How Many Reports Will It Take To Start Acting On Climate Change?

By John Leary

Farmers feed the world. But they're doing it wrong – rather, big agribusiness is conditioning them to do it wrong. Farming methods are destroying the planet and leaving most smallholder farmers destitute.

On the deteriorating farmlands of Sub-Saharan Africa, I've seen mothers, fathers, and children work long, back-breaking hours on their small plots of maize, soy, cotton, rice and peanuts. And it pains me to know their hard work will ultimately prove futile. 

The widespread use of monocrop agriculture is obliterating the potential of farmlands around the globe and leaving a wake of environmental, social and economic ruin in its path. Deforestation done in the name of "feeding the world" is causing a breakdown in biodiversity and carbon stores, making it harder to grow food and contributing to a warming planet. 

I am not surprised by the findings of several major reports from the scientific community this past year. The UN has warned that immediate change is necessary to avoid more catastrophes; the UN-backed report in May announced that one million species are at risk of extinction because of land degradation; and last week the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change reported exactly what I wrote in One Shot: Trees as our last chance for survival two and a half years ago, that we must change the way we grow food. We must replace chemical fertilizers and processed animal feeds with trees that fertilize and grow food. We must diversify, not intensify. This way, we can bring agriculture closer to sustainability. 

These reports come from accredited institutions and offer real, scientific proof that our planet is in trouble and much of the problem is directly tied to farming and deforestation. While I am not surprised by what these scientists are saying, I am amazed at how the headlines convey this as a new realization, and that the fleeting concern they create still does not inspire people to action. 

Throughout the world, more and more monocropped fields are grown mostly for livestock feed. We're mowing down trees to grow food for our food, and both the fertilizers for the feed and the manure from the livestock are having negative effects on soil, water, and the climate.

For thirty years, Trees for the Future has championed the power of trees, agroforestry, and crop diversity. And for three decades, we've acted on that knowledge. We've transformed smallholder farming with the Forest Garden Approach – a methodology that guides farmers in strategically planting thousands of trees, shrubs, fruits, and vegetables. We're combining our agroforestry and permaculture expertise with farmers' knowledge and experience, and we have created a new form of agriculture that meets humanity's needs now and into the future.

In 30 years we've planted more than 160 million trees and we expect to add over 20 million more trees this year alone. We have proven that maintaining tree cover around our planet and across our agricultural lands is absolutely essential for our long term survival.

When trees flourish, so do communities. Farmers can feed their families healthy produce, send their children to school, and live fulfilling lives. All the while, these trees are sequestering carbon and revitalizing ecosystems.

So let me ask, how many more reports do you need to see before you act?

Trees for the Future has the solution and we are actively working with passionate and dedicated farmers to make the changes we need to see in our food system. 

It's time to start changing at every level. I challenge you to grow your own food, eat locally, reduce your meat consumption, and support organizations that aren't just talking about the problem, but that are doing something that affects sustainable change.

Our community of individual donors, business partners, and collaborating organizations has made the last 30 years possible. Their confidence in us has been a never-ending source of inspiration for our team to dig deeper and work harder, just like the farmers we serve. I thank each and every one of you.

Together, we enter the UN Decade of Landscape Restoration with all the right knowledge to make the meaningful global change we know is possible. Our sustainable and regenerative Forest Garden Approach is attracting more partners every day.

As we work closely with farmers on their land, we also share our Forest Garden Approach with the public, giving anyone with the will to learn the ability to plant their own Forest Gardens. 

Unfortunately, we still have to turn away farmers interested in our program because we don't have the resources to take them on. But you can change that. You can make it possible for us to say "Yes, let's get planting!"

John Leary is the Executive Director of Trees for the Future

Small Holder Farmers Find Fault In The Agriculture Budget

BY SAMUEL NABWIISO

Although government increased the Budget for agriculture sector to Shs1.05trillions in financial year 2019/20 which translate into 2.6% of the national budget up from the 2.4% of the national budget in the financial year 2018/2019, farmers say the increment will not support the transformation of the sector.

Farmers are saying the budget intends to benefit only large scale farmers in the country at the expense of the small holder ones.

Small holder farmers  who met last week  during the farmers  budget dialogue  that was hosted by the  Eastern and Southern Africa Small Farmers  Forum( EASFF ) Uganda chapter said most of the challenges affecting small holder farmers will not be solved by the budget as it was presented by the  Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaijja  during the budget speech.

They urge that the most important components in the sector were allocated little resources yet they play a big role towards supporting the small holder farmers in the agriculture sector. The most subcomponent that farmers believe are crucial include extension services, access to cheap irrigation equipment’s and scientific researches knowledge.

“We applaud the government for increasing the budget allocation from Shs893billion in FY2018/19 to UGX1.05trillions in FY2019/20 but the current budget may not solve the key issues in the sector because of underfunding of the key components in the sector,” Masudio Margret a small holder farmer from Adjuman said during the dialogue at EASFF head offices in Ntinda.

In the sectors budget (agriculture) government allocated Shs1.05trillions in financial year 2019/20 of which key subcomponent in the sector were under funded.

For example, agriculture research under the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) was allocated only Shs81.43billion yet the funds required in the financial year is Shs129.7billion. This leaves the organization with a funding gap of Shs48.3billion.

On the side of Recruiting Agriculture Extension Officers the central government allocated Shs107 billion yet the total budget in the financial year were budgeted to cost Shs230.2billion this leaves the Exercise with funding gap of Shs108.2 billion.

According to the cross section of farmers who attended the meeting such funding gap will impact farmers drastically because farmers in some parts of the country will not have access to agricultural extension services due to failure by the ministry to recruit extension services providers because of limited resources.

The current recruitment of agricultural extension workers stands at 3,827 of 5000.The current ratio of extension to farmer are 1:1800. The recommended is 1:500.This would require the government to recruit 12,000 extension staff.  The 5000 extension staffs were for 116 districts in 2015/16. The Districts have since increased to 128, an addition of 12 districts and 94 sub counties.

The approved structure is 13 officers at district level and 2+1 extension staff at sub county level (2 being crop and livestock and 1/3 being fisheries).

“As small holder farmers we need these technical people because they teach farmers how to improve their productivity. The extension officers are also critical to move research from the lab to the field and to ensure a return on investment in research by translating new knowledge into innovative practices” Explained Ngunga Tabula from Masaka.

Bagaga Ronald the Program Officer, Research and Policy at Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers' Forum (ESAFF) Uganda said the continued under funding in the agriculture sector will keep the majority of Ugandan under poverty which is big obstacles towards attaining sustainable Development Goals.

 He added that under funding priority key components in the Agriculture sector will also undermines Government to achieve the National Development Plan Phase II of the agriculture sector.

“The National Development Plan Phase II talks of increasing production and productivity of agricultural commodities and enterprises. Alongside strengthening the agricultural services institutions and the enabling environment however these objectives among other will not achieved if limited resources are allocated to the sector,” he explained.

In their final conclusion the farmers urged government in the upcoming financial year 2020/21 to ensure that   the budget for the sector are in line with the Malabo declaration which calls for African states to  allocate at least 10% of their National Budget to Agriculture Sector of which Uganda is signatory to the convention.

Other key issues which they want Government to do is to involve small holder farmers in the budget formulation process. According to the farmers who attended the meeting, government on many occasions has been sidelining them when it comes to budget process this has left their views not being considered in the final budget paper.

Among the key actions in the budget for Agriculture in the financial year, government will focus more on   Provision of storage facilities and linking farmers to agro-processing facilities to support agro-industrialization.  Delivery of quality inputs and services including seed and planting materials, mechanization, fertilizer, agricultural credit and extension services among other key action. 

Ruparelia Group Eyes Chinese Flower Market

Rosebud KPN Limited, a subsidiary of Ruparelia Group has expressed interest to export rose flowers to the Chinese market.

Speaking to Chinese journalists at the Kunming Flower Exhibition, Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Rosebud said China is a potentially huge market.

Rajiv told the Chinese that from their green houses in Uganda, they produce half a million roses a day using environmentally friendly technology.

“We currently supply to the European market. We are now looking at supplying our roses to China. It is a huge market,” he said.

He said they have a variety or roses species coming in different colors and stems. “We guarantee our roses for ten days from time they arrive in China,”

“If there is a problem with any of our roses we replace them for free. “Our main competitive advantage is our consistency in production and supply as well as quality assurance.

Under Rosebud and Premier Roses, Ruparelia Group has remained the leading exporter of rose flowers in the country.

It is believed that Rosebud exported close to 16m high quality Rose stems to the World market during this year’s International Mother’s day last year.

"Statistics emerging from the sector indicate that Rosebud did our country proud by way of increasing their export capacity down from the normal 13m stems per month to over 16m respectively just within that one month of International Mother’s day festive," state minister for trade and cooperatives Michael Werikhe said last year.

Rajiv last year said Rosebud is now well placed and has capacity to export more high quality Rose flowers to the World market because they have increased on their acreage output, fighting pests on farm and the deliberate introduction of new high quality flower species.

"Rosebud assures the country that they have developed full capacity that enables them to export more volumes of flowers to the world  and promised to continue creating more jobs especially  empowering the women who are vulnerable to poverty as they carry the biggest burden of nurturing their families" Rajiv observed.

The Ruparelia Group last year acquired more land for the flower growing business. This land was acquired in Mukono and Masaka districts.

Already the family runs flower farms and production centers in Entebbe, Wakiso, in Wakiso district, just outside the capital Kampala.

Rosebud Limited and Premier Roses have put in place the right modern technology to ensure that the environment is health and that their workers are not in danger of any pollution.

“Our farm is equipped with the most modern water recycling equipment's that has helped to reduce land filling, need for conventional waste disposal and emission of greenhouse gases in our farm,” Rosebud revealed to this website in an interview highlighting the investment the company has done to safeguard the environment.

“We are continually doing research and development to conserve the environment, reduce the use of agrochemicals and improve efficiency in the use of natural resources. Our goal is to continue to co-exist with the natural environment and ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees,” it added.

Renewable Energy, Climate Change Meeting Gathers In Abu Dhabi

More than 360 government representatives from 116 countries are gathering in Abu Dhabi to attend the Seventeenth Council of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Luxembourg will Chair the Agency's two-day high-level meeting that takes place days ahead of the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting, one of the central global preparatory meetings for the United Nations Climate Action Summit taking place in New York in September.

 "Electrification fueled by Renewables and energy efficiency is the only ready and real instrument we have to be in line with the Paris Agreement goals." said IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera.

"Thanks to sharply falling technology costs and enabling policies, Renewable energy is the backbone of energy decarbonisation and a central climate action tool. Identifying practical pathways to increase the speed of deployment will be at the heart of the discussions taking place in Abu Dhabi in the coming days."

 During the Council, the Agency will present key findings from its most recent work on power generation costs and outline a global energy transformation pathway that supports the achievement of the Paris Agreement.

The meeting will also host discussions around the importance of long-term energy planning, the socio-economic benefits of the energy transformation and how decentralised renewable energy solutions support energy access and sustainable development.

 "Decisions taken today on renewable energy deployment affect our ability to address global challenges for generations to come," said Mr. Guy Lentz, Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the European Union and Chair of the Council meeting.

"Luxembourg and the European Union at large, are taking steps to lead the world in a transition towards a sustainable energy future and carbon neutrality by 2050.

 "At international gatherings like the IRENA Council, we seek opportunities to engage and support other countries in our shared vision of a climate-safe and socio-economically just world," continued Mr. Lentz. "We are pleased to be part of IRENA's unique efforts at the centre of international cooperation for greater renewable energy deployment."

 During the meeting, the Director-General will present a progress report, highlighting the efforts, achievements and support IRENA has given its Members so far this year. The Agency's 21 elected Council members will also discuss the content and focus of the Agency's future work as part of IRENA's Work Programme and Budget for 2020-2021.

 The 17th Council will also include the announcement of a new partnership between the Agency and a UAE Ministry and IRENA's fifth Policy Day, which this year will focus on policy frameworks necessary to attract and secure renewable energy investment in a time of transition.

 Composed of 21 IRENA Members, the Council meets twice annually to facilitate cooperation among Members, oversee implementation of the IRENA work programme and complete substantive preparations for the Agency's annual Assembly.

Israeli Firm Harvests Cannabis In Uganda

Israeli firm, Together Pharma Limited has reported that it made a cannabis harvest from Uganda on Tuesday, despite a government announcement that the said license had been halted. This is according to a statement released to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Authority Ltd, today. 

The statement, which is signed by CEO Nissim Bracha, indicates that the company completed the first harvesting of cannabis inflorescences at its farm in Uganda on June 18 and sowed another 10 dunams on the company's farm in Uganda on the same day. 

According to the statement, the harvested produce will be marketed to one of the European countries. Together Pharma Limited produces and exports medical cannabis around the world. 

This report puts into suspicion, a pronouncement by state minister for Investment Evelyn Anite that the government had halted the company’s license. Anite said when she was told about the company’s license, she found that not a lot of research had been done before it was granted. 

The Health minister, Jane Aceng also told URN in April that cabinet wants assurances from the company that growing medical marijuana wouldn't have a negative impact on the economy. The government said it had put a committee to look into the issue and report part back to the cabinet. That they would base on that report on whether to award licenses or not. This has not happened.   

Initial reports indicated that the firm is working with a Ugandan company; Industrial Hemp Uganda Limited, which is linked to former Bunyaruguru County MP Benjamin Cadet.       

On its website, Industrial Hemp Uganda Limited shows that it is already growing medical cannabis in the country. It states: “The company is primarily engaged in the growing and development of medical cannabis (medical marijuana) and cannabis products for industrial purposes in Uganda.” 

However, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 2015, specifies that persons involved in the manufacture, production, sale, or distribution of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances commit an offence and are liable, on conviction, to a fine or imprisonment of as much as five years or both.  

The law also prohibits the cultivation of any plant, including cannabis, from which narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances may be extracted, without permission from the Health minister.

The National Drug Policy and Authority Act, 1993 provides that "No person shall, without the written consent of the Health minister… cultivate any plant from, which a narcotic drug can be extracted".

SOURCE: Observer

Vice Chancellor Releases Book On Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy Book

Victoria University focus on a research driven education continues to pay off after the Vice Chancellor Assoc. Prof. Krishna N. Sharma, released his latest book titled Advanced Techniques in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

Prof. Sharma said that this 246 pages book is for physiotherapy and occupational therapy students and professionals. He adds that the book is designed after considering undergraduate and postgraduate PT/OT curricula of several international Universities.

“It encompasses 32 advance orthopedic/manual therapy, neurological, vestibular and cardiopulmonary physiotherapy and occupational therapy techniques,” he explains.

“The content is in-depth but precise and concise, written in simple English that makes almost all the chapters a 15 minutes read. The book is enhanced with easy-to-comprehend figures, flowcharts, and photographs,” he adds.

This book is published by Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd., New Delhi, India; a 50 years old leading medical publication with 3,500 titles in its list and 350 new products added each year.

Prof. Sharma was recently named the youngest Vice Chancellor in the world. He is a renowned academician and prolific author. He has written several books on medical and health sciences, music and literature and a few of them were listed in the bestsellers list on amazon.com.

Apart from academic management, he is also active in the field of pain management. After years of his experience and supervising more than 60 researches, he developed his own therapeutic manual therapy techniques- Krishna’s Kinetikinetic Manual Therapy (KKMT) which is being taught and practiced in several countries

Protect Natural Forests For Sustainable Development

By Jolly Bategeka

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012. The Day is celebrated and raises awareness on the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

Uganda will join the rest of the world on March 21, 2019 to celebrate the International Day of Forests (IDF).  This day will be celebrated under the theme, 'Forests and Education.' It will seek to raise awareness on how sustainably managed forests provide a wide array of contributions in this area.

Uganda’s forests are an important and treasured natural asset contributing about 8.7% to the national economy based on conservative estimates (NEMA, 2011). According to the ministry of Water and Environment (State of Uganda’s forestry 2016), the forestry estate has shrunk from 23% of the total land area in 1990 to 9% in 2015. According to National Forestry Authority report in 2015, Uganda is losing 200,000Ha per year and if no action is taken to protect natural forests Uganda may not have natural forests by 2025.

Forests provide multiple benefits and sustainably managed forests give environmental benefits, sustainable economic development and improve the quality of life of people across the country. Forests provide habitats for many native flora and fauna species, renewable products and energy and contribute to the development of a green economy. Forests also provide a wide range of wood and non-wood products, clean water resources, and play a vital role in the mitigation of climate change.

A key objective of Uganda’s sustainable forest management is to protect and enhance the health and biodiversity of our forest resources, while ensuring they continue to provide a range of environmental, social and economic benefits for Uganda’s present and future generations.

The Albertine Region is blessed with different natural resources like Forests (Bugoma, Budongo, Kangombe central forest reserves etc), Animals, water bodies, Hills, minerals to mention but a few. Bugoma Central Forest Reserve is a tourism hub and is home to about 600 Chimpanzees’ and other endangered bird spices notably Nahan’s Francolin. It lies at the center of the migratory corridor for large mammals such as chimps and Elephants connecting to Budongo and Murchison Falls National Park from Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a central forest for Bunyoro especially in the formation of rain and the fact that Uganda enjoys rain feed agriculture.

However Uganda’s forests especially in the Albertine region, Central Forest Reserves (Bugoma, Budongo, Kangombe, Rukara, Muziizi etc) are faced with continuously worsening trends through encroachment, deforestation and forest degradation through conversion of forest land to other land uses. These include agriculture, urbanization etc.

There is also rampant felling of trees for timber, firewood and charcoal burning on private and government land, rampant fires and livestock damage on forests. There is high population growth rate that has put a lot of pressure on natural resources especially forests. The increasing population requires more food to be produced which in turn requires opening up more land for agriculture.

This is partly attributed to weak institutions, uncoordinated implementation of policies between different sectors of the economy, insufficient funding, issues relating to governance in the forestry sector, Issues associated with illegal and unregulated trade of forest products and the unsecured forest rights, and limited capacity at all levels which has undermined effectiveness and efficiency in developing and sustainably managing forest resources in the Albertine Region. Lack of sufficient human resources and poor facilitation of the environmental police is another reason cited for the continued lack of effective management of our forests. 

Recommendations

Therefore I recommend that NFA urgently prioritize boundary opening. This is because lack of clear boundaries is the main excuse used by communities adjacent to Central Forest Reserves to encroach upon them and is the same reason that make it hard for NFA to enforce regulations when they themselves don’t know the boundaries.

Corruption and the practice of local officials conniving to a bet illegal activities in forestry reserves, especially illicit logging be firmly dealt with. While encroachers and illegal loggers have been prosecuted, Forestry officials that connive with them need to be prosecuted too so as to set an example

More forest personnel with a robust mandate need to be recruited and the welfare and incentives of the existing ones improved so as to reduce on the temptation to indulge in illegal activity. The numbers of environmental police needs to be increased so as to provide a more robust backing for forestry officials in their work

Land titles held in central forest Reserves need to be deeply investigated, the arrant officials be punished, tittles found to have been issued fraudulently should be scrutinized and recalled.

Forest restoration, Uganda should prioritize forest restoration. The main target should be to restore forest cover that has been lost. This should be done through Agro-forestry, community tree planting programme, corporate tree planting in forest reserves, tree talk foundations and green charcoal (addressing barriers to adoption of improved charcoal production technologies and sustainable land management practices through an integrated approach).

In conclusion, we need to combine all efforts to protect forests by stakeholders at all levels or else Uganda may have no any natural forest by 2025. 

The writer is a Project Officer-Forestry at Mid-Western Region Anti-Corruption Coalition    

AfDB's Prof. Nyong Named Among World's 100 Most Influential People In Climate Policy

The African Development Bank is pleased to announce  the nomination of Professor Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth, as one of the '100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy 2019' by Apolitical, a peer-to-peer learning platform for governments.

Nyong, a pioneering and globally recognized climate change expert, was named among the top 20 on the prestigious listing announced Wednesday in London.

Lisa Witter, Apolitical's Executive Chairman said: "The need to reduce greenhouse gas emission is urgent. 174 countries and the EU agreed to act at the Paris Agreements. At Apolitical, we highlight the good work that government does and help it to become even better. By showcasing these climate policy leaders, we hope to encourage more collaboration and exchange to accelerate the effective response to the global climate threat."

Nyong joined the Bank in 2008 and built up the Bank's climate change initiatives including its Green Growth Agenda. Prior to joining the Bank, he worked as a Senior Program Specialist for Climate Change at the International Development Research Centre in Nairobi.

In this role, Nyong successfully mobilized substantial resources to set up the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program that has significantly built adaptation capacity across the continent.

Prior to that, he was a Coordinating Lead Author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was a Co-Recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions. Mr. Nyong also served as a Professor of Climate Change at the University of Jos, Nigeria.

"We are delighted by this nomination of one of our own to this list," Bank Vice President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Amadou Hott said. "It is a worthy recognition of his - and the Bank's -commitment to respond to climate change threats on our continent, which remains disproportionately affected."

Apolitical's '100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy' list celebrates inspirational leaders, politicians, advocates, youth activists, academics and diplomats from all over the world whose work is indispensable to raising awareness, such as Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old Swedish activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, who sparked off a worldwide movement to fight against global warming, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest ever US Congresswoman and lead advocate of the Green New Deal, Patricia Espinosa, and David Attenborough, world-renowned British historian.

The list was compiled from hundreds of nominations from governments, international organisations and academia, including the UNDP, Harvard, Oxford, Bloomberg, the Climate Action Network.

 "It is an honour to be acknowledged amongst such an influential list of leaders who are passionate and actively working to influence policy and make a tangible difference towards addressing global climate change," said Nyong.

"Climate change has evolved from an environmental worry to a threat on global development, particularly in Africa. The African Development Bank under the leadership of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has demonstrated a strong commitment at both policy and implementation level, to climate compatible development in Africa."

AfDB Pledges $25bn To climate finance For 2020-2025

The African Development Bank will double its climate finance commitments for the period 2020-2025, the Bank’s President announced today at the One Planet Summit taking place in Nairobi. Akinwumi A. Adesina said that the Bank would commit at least US$25 billion towards climate finance.

Speaking at a plenary in the presence of Heads of State, including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and French President Emmanuel Macron, Adesina also announced the Bank is on course to achieve its target of allocating 40% of its funding to climate finance by 2020, a year ahead.

The Bank’s commitment on the target, the highest among all multilateral development banks, has progressed steadily from 9% in 2016 to 28% in 2017 and 32% in 2018.

Considering Africa’s high vulnerability despite contributing the least to climate change, the African Development Bank has successfully raised its adaptation finance from less than 30% of total climate finance to parity with mitigation in 2018. The African Development Bank will continue this trend into the future.

“The required level of financing is only feasible with the direct involvement of the entire financial sector,” said Adesina. “Consequently, the Bank launched the African Financial Alliance for Climate Change (AFAC) to link all stock exchanges, pension and sovereign wealth funds, central Banks and other financial institutions of Africa to mobilize and incentivize the shift of their portfolios towards low carbon and climate resilient investments.”

The Bank made another milestone announcement. “It is not good enough to simply ask countries to stay away from polluting technologies,” Adesina said. “We have to be proactive in exploring alternatives. We will therefore be launching the ‘green baseload’ facility under the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA 2.0) to provide concessional finance and technical assistance to support the penetration and scale-up of renewable energy, to provide affordable and reliable renewable energy baseload.”

Several donors, including Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Italy, the UK and USAID have indicated their interest in this transformative instrument, which will also help to replace coal. The African Development Bank has played a critical role in building Africa’s clean energy capacities.

The Bank’s last investment in a coal project was 10 years ago. Additionally, and in line with its ambitious New Deal on Energy for Africa, 95% of all Bank investments in power generation over the 2016-18 period have been in renewables.

The “Desert to Power” program, a $10 billion initiative to build a 10 GW solar zone across the Sahel—the largest in the world— would provide electricity for 250 million people.  Together with partners such as the Green Climate Fund and the EU, the Bank has now financed the first project under this Initiative: The Yeleen Rural Electrification Project in Burkina Faso.

One Planet Summit To Make Crucial climate change Case

Africa is responsible for only four per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but 65 per cent of its population is thought to be directly affected by climate change. So, in Nairobi, the One Planet Summit will illustrate the core truth at the heart of the climate change debate: global warming has an impact on everyone on the planet, whether or not they contribute substantially to it.

The OPS Nairobi Summit will showcase Africa’s strengths as a vibrant place for climate innovation and investments with advances in sustainable business models, climate smart agriculture, green bonds, and renewable energy Confirmed by French Republic President Macron, « We have all the means to act to fight against climate change. But one country or one business alone can’t save everyone.

That’s why we need the international meetings and coalitions to coordinate our efforts and strike hard. We need to act now to achieve our main goal: reduce our production of carbon which destabilizes the climate balance and causes impacts on our security and health. The next months will be full of opportunities to strengthen our joint effort and to create new partnerships”.

This is a response to Africa’s disproportionate burden as the result of climate change, the complex shifts that affect our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, rising seas, and shifting wildlife populations and habitats.

Africa’s vast ecological wealth and unique natural ecosystems are especially susceptible, which is why Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch a call to action at the Summit “to prevent, halt and reverse the loss of Africa's forests”.

Already the hottest continent, Africa is expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average, causing longer, more severe droughts, raging storms and floods and unpredictable rainfall. This will make it harder for African farmers to grow key crops such as wheat, rice and maize, thereby endangering food security.

Add to that the expected population spurt in Africa, the youngest continent, and the challenges are daunting. According to a UN report, Africa will have an additional 1.3 billion people by 2050. Most of the growth will happen in the cities, posing a challenge for African governments to ensure smart and sustainable urban planning.

This is the context within which Kenya’s decision to co-host the One Planet Summit and actively fight climate change becomes significant. In the run-up to the Summit, Monica Juma, cabinet secretary in Kenya’s ministry of foreign affairs, said, “We’ve begun to frame Nairobi as the world global environmental capital.” She indicated that Kenya was determined to upscale discussions on the sustainable use of natural resources in line with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

A lot of jargon has been thrown around – better land management, biodiversity protection, the promotion of renewable energy and the need to foster resilience and adaptation among populations vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These are not merely symbolic for Africa. They are substantial. The continent is uniquely placed in the climate change debate. It has both immense challenges and extraordinary opportunities.

Preservation of biodiversity is a key issue for the African continent. Experts say climate change, alongside land degradation and habitat loss, could cause some African animal species to decline by as much as 50 per cent by the end of the century. The threat to Africa’s forests is dire. Nearly 20 per cent of the African continent is covered by forests, including the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, the Congo Basin Forest, known as the “green lung of Africa.”

As President Kenyatta will say in his call to action at the One Planet Summit, “forests constitute a resource of great economic, cultural, spiritual and scientific value whose disappearance would be irrecoverable”. In November, Patricia Espinsoa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, said: “Few other places on earth suffer the devastating impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss like the continent of Africa.”

Some African entrepreneurs are already investing in innovation and green energy. Malian Samba Bathily, CEO of Africa Development Solutions, recently said that as he crossed the continent, he felt proud to have been “…involved in the production of more than 1,000 MW of hydro-electric power… the creation of data centres and solar installations in more than 1,600 localities, benefiting between nine and 10m people”. Bathily incidentally supports the two-year-old Ghana-headquartered AfroChampions Initiative, which seeks to build up homegrown multi-national companies across the continent. In itself, AfroChampions is a powerful indicator of African optimism and opportunity, despite the challenges.

Accordingly, the One Planet Summit in Nairobi could usefully signal to the wider world both an urgent need to act as well as deliberative intent. How?

The One Planet Summit seems to be built for innovation. Unlike other, more crusty United Nations climate change conferences, this summit is young. It was born on a whim and a prayer in December 2017, when Macron hosted more than 50 world leaders in Paris to celebrate the anniversary of the UN climate compact agreed in the French capital in 2015. America’s newly elected president Donald Trump had announced the withdrawal from the Paris pact of the United States, the world’s second biggest polluter after China.

The painfully forged international consensus on climate action seemed to be unravelling. There seemed little certainty about the fate of the pledges produced in Paris, under the aegis of the UN, to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. Macron’s One Planet Summit might well have been a one-off, an ambitious irrelevance.

It was not as the next One Planet Summit in New York was to reveal with greater adepts.

All the talk in New York was about green finance, collaboration and investing in the transition to de-carbonised economies. Disparate countries reported on actual progress as well as their very real problems. There was mention of two pan-African science skills courses, which were launched in July 2018 in Nairobi and Dakar.

This will be important in building an African scientific community to prepare for climate change and agricultural adaptation. Reported accomplishments included the incubation of seven programmes to support trans-boundary river basin organizations by the Agence Française de Développement and the World Bank is supporting the Niger Basin Authority. The 2018 One Planet Summit said 1.5 million euros had been committed to 30 countries in Africa, where 20 adaptation projects had already been identified.

This could be the right way to invest in the future. Joyce Msuya, a Tanzanian microbiologist who serves as Acting Executive Director of UN Environment, recently pointed to an example of African “ingenuity” when faced with climate change.

“On February 7,” she said, “a boat made entirely of recycled plastic — the world’s first — cruised into a quiet harbour in Zanzibar after two weeks at sea.” It was, Msuya added, a remarkable example of human ingenuity and offered the possibility Africa can affect “systemic change”.

Will it have the resources for it? Strategic assistance will be essential. After 2018, it became clear that the One Planet Summit was actively engaging and recruiting public and private actors in the fight against climate change. This will be key for Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the continent will need $20 to 30 billion every year for the next two decades to help fund climate change adaptation and resilience and accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

When the Paris pact was being signed four years ago, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina declared "Africa has been short-changed by climate change. Africa must not be short-changed by climate finance."

The Nairobi Summit, which will bring together key world figures, CEOs and civil society leaders, must respond to the call to action.

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