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The Promise of Paris – Climate change is creating business opportunities

African countries can meet climate targets promised in the landmark Paris Agreement by catalyzing trillions of dollars in private investments through a combination of smart policy reforms and innovative business models, according to a new report b a member of the World Bank Group.

The report identifies seven industry sectors that can make a crucial difference in catalyzing private investment: renewable energy, off-grid solar and energy storage, agribusiness, green buildings, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management. Already, more than $1 trillion (R15 trillion) in investments are flowing into climate-related projects in these areas. But trillions more could be triggered by creating the right business conditions in emerging markets, the report found.

“The private sector holds the key to fighting climate change,” said IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou. “The private sector has the innovation, the financing, and the tools. We can help unlock more private sector investment, but this also requires government reforms as well as innovative business models—which together will create new markets and attract the necessary investment. This can fulfill the promise of Paris.”

IFC’s Creating Markets for Climate Business report offers several examples of such an approach. Zambia was experiencing daily blackouts, stemming from drought that had crippled its hydroelectric capacity, when it became the first country to sign up for Scaling Solar in 2015. The government aims to build two large solar plants as part of its long-term strategy to generate 600 MW from solar. Johannesburg Water demonstrated how PPPs can succeed in meeting development and climate objectives in the water sector. The municipality set out to establish a privately-operated utility in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2000, when city water and sanitation services were facing bankruptcy. It has since installed biogas-to-electricity generation in several wastewater facilities. Biogas scrubbing and combined heat and power cogeneration projects were installed in 2012.

Saleem Karimjee, IFC Country Manager for Southern Africa, said, “African private businesses have the opportunity to become regional and global leaders in promoting climate-friendly projects. New approaches to business can unlock significant funds for climate finance that IFC and other lenders are eager to support.”

The report’s findings point to specific investment opportunities including:

Renewable energy investments could climb to R115 trillion cumulative by 2040—reforms such as renewable energy auctions, land title reforms, and supportive energy storage policy frameworks would make this possible.

Investments in off-grid solar and energy storage can reach $23 billion (R115 trillion) a year by 2025—if countries use differentiated tariffs, clear technical and safety standards, and targeted financial incentives while supporting new business models for community based solar such as Pay-as-You-Go and innovative finance solutions such as asset securitization.

Trillions of dollars of agribusiness investment can become more “climate-smart”—if governments ensure property rights, good transportation infrastructure, and regulations and fiscal policies that encourage climate-smart investment while promoting improved farmer-training practices and using financial innovation to provide working capital for farmers.Investments in green buildings could reach $3.4 trillion (R51 trillion) cumulative by 2025 in key emerging markets—if countries adopt better building codes and standards and create targeted financial incentives such as green-building certification and mandatory benchmarking of energy use. Other important reforms should encourage new utility business models, such as green mortgages and energy service companies.

Trillions of dollars in investments in sustainable urban transportation can be mobilized in the coming decade—if governments issue mandates to enable infrastructure investments and adopt municipal transit plans that can spur innovations, such as light rail.

Investments in water supply and sanitation could exceed $13 trillion (R195 trillion) cumulative by 2030—for this governments would need to establish water pricing at predictable and sustainable levels to increase the creditworthiness of utilities while entering into public-private partnerships and adopting performance-based contracts.

Investments in climate-smart urban waste management could reach $2 trillion—if cities work to attract private sector participation through improved regulatory and enforcement frameworks, using economic incentives and cost-recovery mechanisms such as feed-in tariffs, and driving waste-conscious consumer behavior.

Addressing climate change is a strategic priority for IFC. Since 2005, IFC has invested $18.3 billion (R195 trillion) of its own funds in long-term financing for climate-smart projects and mobilized an additional $11 billion from other investors. The latest report is a follow-up to the Climate Investment Opportunities report issued by IFC last year, which found that the Paris Agreement could create $23 trillion in investment opportunities for 21 emerging-market countries.

Source: energyforecastonline

Why the Clean Power Plan is good for business

Big problems require smart solutions. The Clean Power Plan, America’s first and only set of nationwide rules to reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s existing electric power system, is a smart, well-designed policy solution to one of the great market failure of our time.

However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun the long and complicated process of repealing it. Late last month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was in West Virginia to hold a public hearing and gather input on the proposed repeal.

VF Corporation, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, with about 65,000 employees worldwide, is one of the largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies in the world. Along with our portfolio of brands, including Timberland, The North Face and Vans, we support maintaining the Clean Power Plan. We do so along with more than 365 other businesses and investors that urged the EPA to develop the Clean Power Plan, applauded it when it was finalized in 2015 and even supported litigation defending it from attacks.

“Not only do these solutions give us a competitive advantage, they help us meet growing demand among both our investors and consumers for products with smaller carbon footprints.”

Our support for the Clean Power Plan derives from our recognition of the risks of climate change to our business; our commitment to do right by our employees and our consumers; a broad consensus that the Clean Power Plan is a well-designed, efficient and effective policy; and our confidence that, working together, we can solve climate change.Addressing climate change is good for business. At VF, we source almost 1 percent of the world’s cotton for our products. A changing climate can affect cotton prices and availability, shorten winters (and ski seasons) and create a greater likelihood of extreme weather that can disrupt global supply chains.

A 2016 study from the New York University Law School’s Institute for Policy Integrity surveyed over 350 economists on future impacts of climate change. Overall, the economists surveyed believe that climate change will begin to have a net negative effect on the global economy by 2025. Further, this study found, among economists surveyed, that agriculture and the outdoor/tourism industries would be some of the most affected sectors.

The Clean Power Plan will help to reinforce current trends in falling costs for clean energy, creating add-on benefits that ripple beyond its intended scope. Affordable clean energy helps us to reduce and manage risk, cut energy costs, catalyze innovation and optimize our operations.

In 2015, VF joined (along with more than 100 other companies) the RE100 campaign, with a goal to power all our owned and operated facilities with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Our Timberland brand also has set ambitious goals: it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from a 2006 baseline and has plans to reduce total energy use by 10 percent while increasing its renewable energy to 50 percent by 2020. VF’s headquarters for our Outdoor brands in Alameda, California, is powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. And our Vans brand’s new headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, features a 1 MW solar array system that generates roughly 50 percent of its energy needs and is expected to save millions of dollars over its 20-plus-year lifespan.

Like any business, we work hard to minimize costs, which is one reason why the Clean Power Plan makes so much sense to us. It aims to cut carbon pollution from the electric power sector 32 percent by 2030 from a 2005 baseline, and does so while creating net benefits to the U.S. economy.

“Like any business, we work hard to minimize costs, which is one reason why the Clean Power Plan makes so much sense to us.”

EPA estimates from 2015 found that the annual economic benefits ($32 billion-$93 billion) of the Clean Power Plan far exceed its costs ($5.5 billion-$8.8 billion). More specifically, they found that in many parts of the country, electricity rates actually would decline by 2030 relative to a world without the Clean Power Plan, with the potential to save consumers (PDF) up to $40 billion in electricity costs over 15 years.

We are all in this together. While climate change sometimes may feel like an insurmountable problem, the truth is that we know how to solve it, and we have the tools to do so. Acting alone is important, but it is not enough. We need policy and we need partners. That’s why we are vocal members of the Ceres BICEP Network, advocating for stronger climate and clean energy policies, and when the United States announced its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this year, we joined more than 2,500 other businesses, investors, states, cities, universities, tribes and faith-based institutions to say “We Are Still In.”

Being “In” means that not only will we continue to meet and exceed our own corporate climate goals, but that we also will continue to push for smart policy solutions such as the Clean Power Plan.

Source: greenbiz

Environment officials talk sustainable tourism in Samoa

Environment officials are in Apia to begin talks starting with a focus on sustainable eco tourism.

The 28th SPREP meeting got underway this morning with the incoming chair, Umiich Sengebau who is the Minister for the Environment in Palau, saying he wanted other members to take a leaf out of his country’s success story to move forward in this area.

He spoke of introducing and endorsing the user pays system that had been so successful in his country.

“Palau has always been known as a diving mecca,” Mr Sengebau said.

“We knew this is where Palau is gonna go and it was important that we also protect the very resources that the tourists come for.

“And of course our president has always been fond of saying that our environment is our economy and our economy is our environment.”

Mr Sengebau encouraged members to take care of their eco systems to ensure sustainability.

SPREP Director-General Kosi Latu said the SPREP meeting would echo many of the issues talked about during the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting.

“Our strategy plan recognises the challenges as articulated on the global and regional stage by our Pacific leaders who met here about two weeks ago in Apia,” Mr Latu said.

“Where climate change, again our principle concern and oceans as our key cross-cutting theme, was highlighted by our leaders when they met here in Samoa”

Concern over ocean pollution is likely to dominate the meeting, with Mr Latu saying the Pacific region is 98 percent ocean and 2 percent land.

He said a long-standing worry about the transportation of nuclear waste through the Pacific would also be on the agenda.

“We don’t know when these shipments happen and often we require prior notification, so we are aware of where these shipments are going and where they are coming from,” Mr Latu said.

” And it can get very political. But that has been a concern for a very, very long time.”

Mr Latu said SPREP also had a role in assisting member countries to access climate change finance.

“To achieve this we must focus our efforts in strengthening the work that we do to ensure that SPREP is able to mobilise, allocate and direct technical and financial resources to make a difference where it is relevant and has the greatest impact for our communities.”

The meeting is scheduled for the next three days.

Source: radionz.

Get ready for climate impacts beyond your imagination

It’s time to start imagining the worst weather scenarios possible, if we are to be prepared for more severe natural disasters in this era of climate change, writes ADB’s Renard Teipelke.

Regular patterns seem to define most people’s lives. We usually prepare for the future based on what we experienced in the past. But this approach does not work when dealing with the impact of extreme weather events – which are increasingly less predictable and more severe due to climate change.

I would like to share with you the story of recent disasters in two places that at first sight could not be more different, but which share an interesting lesson for making cities more resilient against climate change.

Let me first take you to my uncle’s hometown of Braunsbach, a small town of 2,500 people in the province of Schwäbisch-Hall in southwest Germany. Most people only know this place because of the nearby Kochertalbrücke, one of the world’s tallest viaduct bridges.

Fitting the bucolic image of a stereotypical German small town, Braunsbach is indeed a peaceful, quiet place with a nice town center in the valley, surrounded by houses and green fields on the hillside. One main creek and two smaller creeks run through the town and add to the picture-perfect scenery.

On 29 May 2016, a locally concentrated rain shower hit Braunsbach. In contrast to usual storms, the clouds did not move away but rather remained hanging over a small area near the hills. The downpour released in a single day as much rain as the area usually receives over several months. The tiny creeks swelled into torrents of water, and as the floods came down from the hills they created mudslides and on their way to the valley swept away even seemingly stable structures.

Braunsbach was left an inferno of mud and destruction, and the damage bill amounted to more than $122 million, a big amount for such a small town.

The distortions caused by climate impacts will result in volatility that we are currently not ready for, because most people struggle to imagine crises beyond the scope of those they have experienced in the past.

Extreme weather shocks citizens

After I have visited post-disaster Braunsbach earlier this year, my work brought me nearly 7,000 km south to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. If you leave the main B2 road and take a few connector and slip roads that are not on the map, you reach Chamazi Ward in Temeke District, one of the city’s many unplanned settlements.

Chamazi, however, is not the typical dire slum neighborhood in East Africa. I found a community of loosely assembled houses that lack many basic services, but are built with lasting materials as future investments by hopeful residents.

People extracted sand from a low-lying area behind the neighborhood with unintended and rather unfortunate consequences for the residents. The rainy season turned the area into a small pond, where both sand extraction and fishing continued. This newly-formed swamp received storm water from elevated parts of the neighborhood, but did not have a clear direct outflow to the nearby river.

The rainy season earlier this year made the swamp swell up again. One night, a resident came home late from work and saw the water seeping through the area between the pond and the river. He and his neighbors were barely able to escape before over 20 houses and an entire 4,000 m2 area were flushed away.

In both Braunsbach and Chamazi, extreme weather events left people in horror about nature’s disregard for the built environment. No one died, but citizens lost their properties, and their livelihoods were put at risk.

Reconstruction efforts and flood resilience planning have started in Braunsbach. But people in Chamazi now live with a big crater cutting their neighborhood in half. Unless adequate drainage infrastructure is built, the next rainy season will again bring stormwater running through the earth tracks of the neighborhood, flooding houses on the way to the river.

Asia is extremely vulnerable

My point, however, is not about the differing reactions to climate-related disasters in an advanced country and a developing one. Instead, both cases are quite emblematic of the kind of climate challenges that many parts of the world face today.

Nevertheless, what happened in Germany and Tanzania is not the “typical” flooding that people envision when imaging future extreme climate events around the world, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.

Asia is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A recent ADB report warns that even if climate change mitigation actions are effectively implemented, some subregions, ecosystems, sectors, and livelihoods will still be at risk.

Predicting far in advance extreme climate events will be as difficult as to manage. The distortions caused by climate impacts will result in volatility that we are currently not ready for, because most people struggle to imagine crises beyond the scope of those they have experienced in the past.

The thought of heavy rain causing such devastation in Braunsbach and Chamazi never crossed the mind of residents. But since these incidents will continue to occur and likely become more extreme, we must be fully aware so we can prepare for disasters on a large scale.

Only by paying close attention to even the most extreme impacts will communities be able to effectively implement measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in Asia and beyond. We must imagine disasters we’ve never seen before to be ready when they strike.

Renard Teipelke is Consultant, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department at the Asian Development Bank. This post is republished from the ADB blog.

Source: eco-business

Why companies get their carbon footprints wrong

Corporate carbon accounts could be delivering inaccurate results that undermine efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

That is the stark warning contained in a new report (PDF) from consultancy WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, which argues many businesses are failing to adequately account for the significant daily and seasonal fluctuations in energy-related carbon emissions.

The report argues using averages to calculate the carbon footprint of a business or building could result in a distorted picture for corporate and policy decision-makers, especially as smart grid technologies promise to make it easier for organizations take advantage of the periods when energy is at its cleanest.

The study details how the carbon intensity of grid power varies significantly on both a month-by-month basis and throughout the day.

According to the report, carbon intensity peaks at 400gCO2/Kwh for a few hours a day in January and can fall as low as 200gCO2/kWh in August. These fluctuations could become even more pronounced as more intermittent renewable energy comes on to the grid.

carbon

“In winter evenings, carbon-intensive energy (such as coal) is required to meet the demand for electricity in homes, which isn’t as high in summer afternoons, when cleaner energy such as solar is more common,” the report states. “Therefore turning on the television in the middle of the day in summer will have far lower carbon emissions than during the evening in winter.”

The report also warns that the widespread use of daily and annual averages to calculate carbon emissions could result in policies that inadvertently undermine the roll out of energy storage and demand response technologies that are designed to better match supply and demand and make it easier for consumers to use the power generated by renewables.

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff cites the example of the Climate Change Levy, which charged per kWh amount of electricity or gas we use, regardless of when the energy is used.

“The environmental implication is that two buildings or businesses using the same amount of energy could be unknowingly producing very different levels of carbon emissions whilst being charged the same amount through the climate change levy,” the report explained.

“Further, companies that are trying to reduce CO2 emissions by using energy storage measures will be paying more in Climate Change Levy and reporting higher CO2 emissions than those that aren’t, as calculations are based on how much energy is used, not when it is used.”

Barny Evans, sustainability and energy expert at WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, said businesses needed to be aware of how their carbon footprint could vary based on the time at which they consume power.

“Buildings and businesses are under increasing pressure to meet legal requirements to reduce emissions, but it’s not as simple as counting a single number,” he warned. “Organizations with specific goals such as carbon neutrality will find their current accounting is unknowingly leading them to take policies and actions that result in higher or lower carbon emissions than they realize.”

He argued plans to deliver smarter energy grids would benefit from a better understanding of when energy has the highest levels of carbon intensity.

“As technology advances and the grid decarbonizes we need to move to a system that better recognizes the benefit of carbon reducing measures including energy storage and demand reduction,” he said. “By taking into account when energy is being used we will have the opportunity to not only work out how to reduce carbon emissions but also our bills.”

Source: greenbiz

Days of Coal Mines Are Numbered as Eskom Shifts Focus

It has been more than a decade since the accident, but Vincent Mashinini can’t forget the moment his underground world collapsed.

His right leg still bears the scars from the rocks that fell and temporarily pinned him underground, his livelihood nearly becoming a death trap.

Mashinini spent 15 years as a small-scale illegal miner, toiling in the abandoned coal mines that pockmark Ermelo and the surrounding Mpumalanga countryside. Along with agriculture and tourism, coal mining sustains the town’s economy as it feeds the nearby power stations generating some of the country’s electricity.

“We’ve lost brothers and sisters and mothers,” Mashinini said. “But there is no employment. If you want to put food on the table, you must come here.”

The traditional coal majors that have dominated the sector for decades are looking to leave South Africa as uncertainty surrounds Eskom contracts and the world slowly moves away from fossil fuels. As a result, the country’s coal industry is welcoming more and more junior miners who rarely complete environmental or social rehabilitation, causing a proliferation of abandoned mines around towns such as Ermelo.

Xavier Prevost, a senior coal analyst with the mining consulting company XMP Consulting, said Eskom’s policies of signing long-term contracts and buying only from 51 percent black-owned companies were pushing large mining houses away.

“Most of the majors are not investing in coal due to the current government politics. Another reason for their retreat is their inability to negotiate new agreements with Eskom,” Prevost said, adding that many of Eskom’s contracts with large miners would expire by 2020.

BHP Billiton spun off its South African coal and other lower-value assets to South32 in 2015. Anglo American is also in the process of disposing of “lower-margin, shorter-life assets”, including some South African coal, the company’s media team said in a statement sent to The Star.

“In terms of Anglo American’s Eskom-tied mines, the company has initiated a process to exit its Eskom-tied mines (Kriel, New Denmark and New Vaal). We believe these assets would be better served under new ownership that can provide more focused capital and management to continue to create value,” the statement said.

The growth of alternative energy sources has also affected South African coal by shrinking certain export markets.

The US’s Energy Information Administration predicts renewable energy production will increase worldwide from 22 to 29% between 2012 and 2040. The predictions see coal concurrently falling from 40 to 29%.

In many cases, new solar and wind projects are cheaper than coal. South Africa, the world’s sixth largest coal exporter, was beginning to feel the impact of this trend, Prevost said.

“Environmentalists have affected coal heavily. The biggest example is China. The change in policy in China has caused havoc in coal. China, the largest importer of coal in the world, suddenly changed its policies and is stopping importing,” Prevost said.

The price of coal rose from less than R300 per ton in 2000 to more than R2000 a ton in 2008, which in part caused a surge in applications for mining and prospecting rights. The coal price is now down at least 40% from its peak, and smaller miners who entered the industry looking for a quick profit have in some cases abandoned their operations.

Several Ermelo coal operations where Mashinini once laboured were abandoned during this period. Owned by Golfview Mining, a subsidiary of the Anker group based in the Netherlands, the sites are worked by small-scale miners, while unrehabilitated waste dumps and remnants of mining infrastructure sit derelict.

One partially rehabilitated portion lies in the centre of Johan Vos’s farm. “They’re getting away with murder,” Vos said of Golfview, which rented his land and guaranteed rehabilitation.

“I didn’t sell the land to them because they were just going to mine that one piece. They mine the piece, they rehabilitate and then I can go on. That was the whole idea. It didn’t happen,” Vos said.

Several years after taking a plea agreement and fine for its environmental practices, Golfview submitted a business rescue plan in 2015.

The company’s plan estimates the cost of rehabilitation at R29 million but reveals that only R5m is held in trust funds specifically for that purpose. Additionally, at the time the plan was submitted, the company owned more than R622m in liabilities, meaning additional funds for rehabilitation would be extraordinarily difficult to procure.

With no legal power to deny mining on his property, Vos has a second coal mine on his farm that feeds the nearby Camden power station.

He has not seen any rehabilitation at a third mine since operations abruptly halted six months ago, while a fourth mine is set to begin operations on his property, as contract details are being finalised.

Only 10 years ago, six companies accounted for 90% of South Africa’s production and eight collieries mined more than 60% of the country’s coal. While 93 coal mines produced all of South Africa’s coal in 2016, that number increased 59%, to 148 mines, by 2016. Production, however, increased by only about 10%, indicative of a trend towards smaller mines.

But with smaller mines and shorter lifespans, mining companies are targeting new areas for coal mining.

Although some grasslands and wetlands in the Mpumalanga Highveld have gained legal protection in recent years, companies continue to lodge mining applications. More than 60% of Mpumalanga falls under applications for rights to either mine or prospect.

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, by the end of 2013, prospecting rights already covered 25.4% of Mpumalanga’s wetlands, 32.2% of its freshwater ecosystem priority areas and 41.8% of its grasslands.

Documents emerged last month showing that the ministers of environmental affairs and of minerals and energy had signed off on a coal mine within the Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom, part of a strategic water source area in Mpumalanga.

Koos Pretorius, director of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, said high-potential agricultural land often coincided with coal deposits, and the mining industry encroaching on these lands was creating concerns for food security.

“The soil gets destroyed from the opencast mining, and much of it is opencast. The reason for that is simple. If you do an underground mine you leave roughly 35 to 40% of the mine, so they tend to do as much opencast as possible,” Pretorius said.

Recent periods of drought and sporadic weather patterns, likely attributable to climate change, have also had an impact on agriculture.

It is estimated that South Africa’s operational and abandoned coal mines together can release greenhouse gases equalling the warming effect of more than 4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, roughly the same as consuming 1.8 billion litres of petrol.

Proper rehabilitation could minimise the release of these gases.

The Star recently obtained documents from the Department of Mineral Resources that shed light on the money held in financial provisions for rehabilitation. As of 2015, R45bn was held around the country in these funds.

While Mpumalanga and Limpopo – the country’s two most important coal mining provinces – refused to hand over their data, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State – two other provinces with coal mines – did release theirs.

Free State holds more than R5bn in financial provisions for rehabilitation, but the largest 5% of funds accounts for 99% of the money.

This means smaller operations, which are more likely to close or be abandoned than large sites, have an average of less than R60 000 in their funds.

KwaZulu-Natal is a similar story, with the largest 5% of funds holding 80% of the money.

Thulani Mnisi is a ward councillor in the Wesselton township in Ermelo. With so many residents living in poverty in the township and surrounding informal settlements, he said, mining could be tolerated if it brought jobs and some semblance of environmental responsibility.

Instead, the Imbabala Coal Mine sits abandoned and adjacent to the township.

Mine tunnels extend under the community, and illegal miners chip away at the underground pillars supporting the mine. Numerous people have died during cave-ins. “Those miners, after they mined, they just left the place like that,” Mnisi said.

Source: pulitzercenter

Addressing climate change through mitigation, adaptation activities in Namibia

By Dr Moses Amweelo

According to Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) 2001, mitigation refers to an anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.

These include the use of renewable energy sources and efficient technology among many other actions.

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Namibia developed a national climate change strategic and action plan 2013-2020 and two themes under mitigation namely: sustainable energy and prioritised low carbon development and transport.

Under these themes, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed a programme called Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) and it refers to any action that reduces emissions in developing countries and is prepared under the umbrella of national governmental initiatives.

They can be policies directed at transformational change within an economic sector, or actions across sectors for a broader national focus.

National appropriate mitigation actions are supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity building and are aimed at achieving a reduction in emissions relative to business as usual emissions in 2020.

Namibia’s NAMA is focused on rural development in Namibia through electrification with renewable energy.

The NAMA programme presents an opportunity for sustainable development for Namibia, and, at the same time, an opportunity for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposed programme was designed to support Namibia in achieving its strategies for rural electrification and to complement on-going activities in this field.

The programme’s overall target is to support Namibia in achieving the goal defined in the off-grid energisation master plan namely, to provide access to appropriate energy technologies to everyone living or working in off-grid areas.

In respect of transport, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with the City of Windhoek has developed a project proposal on low carbon transport in Windhoek.

The project aims at providing the necessary means for the development of a low-carbon city (that can be replicated to other towns in the country).

Windhoek is rapidly developing and so this project will set Windhoek city as a role model for sustainable transport in southern Africa.

The project would contribute to climate change mitigation through increased access to public and non-motorised transport and avoid increasing congestion and thus reduce Namibia’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Target actions would include construction of public transport, walking and cycling facilities, raising awareness of low-carbon transport options and vehicle fuel efficiency, strengthened institutional and regulatory systems for climate responsive planning, integration of climate change into land-use plans and renewal of the existing public vehicle fleet.

The project will be submitted to the Green Climate Fund, an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was adopted by 195 Parties at the end of 2011.

Its primary purpose is to promote a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries that are vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

The fund is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise climate finance of US$100 billion per year by 2020.

Regarding adaptation activities in Namibia, climate change will affect everyone, all sectors and at many levels and it will have a profound impact on the entire chain of livelihood, economic growth and ecosystem.

This is proven by scientific modelling and prediction for the factor that the country is characteristic with most arid climate in southern Africa; hence our economy is already exposed to difficult and harsh conditions with water accessibility a serious threat.

Prolonged drought, although considered normal to some extent, has devastating impacts on livelihood, food availability, health and wellbeing in many of our rural communities.

Namibia has placed more focus on adaptation that is currently implemented under four key critical themes, that is, food security and sustainable biological resources; sustainable water resources base; human health and wellbeing; and infrastructure development.

To date, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism – which is responsible for planning, formulating and coordinating all climate change-related initiatives – has initiated notable interventions that aim to embrace national government/development plans towards a resilient nation.

The following programmes were initiated to address climate change adaptation namely: scaling up community resilience to climate variability and climate change in northern Namibia, with a special focus on women and children.

This project aims to strengthen the adaptive capacity to climate change and reduce the vulnerability of 4,000 households (80 percent of which are female headed) and children in 75 schools, to drought and floods in northern Namibia by scaling up the most promising adaptation pilots from Namibia’s community-based adaptation (CBA) programme and a Green Climate Fund project previously implemented as well as developing a response plan for the identification and prioritisation of technologies to address water scarcity in Namibia.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed a response plan for climate change adaptation technology that allows the country transition to sustainable water security.

The response plan was submitted to the Climate Technology Centre and Network, which is one of the arms of the UNFCCC responsible for facilitating and assisting the non-annex countries such as Namibia with relevant technologies to address impacts of climate change and advocacy on climate change awareness campaign.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation and Desert Research Foundation of Namibia are conducting the public awareness workshops on climate change issues, to ensure that the information is disseminated to all interested and affected parties’ country wide.

Awareness raising efforts are a key feature of attaining the goals of our national climate change policy.

As such, cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as this collaboration, are of great importance to support education and public awareness for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change and continuing to oversee the implementation of these activities in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

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Source: southernafrican


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Africa’s Great Green Wall is Building Hope For the Hungry, Uniting People Across Borders

Rio de Janeiro: Beneath the glitz and glamour, the Samba and Rio’s carnival-like atmosphere, this year’s Olympic Games opening ceremony showcased the most impossible sounding dream of all – Africa’s Great Green Wall.

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The initiative started a decade ago. Once completed it will be the largest man-made structure on Earth and a new wonder of the world.

The progress made shows that land restoration efforts on a mass scale are both possible and offer hope. Senegal has already planted 12 million trees, Ethiopia has restored 15 million hectares of degraded land and Nigeria has created 20,000 jobs in rural areas.

Featured in the Rio Olympics creative director Fernando Meirelles’ film on global reforestation efforts, the Great Green Wall struck a chord as a generation-defining initiative aiming to grow an 8000 km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa, against all odds.

The aim: to restore vast swathes of degraded land in a region called the Sahel and in the process provide food, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions of people living on the frontline of climate change that may be forced to migrate.

The Sahel region of Africa is one of the world’s most impoverished – a key reason being the degradation of enormous tracts of fertile land, which form the basis of people’s livelihoods here.

More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over fewer natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are some of the many consequences.

Yet, local people from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East are fighting back. Since the birth of the initiative in 2008, life has started coming back to the land, bringing greater food security, jobs and stability to people’s lives.

Persistent drought, food insecurity, and conflicts over dwindling natural resources are some of the many consequences. Continued inaction means an estimated 60 million people could migrate to Europe from Africa’s degraded areas by 2030.

Meirelles’ film, which features footage from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) virtual reality experience unveiled at December 2015 Paris Climate Summit, provides a stark warning of the need to restore natural resources, like land.

“The Great Green Wall is about far more than just growing trees. It is a mosaic of interventions weaving across the Sahel region that is helping to build community resilience and provide economic opportunity,” said Monique Barbut, head of the UNCCD.

“Already, it is feeding hungry families and malnourished children, putting people back to work and growing peace and security to help communities thrive once more. Most crucially, it provides young people with a genuine alternative to migrating from their communities,” she added.

During the Paris Climate Change Conference, world leaders pledged a further $ 4 billion to the initiative over the next five years. For a poor region with hardly any resources to spare, this raises hopes of moving the initiative closer to its ambition of restoring 50 million hectares of currently degraded land, and sequestering 250 million tonnes of carbon by 2030.

The Great Green Wall is an extraordinary collaborative effort that transcends geographical, political and cultural divides and is uniting people across borders on an unprecedented scale.

“This is a bold ambition that chimes with the spirit of solidarity enshrined in the Olympic dream. It is a global symbol to celebrate our common humanity in divisive and troubling times,” Barbut said.

The Great Green Wall is an African-led project with an epic ambition: to grow an 8000 km line of plants and trees across the entire African continent. Its goal is to provide food, jobs and a future for the millions of people who live in a region on the frontline of climate change.

Under the leadership of the African Union Commission, it brings together African countries and international partners that include the EU, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, the Global Environment Facility, UNCCD andWorld Bank Group.
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Source: thewire


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Coke, Pepsi Forge Partnerships to Deliver Water Access in Rural Africa, Latin America

Currently, 663 million people lack access to safe drinking water, and by 2025, half the world’s population could be living in water-stressed areas. For their part, The Coca-Cola Company is partnering with Subway and World Vision to deliver sustainable access to clean drinking water in Kenya, and PepsiCo has renewed its partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, which will include collaboration on delivering equitable access to safe, affordable water in rural communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Coca-Cola’s EKOCENTER has joined forces with Subway and World Vision to create the “Fresh Water 4 All” donation program. Subway will donate 30 cents from every bottle of Dasani (still or sparkling) sold at 2,500 select U.S. stores in July and August, up to a maximum donation of $125,000. The proceeds will be used by World Vision for a “sustainable, community-owned water system” in Kenya, where EKOCENTER is currently active with its kiosks that act as a cross between a community center and general store.

“As a result of our partnerships, we’re able to make clean drinking water available to more people around the world, while also creating value for our customer, Subway,” said Coca-Cola’s Carrie Roberts, a senior national sales executive on the Subway Global Account Team. “This program demonstrates our commitment to water stewardship as well as our commitment to aligning partners around a shared purpose.”

Coca-Cola’s press release said that in addition to creating shared value for all project stakeholders, the initiative allows customers to positively impact society simply through buying a bottle of Dasani. The company stated that World Vision is the “perfect partner” to deliver water solutions that offer community ownership and a high degree of customization to local needs, aspects of sustainable development that Coca-Cola has learned about through EKOCENTER and other initiatives. The safe water system World Vision will install is designed to continue to benefit the community in the long-term.

“World Vision understands that poverty is complex, and addressing overwhelming needs such as a global water crisis must be done in partnership,” said Karen Sendelback, the senior director of partner engagement at World Vision. “We are grateful for our partnership with EKOCENTER and Subway, where we can leverage each of our respective strengths to improve the lives some of the world’s most vulnerable people – those without access to clean water.”

Meanwhile, PepsiCo announced that along with the PepsiCo Foundation, it is renewing its private-public partnership (PPP) with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for another five years. The previous five-year partnership agreement benefited more than one million people in 12 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), with the aim of spurring social and economic growth through projects related to recycling, water and sanitation, youth development, sustainable agriculture, disaster relief and recovery, and nutrition.

The expanded partnership seeks to develop activities in the areas of access to water and nourishing solutions, efficiency in agriculture, and social innovation. It will start off with “From Source to Home,” a program focused on water and sanitation, where a $5 million grant from the PepsiCo Foundation will work to improve the lives of approximately 850,000 people by 2025. To do so, the partners will collaborate on two main objectives:

  1. Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable water to people living in rural and disperse communities, focusing on benefitting women and girls; and
  2. Launch a regional center for applied water resources management through the Hydro-BID program, to reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity and advance climate change adaptation efforts.

“We’re proud of the long and amazing legacy of our business across 54 Latin American markets. We remain focused on this strategic sector and to the strong partnerships we currently have and continue to build. We believe the renewal of our PPP with the IDB will help us provide a long-term and positive imprint on society and the environment in the sector,” Laxman Narasimhan, the CEO of PepsiCo Latin America, said at the public launch of the program.

The President of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno, added, “Through these collaborations, we are pioneering new approaches to generate impact in a region whose future looks brighter every day.”
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Source: sustainablebrands


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Precision farming – the way to go for Africa

By Magreth Nunuhe

Windhoek – It is not wise and sustainable to continue practising conventional agricultural methods, such as ploughing and loosening the soil before planting as it puts stress on land resources and is worsened by effects of climate change, says global agricultural experts who convened in Brussels, Belgium, last week.

The meeting brought together participants from the ACP-EU (Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union) technical centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the European Commission, the EU Presidency, the ACP Group, Concord, and other partners on key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of EU-ACP cooperation.

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The participants, who attended the meeting titled “Affordable smart farming solutions for Africa: the next driver for African agriculture” on 13 July 2016, recommended farmers to use soil management techniques such as conservation agriculture to increase productivity as that reduces soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotation.

One of the critical aspects of precision farming is to make technology available to small-scale producers and help them to manage their farms more efficiently.

Precision agriculture (PA) or satellite farming or site specific crop management (SSCM) is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter- and intra-field variability in crops.

African farmers, machinery company representatives with field experience as well as experts from international institutions committed in enhancing sustainable farming systems in Africa also attended the meeting, which focussed on how affordable and smart technology solutions are gaining ground among African growers; what changes and benefits IT tools can bring to farming communities in Africa and successful public-private partnerships that are helping in advancing agricultural strategies in the ACP countries.

For more than 10 000 years, farmers have cultivated crops using trial and error, received wisdom and how the soil feels when they rub it between their fingers and it is only until recently that mechanisation revolutionised the countryside with machinery and replaced horses with tractors.

A new farming revolution triggered by the adoption of staggering new technologies, such as satellites, high- precision positioning systems, smart sensors and a range of IT applications combined with high-tech engineering have emerged.

Furthermore, the participants also discussed issues on smart-farming, such as trends and new opportunities benefiting small-holders, the future of precision farming for farmers in Africa, financing African agriculture and agribusiness development and upscaling agribusiness successes in Africa.

There is a growing number of challenges, which have impacted on the agricultural and rural sector of the ACP countries, including climate change, migration, low interest and funding of the agriculture sector and low priority to rural development, impact of globalisation on small-scale producers, opportunities and challenges posed by biofuels.

But technological developments have transformed the agricultural landscape in Africa with smart farming tools, which have increased the quality and quantity of agricultural production and made farms more “intelligent”.

Speaking at the event, Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food & Nutrition Security, Europeaid and the European Commission, said that the session was important because rural development is important in the European Union development policy.

He added that food security was also an important factor on the EU development agenda, which is why they have decided to have cooperation with emerging economies and offer assistance to Africa.

“Farmers need to have access to new technology and to innovative approaches,” he emphasised, saying that one of the EU’s objectives is sustainable agriculture as it provides long-term solutions.

According to Halkin, more than 70 percent of jobs in Africa are in agriculture and it is therefore important to use that potential to generate jobs “so that the children of today’s farmers have an opportunity for a brighter future”.

He stressed the importance of the EU to assist farmers’ organisations in Africa so that they can enhance policy dialogue with their governments and the private sector.

Josef Kienzle, Agricultural Engineer Plant Production and Protection Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said that there were mechanisation myths about conservation agriculture, in that it creates rural unemployment; leads to monoculture and industrial farming; it is only for large-scale farmers; it does not conserve natural resources and is not climate-smart.

In contrast, Kienzle said that conservation agriculture increases productivity, timeliness and incomes; reduces drudgery; enables improved resource use efficiency; provides employment opportunities and new skills development and has the potential to reverse migration; and provides opportunities for rural entrepreneurial activities and business models, among others.

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Source: southernafrican


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