam will be constructed include, Ziwa, Mois-Bridge and Cheptiret in Kenya.

Biwot saiys that they plan to construct a total of over 30 dams in the marked sites where the farmers would continue to grow crops even during the dry spell in November, December and January.

As a result of climate change we have witnessed farmers who travel as far as Nairobi to come to Eldoret to buy fruits and vegetables after the ones their planted was hit by hailstorms,’’ says Biwoett.

The manager says that if the farmers involve themselves in irrigation, practice of crops getting spoilt by hailstorms will be a thing of the past.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

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.

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