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African Governments To Examine Informal Economy And Climate Change

The City of Praia (Cape Verde) will host the 4th World Forum on Local Economic Development (LED), October 17-20, 2017. Over 1,500 participants from 120 countries are expected to attend the meeting organized by UNDP, United Cities and Local Government, ILO, The Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity and ORU-FOGAR.

 UCLG Africa, the umbrella organization of local governments on the continent, will participate in the event with a delegation led by the Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.

The Forum will be a venue for exchange on local economic development. The theme of the 4th edition is, "The contributions of local economic development to the implementation of the 2030 development program." It aims to provide guidance and principles for action to implement SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all and SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals.

The organizing committee's presentation sheet specifies that a special emphasis will be placed on the reduction of inequalities through local economic development. 

The forum will witness the participation of the President of the Republic of Cape Verde; the Prime Minister of Cape Verde; ministers from Ivory Coast, Angola, Mauritania and Bolivia, as well as numerous local and regional elected officials from Africa and other parts of the world.

During the forum, UCLG Africa will organize two sessions on October 18, 2017; the first of which is entitled, "Climate Change and LED: How to mitigate the effects of Climate Change while promoting Local Economic Development."

This will focus on the economic opportunities that climate change offers to people, including the poorest, building on the good practices of some African cities, notably Porto-Novo with the Songhai project implemented in Benin and on the experience of the 11 pilot cities, parties to the Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The second session entitled, "Informal economy between regularization and access during transitional phases," will highlight the issues that need to be addressed with regard to the integration of the informal sector into the local economic development strategies and solutions provided by local governments in Africa and elsewhere.

Uganda, Ethiopia In One Coffee Climate Boat

By Boaz Opio

The democratic republic of Uganda and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, these two eastern African countries have a lot in common. Ethiopians believe human life presence started in their country—just like Ugandans. Though these folklores do not tell us when or how this coincidental theories come about, there’s a lot more 21st century similarities to explore and possibly learn from one another.

The most important and obvious similarity is about coffee. Ethiopia is the world’s Coffea arabica producer. Today, the country is the largest African producer of Arabica coffee and the fifth in the entire world.

Uganda is the second biggest producer in Africa. In both countries, coffee is the backbone of their economies.  

However, though 15 million Ethiopians depend on it for a living, it is already predicted that by the end of this century, increasing temperatures could make it impossible to grow coffee in about half of the country’s coffee-growing areas, according to a study published today in Nature Plants.

This is because Arabica coffee trees require mild temperatures to survive, ideally between 59 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Climate projections show that Ethiopia will generally become warmer and drier, and that means that 40 to 60 percent of areas where coffee is currently grown won’t be suitable to grow the beans, the study says. This means the two brothers will be the most affected if the impacts are not addressed early enough.

The same have provoked stimulus government action towards a climate resilience green economy strategy way back in 2011 as a framework for the new Ethiopia growth and transformation plan implementation between 2010-2025, to achieve the middle income economy by the end of 2025. 

According to Mr. Mulegeta Megist, the head of climate change affairs in the Ethiopian ministry of environment, the country learned that over 87% of emissions came from land related use such as deforestation and charcoal burning. However, Mr. Mulegeta says, “when we drew our strategies, we learnt that agricultural activities does not have to conflict with green growth and land use.”

The effects of climate change – higher temperatures and less rainfall – could take a toll on the countries’ ability to farm their treasured crop. In parts of Ethiopia, spring and summer rains have already declined by 15 percent to 20 percent since the 1970s.

While in Uganda, with over 80% of Ugandans dependent on rain-fed agriculture, which comprises over 60% of export earnings, with coffee exports as the biggest foreign exchange earner, erratic and unseasonal rainfall is already costing over US$60 million a year in crop losses.

Smallholder farmers who produce 90 of it could have their already vulnerable livelihoods made more vulnerable by climate change. Oxfam's 2014 research project interviewed coffee farmers in the Rwenzori Mountains and found that they are aware that the climate is changing and becoming less predictable, and have used various adaptation strategies. But for Arabica coffee, which can only be grown at high altitudes in Uganda, climate change and rising temperatures are likely to further restrict the areas in which it can be grown.

A top-quality harvest can fetch up to $1.5 per kilogram, but buyers will pay much less for a harvest including so-called "black beans," cherries picked before they were ripe. Some harvests may even be rejected if the buyer suspects the beans will return "sour, unpleasant coffee that tastes like urine," said Rajabu Kituku, a local manager of Great Lakes Coffee Ltd.

Other two big coffee players of Kenya and Tanzania though produce coffee in a considerable scale are not so much affected directly—not as much as Ethiopia and Uganda by the impacts of global warming. Tanzanian coffee production averages between 30-40,000 metric tons each year of which approximately 70% is Arabica and 30% is Robusta. Kenya, up to 47000 metric tons. In both countries, production grew between 1.7% to 3% in the past 5 years without decline, while Ethiopian production fluctuated in a percentage decline of 2.5 – 3%.

A coincidentally good climate for coffee, then, is what the two big players need to rise their Gross Domestic Products and improve the quality of people’s lives. This could come by learning from each other and implementing climate resilience policies applicable by small-holder coffee farmers dominating the two country’s planting.

Environmentalists Reach Out To Kids With Disabilities Ahead Of Green Festival

Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and NEMA Uganda joined Cheshire Services Uganda, a local Non Governmental Organization working with Persons with Disabilities and Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children to plant trees at Kyambogo Primary School in the suburbs of Kampala ahead of the Green Festival 2017.

This, officials of Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green said, is a way of bridging the disability gap and promoting Inclusiveness of children with disabilities in our society.

“For a long time, little hands go green has pushed and carried out environmental conservation education in primary schools across Uganda and Rwanda but had not deliberately set out to purposely include children with disabilities directly in the campaign,” Joseph Masembe, the CEO of environmental organization said in a statement.

He added, “This tree planting exercise therefore is the start of a deliberate push and a call to all Ugandans in general to ensure that persons with disabilities are respected and given an opportunity to enjoy a better life by empowering them to take part in the greening efforts as well.”

The exercise which took place Friday afternoon attracted top NEMA Uganda officials led by the executive director Dr. Tom Okurut, celebrated music DJs Slick Stuart and Roger. They participated in the planting of fruit trees.

Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green will on third of September (3rd/9/2017) host parents, guardians and their children at Kololo Airstrip at the annual Kids Green Festival where children are taught the importance of planting trees. Each child who attends the festival takes home a fruit tree seedling of his or her choice.

Cash For Carbon: Paying Ugandans To Preserve Trees Deters Climate Change

If you have moved around Ugandan villages, you would have noticed huge chunks of forested land. These forests are paid forby a new method of fighting climate change called Paying for Ecosystem (PES).

Paying for Ecosystem paid a total of US$20,000 to 180 people in 60 Ugandan villages not to cut down trees on their land was worth the money, researchers say. By delaying carbon dioxide emissions, the project’s benefits to society were more than double its costs.

Deforestation dropped by more than half in Ugandan villages where land owners were paid 70,000 Uganda Shillings(about $28) per hectare each year if they preserved their trees, according to the study from U.S. researchers published in the journal Science on July 20, 2017.

The benefits of paying land owners to preserve forests were more than two times greater than the cost of the program when it comes to protecting forests and tackling climate change which is exacerbated by deforestation, said the two-year study.

Trees are important because they absorb lots of carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of fossil fuel burning and is the primary of driver of global warming.

Ethiopia is also among the sub-Saharan African countries taking the threat of climate change seriously and is proving to be very ambitious in its plans to tackle its causes and effects: it is one of the few countries that was rated to have a ‘sufficient INDC’ and it has developed a Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy or CRGE to stabilize the country's economic vulnerability to climate change. With Ethiopia being proclaimed the fastest growing economy worldwide for 2017, taking into consideration adaptation and mitigation approaches will prove necessary for the sustainability of its economy.

Much like Uganda, Ethiopia has planned to build a strong green economy in the next 20 years, with an estimated cost of $150 billion. A yearly amount of, $7.5 billion in funds will be needed to implement this.

Back in Uganda, Economists who crunched the numbers on forest preservation say the model pioneered in Uganda could be expanded to other countries with large tropical forests including Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru, as part of the fight against global warming.

The analysis of “Payments for Ecosystems” showed its benefits to the environment were 2.4 times as large as the program costs, said the study in the journal Science. “The payments changed people’s behavior and prompted them to conserve,” said lead author Seema Jayachandran, associate professor of economics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.

“And we didn’t find any evidence that they simply shifted their tree-cutting elsewhere.”

The two-year pilot in western Uganda examined the impact of offering landowners 70,000 Ugandan shillings ($28 in 2012 U.S. dollars) per year for each hectare (2.5 acres) of forest in which they left trees unperturbed. 

'Cost effective' program 

"When you think of the damage done by climate change, paying people to conserve forests is cost effective," said Northwestern University economist Seema Jayachandran, the study's lead author.

"It is a straight forward idea and the benefits are bigger than the costs," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Researchers hope some of the billions of dollars pledged by rich countries to help poor nations respond to climate change under a United Nations agreement signed in Paris in 2015 could be used to replicate the forest protection program.

Jayachandran said researchers were able to monitor whether beneficiaries in the 121 Ugandan villages were actually preserving the forests by a combination of site visits and satellite imagery.

Most deforestation in Uganda is caused by people cutting down trees for timber or charcoal or wanting to turn forested land into farms, she said. The program included residents who formally owned their land and those who had ancestral or informal control over their properties, Jayachandran said. 

Following the Programme by Its Roots

Sixty villages were randomly selected by Innovations for Poverty action to receive incentives, and 61 were not offered any cash to save the trees. Satellite data was analysed to measure tree cover, and forest monitors conducted spot checks on enrollees’ land to hunt for any sign of recent tree-clearing.

“In the villages without the program, 9% of the tree cover that was in place at the start of the study was gone by the end of it, two years later,” said Ms. Jayachandran.

“In the villages with the PES program, there was four to five percent tree loss. In other words, there was still deforestation, but much less of it.”

Forests in Uganda provide precious habitat for endangered chimpanzees.

Between 2005 and 2010 Uganda had one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, with 2.7% lost per year, according to background information in the article.

A full 70% of forests in Uganda are located on private land, where poor farmers cut them for timber and charcoal burning. Cleared land is also used to grow crops. After the study, villages offered the incentive preserved 13.5 more acres (5.5 more hectares) of forest than villages in the comparison group.

“This equates to 3,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide not released into the atmosphere, at a total cost of just 46 cents per ton not released over the two years of the study,” said the report.

Because the amounts of money involved are fairly small, and because most deforestation today occurs in low-income countries, researchers said the savings can be big. For instance, paying Ugandans to conserve and plant trees was an estimated 10 to 50 times more effective per dollar spent than many energy efficiency programs in the United States, the study also found.

Though this is the first experimental study of its kind, its success show not just how effective, but how cost-effective, programmes like this can be. It may also be a very cost-effective way to help meet goals such as the Paris Accord targets. 

By Boaz Opio

No Turning Back For Africa’s First Solar Bus

A 35-seater solar bus branded Kayoola is an automobile described as Africa’s first solar-bus, a Ugandan-made Kiira Motors' Kayoola prototype electric vehicle having a collocate of two electric batteries that can charge on the solar panels built on its roof. It was launched in Feb 2016 at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala.

One year down the road, government has increased the budget allocation for the development of Uganda’s Renewable Energy Science and Technology which increased from Shs14.2 billion it got in the 2016/17 fiscal year to Shs 71.9 billion in the 2017/2018 budget.

East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) was also launched by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni to act as an abode for further research and development of renewable energy innovations.

Kayoola was designed by Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), where the first ever Centre of excellence for East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) is situated.

During the launch of EACREEE, Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni said the Centre will proceed to contributing towards increased access to modern, affordable, sustainable and reliable energy services in Uganda and the East African region.

Established by the partner member states of the East African Community (EAC) with support from the Austrian Development Agency and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), EACREEE is destined to making sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) a reality in 2030. The center is based at Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) and operates through a network of National Focal Institutions among all East African States.

According to the Principal of Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology Assoc. Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, EACREEE is geared towards increased access to energy security and mitigation of negative externalities of energy systems (such as pollution) by creating an enabling environment for renewable energy and energy efficiency markets and investments.

Assoc. Prof. Henry Alinaitwe said that the centre will also promote all appropriate and sustainable renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, promote small-scale and medium-scale hydro power projects, and Bio-fuel projects which prove to be sustainable and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cooking projects.

“EACREEE will also support and execute Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency activities and projects which cover one or more EAC Partner States focusing primarily on activities and projects with regional impact or national projects which demonstrate high potential for scaling-up or regional replication,” he  said.

While launching the centre, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni said adequate renewable energy is key in promoting industrialisation and subsequently achieving Uganda’s middle income status by 2020. She therefore said that the creation of this facility will support the efforts to realise this target.

“Majority of Ugandans are in the rural areas and they rely on bio mass including charcoal and agricultural waste for energy. Fortunately, 85% of the energy Uganda relies on is renewable and thus need to fully tap into its potential. Only a few of the population are connected to the electricity power and this remains a major constraint to industrial activities particularly manufacturing,” she unequivocally stated.

In a bid to counter these shortfalls, Minister (designate) Muloni said the regional strategy is working towards wider penetration of renewable energy through its Northern Corridor Integration and Standardized High Voltage projects.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General Jessica Ariyo thanked the Austrian Development Agency and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) plus the Government of Uganda for their continued support toward the development of the centre to advance science and technology in Uganda when she said that,

 “The center is a milestone in the integration process and needs to be taken seriously. We hope that this will facilitate a dialogue and exchange of ideas between stakeholders in the private sector within the EAC member states.”

Describing industry and energy as important sectors, the Director General of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Mr. Philippe Scholtes noted that the two sectors should stand alone if countries need to achieve sustainable development.

Mr. Philippe Scholtes said that Member states should work hand in hand for inclusive and sustainable development if they want to achieve industrial development.

“This is what UNIDO is up to and I believe we are not the only ones in the race. The African Union adopted this. And in October 2015, the UN concluded that the general assembly of industries that anyone who wants to involve in energy activities should stand out for sustainable development. It is also important to note the COP21 in Paris last year 2015 agreed to encourage countries engage in better use of energy,” he said.

Renewable energy is a boom in Africa and Uganda has invested $134 million since 2015. In a speech read by the current Makerere University Vice Chancellor elect, Prof. Banarbas Nawangwe, the former Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu said that the university is ready to promote all appropriate and sustainable renewable energy and energy efficiency across East African region.

This includes the development of research in electric and solar-powered vehicles, solar water pumps for irrigation to farmers in remote off-grid countryside. Though the bus is intended for urban areas rather than inter-city use because of the restrictions on how far it can travel, according to Kiira Motor’s CEO in a statement told New Vision that by 2039 the company will be able to manufacture all the parts and assemble the vehicle in Uganda in order to cut on the pollution resulting from over dependence on gasoline vehicles.

Environment: Kayihura, Uganda's Little Hands Go Green To Plant Trees

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Kale Kayihura is incorporating tree planting into Uganda Police’s Community Policing initiatives as a way of protecting and conserving the environment in the country. This resonates well with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recent call to protect and conserve the environment.

Gen Kale Kayihura is teaming up with Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and My Kid is A superstar to rally residents in different divisions of Kampala to plant trees. This initiative comes as a boost to Uganda's Little Hands Go Green is organizing the Green Festival 2017. The festival which will take place at Kololo Airstrip on Sunday, 3rd September, 2017 inspires children to embrace tree planting.

Uganda's Little Hands Go Green is being supported by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), MilkMan , The Ministry of Environment, Eskom Uganda, Movit , Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), NBS Television and the CIA to organize the annual festival. Each child who attends the festival returns home with a free fruit seedling for planting at their home, community or at school.

Gen Kale Kayihura has been at the forefront of inspiring the police officers to work with communities as they execute their statutory mandate of serving and protecting Ugandans by keeping law and order. He has recently traversed various parts of the country encouraging neighborhood watch schemes and other community policing initiatives. 

The IMO commander Frank Mwesigwa has as a result been traversing the five divisions of Kampala to ensure that there is a massive reduction in crime all over Kampala. The IGP will plant fruit trees in various areas of Kampala in partnership with Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and My Kid is A superstar the organizers of the only Green Festival in Africa.

Protecting Environment Is A Matter Of Life And Death, Says Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni emphasized that protecting the environment is a matter of life and death for humanity cautioning that ‘we must do all it takes to protect the environment lest we perish.’ The president was speaking as guest of honor during World Environment Day celebrations in Ibanda District on Monday.

“All those interfering with nature are doing a great disservice to themselves and will ultimately pay a heavy price. God created for us a wonderful environment to live in but by degrading it, we are going against his will. Water is our life and we should not interfere with anything to do with water or the environment.

“We have not had enough rains for the last two seasons in Uganda and experts attribute it to the attack on the environment by people who invaded wetlands, forests, lakes and rivers that contribute 40% of the rains we get and we can’t go on like that,” he added.

The President, therefore, said that government is soon amending and strengthening the environment protection law to ensure that nobody should do any activity in a radius of 50 meters from a river bank, 200 meters from a lake shore and advised all people living or practicing agriculture in wetlands and forestry reserves, to leave them peacefully.

Important for tourism

Museveni further said that protecting the environment is also important for tourism noting that the sector earns the country much more foreign exchange than most economic activities the country is engaged in.

The President, who described the environment as the genetic bank, appealed to all citizens of Uganda to prioritize environmental protection for the good of the current and future generations. He emphasized that they ought treat whoever is attacking the environment as their number one enemy.

Rain catchment areas

The Minister of Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, said that wetlands, forests and water bodies are important rain catchment areas and that whoever attacked them in a country like Uganda that is largely agricultural and dependent on rainfall, must be resisted.

On behalf of the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program Country Director, Ms. Rosa Malanga, said that humanity must find ways of connecting with nature, protect it, respect it and safeguard the world heritage. She commended Uganda for being one of the few countries that have put in place a legal framework to protect the environment.

The French Ambassador to Uganda, Ms. Stephanie Rivoal, noted that humanity shares the same planet and there must be a collective duty to protect it selfishly for the sake of the future generations.

She said that the planet belongs to nobody but to everybody and it is, therefore, a duty of everybody to ensure that it is safe for humanity. She appealed to developed countries who contributed greatly to climate change to take a leading role in mitigating the causes of climate change.

Environmentalists Run For Trees In Ibanda

On Sunday, 4th June, thousands of environment protectionists thronged Ibanda, western Uganda, to take part in The 2017 Environment Run which was a precursor to Monday’s World Environment Day celebrations. This year's World Environment Day theme is "Connect with Nature".

The 2017 Environment Run, under the theme ‘Run for Trees’ was organized by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green, Eskom Uganda, Hima Cement among other partners. It attracted all calibers of participants who also planted trees as a gesture of their commitment to protect the environment.  

State Minister for Environment Hon Kitutu Kimono, on Thursday flagged off the World Environment Day Celebration Caravan at the NEMA offices in Kampala. The team carried out a number of activities which included planting trees in schools and various other strategic locations. The ‘caravan’ cleaned Ibanda town on Saturday a day before the historic Sunday run.

The caravan was embraced by NEMA officials, the Woman Member of Parliament (MP) for    Ibanda Hon Jovin Kaliisa and other district officials, a team from Uganda Little Hands Go Green led by CEO Joseph Masembe, pupils and student from different schools and the local people. The activities created awareness and set a precedent. 

“A wise man will always plant a tree whose shade he knows he will never sit under,” Joseph Masembe explained why it is important for people to plant trees and ensure a humane environment in the future.

“We owe it to our children and grand children to deliver to them a green inheritance.” He added, emphasizing the need to protect the environment because the future needs a habitable environment. Uganda joins the world on Monday to commemorate World Environment Day.

Photos: Little Hands Go Green, NEMA Set Pace For Environment Day Celebrations

This year’s environment day celebrations have picked momentum in Ibanda district, Western Uganda. This year's World Environment Day theme is "Connect with Nature". Environment concerns are getting global attention with a motive to protect Mother Nature.

State Minister for Environment Hon Kitutu Kimono, the Executive Director (ED) of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the Woman Member of Parliament (MP) for    Ibanda Hon Jovin  Kaliisa and the CEO Little Hands Go Green Joseph Masembe flagged off the World Environment Day Celebration Caravan at the NEMA offices in Kampala.

The team that set off on Thursday, including school children, planted trees in different areas on their way to Ibanda as part of the drive to create climate change awareness. The team has planted trees in Mpigi, and Buwama and Nkozi enroute to Ibanda. Various schools have joined the noble cause.

Below in pictures we bring you highlights some from different activities being undertaken by stakeholders ahead of environment day celebrations on 5th June.

NFA Under Fire Over Illegal Logging In Bugoma Forest

By George Busiinge

The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has come under fire from the communities neighboring Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Hoima district for abetting illegal lumbering. Residents accuse NFA officials for laxity, which has fueled the illegal timber trade and charcoal burning within the forest. 

They expressed their concern during a two day collaborative meeting organized by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) held at Kabwoya sub county headquarters  in Hoima.  Annet Agaba, a tree planting coordinator for Kidoma Conservation Development Association told the meeting that NFA officials don't respond to calls when residents notify them about the activities of illegal loggers. 

She explains that when the Community Forest Management groups entered partnership with NFA, the Bugoma forest was in a very good shape, but the laxity of NFA officials has fueled lumbering. Charles Byamuleme, a resident of Kyangwali Sub County accuses NFA especially the forest supervisors and police personally deployed to guard the forest for conniving with illegal loggers to cut down trees. 

Stuart Maniraguha, the Budongo Range Manager, said the issue of illegal lumbering involves both residents and community members. 
He said they are strengthening partnerships with communities and other stakeholders to ensure the reserve is protected and free from illegal activities. 

Joan Akiza from National Association of Professional Environmentalists -NAPE called upon all the stakeholders to work together in order to prevent the cutting of timbers and charcool in Bugoma forest and promised total support as NAPE . 

 

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