PUBLICATION STORE SUBSCRIBE

Public-Private Sector Ventures Key to Devt of Africa’s Mining Sector, Says AU Expert

The global mining industry is struggling right now amid drop in global metal prices. What is the commission doing to support sector players on the continent?

Find sales opportunities in your market

African Union has designed a new strategy that is expected to bolster the mining sector. The Africa Mining Vision and other initiatives are currently being domesticated by member states because they realise that supportive legal regimes, regulatory frameworks and policies are essential to build strong private sector and ensure growth across sectors, including the mining industry. Besides, public-private partnerships are some of the strategies that will help drive socio-economic transformation on the continent.

As Africa enters a new paradigm in her development, with industrialisation and structural transformation at the centre, public-private sector partnerships will play a critical role to create more jobs for the growing population and spur growth.

With the public and private sectors working together, everyone is a winner. So, the AU promotes such initiatives in the mining sector, too, to ensure it is not hard-hit by the turmoil in the global arena.

Besides, the Africa Mining Vision seeks to strengthen the licensing regime to ensure investors operate in a friendly environment.

The pact is primarily targeting mining, and oil and gas companies, as well as chambers of mines and mining associations.

The treaty comes at a time when the extractive industry is under extreme pressure from depressed commodity prices because of the continuing slowdown in the world economy, and especially in China, a key metal buyer.

The new strategy will, therefore, provide a platform of cooperation where by private sector leaders, chambers of mines, and regional mining associations can benefit from multi-stakeholder engagements in domesticating the Africa mining vision to regional and national mining visions to drive the sector’s development.

Can you specify how this strategy will benefit the mining industry?

The private sector stands to gain from reduced operational costs, and interventions that will boost productivity. For example, the mining vision seeks to build a skilled and motivated workforce which is instrumental in enhancing the sector’s productivity, competitiveness and sustainability, challenging market conditions notwithstanding.

Expenses associated with delays that result from community relations or labour issues, as well as timely and cost-effective provision of goods and services, can be realised through the vision’s compliant mineral policy and regulatory frameworks at country level.

What are some of the highlights of the pact?What should Africa do to ensure sustainable utilisation of its natural resources, such as minerals?

Under the treaty, companies commit to pay all mineral rents and royalties, and make their payments public to promote accountability. Governments are also expected to publish all legal agreements with companies and actively ensure that all commitments from government agencies, including tax refunds and granting of permits, are honoured in a timely and transparent manner. Companies subscribe to the principles of national, regional and international resource monitoring and oversight bodies and commit to fight corruption and transfer pricing.

States should adopt zero tolerance to bribery and corruption and prosecute those that promote such practices in the sector.

Sector players are also pledging to support national geological surveys with geological data, while states commit to funding of the geological surveys and relevant ministries to avail knowledge infrastructure incorporating this data to the public to allow firms make informed investment decisions.

Companies will also invest in human capacity development and support national and regional institutional capacities beyond payment of mineral taxes and royalties. Countries should support science, technology, and engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to world standards to meet the demands for trained staff within government bodies and the sector.

What should Africa do to ensure sustainable utilisation of its natural resources, such as minerals?

Africa cannot afford to get it wrong this time round, there is no room for error… she must have it right. This can only be achieved through broadening partnerships and bringing on board the private sector to participate in policy formulation and implementation.

Without proper engagement with the African private sector and all the stakeholders, a vacuum can be creates, resulting in making of wrong choices. The scars inflicted by some of the extreme policies, such as post-colonial government protectionist import substitution industrialisation and market driven liberalisation structural adjustment policies have had lasting negative impact in many areas of the economy of the continent. so, Africa cannot afford to make more mistakes. It is important that these policies are drafted by Africans to ensure ownership and successful implementation .

So we need to learn from our past failures, and develop, and apply our own researched and tested prescriptions.

That’s why in the African Union Commission’s “call to action” Agenda 2963, the role of the private sector is paramount because it is the engine of growth.

Traditionally, partnership building has been skewed towards development partners because they fund our national budgets. However, Africa has been losing over $50 billion a year, more than official development aid flows to Africa, through illicit financial flows.

To end this resource hemorrhage, Africa requires high level private sector engagement and commitment because both governments and the private sector work for the common good.

The mining sector is not playing its transformative role yet and the “mineral curse” paradox still haunts the continent.

Besides, there are issues of transparency and accountability on the continent which affects the sector.

Earn valuable CPD credits

Redeem your 50% discount

How to use product life cycle analysis to your advantage. (David Baggs)

Source: allafrica


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

AFRICITIES: Local governments in Africa going green, and putting their money where their mouths are

AFRICAN cities have begun taking the lead with investments in and the implementation of interventions that are designed to conserve natural resources and energy for generations to come.

This is as many countries around the world look to innovative ways to conserve and efficiently manage critical resources – particularly the supply of safe and clean water and energy.

Johannesburg in South Africa, for example, has set aside R234 million (approximately $20 million) from its operating budget to be spent on environment and infrastructure services during the current financial year.

Areas that the city is investing in include; biodiversity conservation, integrated waste management and ecological infrastructure. The rehabilitation of a mine dump, air quality improvement, as well as climate change and energy diversification, are just some of a number of green initiatives that the metropolitan is focused on.

Johannesburg executive mayor, Parks Tau, referred to these interventions as being “just a few that demonstrate how local governments need to be pioneers in this space in order to advance the development of the African continent”.

“The demand for efficient, reliable and affordable renewable and environmentally friendly energy is a basic need for all African households and industries. Local governments need to harness all available energy resources and come up with fresh approaches and initiatives to fund new projects, and encourage investments in this space through green incentives,” Tau said.

He further said: “Cities are the building blocks in optimising resources for the development of Africa in the lead up to 2063, and it is safe to say that African cities are awake to this reality. In-line with the vision of Agenda 2063, the continent needs to intensify its mobilisation of  resources to finance its development and environmental sustainability.”

Last year, the City of Johannesburg became the first municipality in South Africa to list a “Green Bond” at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). The money raised through the R1.46 billion bond, that will mature in 2024, is set to finance green initiatives such as the Bio Gas-Energy Project, and other initiatives aimed at reducing green-house gas emissions.

This innovative approach to mobilising funds for sustainable development projects will also ensure that essential environmental infrastructure and services are financed without a significant impact on the city’s purse.

Another African city which is implementing several sustainability focused projects and on the lead to promote efficient community-based waste management is Lagos in Nigeria.

The capital city’s rapid urbanisation and population growth has put a lot of pressure on its water, waste management and sanitation infrastructure. These have seen the birth of the Lagos State Water Supply Master Plan 2010 – 2020, which promotes, among others, access to potable water, reduction of waste and unaccounted water.

The plan is also designed to increase the amount of billed water, revenue collection efficiency and enhance reinvestment.

Lagos’ Sustainable Sewage and Sanitation Strategy furthermore includes the development of 10 new wastewater treatment plants. This is also as the city has a landfill gas project underway, which comprises a municipal solid waste composting facility earmarked to lead to a significant reduction of emissions.

Another African city with an exemplary environmental management, monitoring and participation strategy is Accra – the capital City of Ghana. According to the Siemens Green City Report, Accra is also strong in air quality and sanitation areas, and ranks above average for its high rate of renewable electricity and low electricity consumption.

The upcoming 7th Africities Summit, which is organised by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa, is expected to touch on efficient resource management and renewable energy initiatives across the continent. It will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 29 November to 3 December.

Source: mgafrica


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Five Priorities for Greener Travel Industry – Report

Progress in reducing carbon intensity in the travel and tourism industry can be attributed to several actions, according to a new report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

“Our report notes that the impacts of climate change are already beginning to be experienced with lower crop yields and more intense storms and heat waves.

The overall warming across the past three decades has been concentrated in oceans, leading to expansion that is eroding coastlines and increasing sea levels. It is also leading to acidification, which threatens marine life,” David Scowsill, president and CEO of the WTTC, told Fin24.

“The confluence of these factors may result in serious socio-economic ripple effects, which will bring challenges to food supply, health problems, displacement of people, increased poverty and geopolitical conflicts related to energy and natural resources.”

The latest report shows that many large role players in the industry have already improved their carbon efficiency by 20% in the last ten years and are on course to reach the target of a 25% reduction by 2020.

According to the report the global travel and tourism industry has made strong progress with accountability and responsibility, for instance, particularly in admitting to the challenge of tackling climate change and setting out plans to address and measure it.

WTTC members also demonstrated community engagement, charitable contributions, disaster relief or conservation efforts – deforestation in particular – while others focus on preserving coral reefs, hosting bee colonies on rooftops, managing waste, or ensuring sustainable sourcing.

The report, which comes in the run up to the COP21 climate change talks in Paris at the end of this year, also found that most travel and tourism companies now have branded sustainability programmes, often including customer engagement programmes. Most WTTC member companies have achieved green certification of some type.

Greening supply chains is another aspect WTTC members focus on, developing practical tools to help procurement from local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as part of this.

“While the sector has grown, added more jobs and contributed billions of dollars to economies all over the world, we have seen real commitment to sustainability from business as companies innovate and collaborate with others to reduce their overall impacts.”

In his view the next 20 years will be characterised by the industry fully integrating climate change and related issues into its business strategy, supporting the global transition to a low carbon economy, strengthening resilience at a local level against climate risks, promoting the value of responsible travel, and greening entire supply chains.

“To reach these long term goals, much still needs to be done across travel and tourism and other sectors, but we now have a common understanding and are ever-closer to agreement on the global actions necessary,” said Scowsill.

The WTTC report outlines five priority areas for the travel and tourism industry to support the overall target of halving emissions by 2035.

The first is to integrate climate change and related issues into business strategy. This can be done by disclosing climate change issues in mainstream financial reporting, utilising recognised frameworks and collaborating to harmonise the approach for disclosure within the industry.

Secondly, the leading practice of establishing an internal price of carbon, focusing on renewables for new investments, seeking low carbon financing mechanisms, contributing to local economies with carbon mitigation and catalysing the economies of scale to create a virtuous circle, must be followed.

The value that local natural and cultural heritage has for travel and tourism and forging partnerships to build resilience against climate risks, is the fourth priority area stipulated in the report.

Fourthly, travellers must be provided with the tools to be responsible travellers and be offered new experiences tied directly to low carbon solutions.

Last, there must be engagement across the value chain by focussing efforts on the biggest opportunities to reduce carbon emissions through mechanisms such as supplier screening and local procurement.

“Travel and tourism is in a unique position to build consumer awareness of the world’s key supply chain threats by engaging travellers to link the destinations they visit with the issues back home in their own purchasing decisions as consumers and professionals,” the report states.

Source: allafrica


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Water a finite resource, use it with care

CLEAN drinking water and clean air available for breathing are some of the most precious natural resources we take for granted.

If the observed behaviour of waste and neglect is anything to go by, it seems like it never occurs to some people that clean drinking water may only continue to be available for a limited time.

This is despite many calls for a change in behaviour and for peple to take an active part in protecting our country’s water resources.

The natural resources of our planet are under threat.

There have been warning signs for a number of years.

It is unfortunate that the continuous calls for the protection of water and other natural resources have not elicited a positive response to curb global warming, protecting the environment and protecting the finite resources of our planet.

To many people it seems like water will always be there, that the air we breathe will never run short; for many it is not a priority to modify their behaviour and not to harm the atmosphere.

We know that many poor people from different parts of the world have been alienated from their global human responsibility of protecting the environment, the planet and all natural resources of Mother Earth by the actions of a few rich people.

Many rich economies of today were the greatest polluters of the atmosphere during years of industrialisation.

They polluted the environment and forced many poor people to do things that were harmful to the environment, such as chopping down trees for fire and cooking, in order for them to survive.

Governments across the globe have not prioritised environmental education.

This has led to ignorance among many people of the world, rich and poor, about the need to protect and preserve the finite natural resources.

The harm that we have caused to the environment has led, among other things, to the melting of icebergs, which in turn has led to a rise in sea levels, excessive heat waves, heavy and disastrous rainfalls, unpredictable weather patterns and seasons that no longer conform to known patterns.

We have experienced overly long summers and winters with very little in between of spring and autumn. These are some of the negative effects of climate change that are affecting our lives.

We have been experiencing extremes in weather conditions, which have manifested in El Niño and and its flipside, La Niña.

These are the ugly facts that require urgent and drastic changes in our relationship with Mother Nature and the other inhabitants of our planet.

I am one of the marginal voices who have warned that the wars of the 21st century would be over water and other natural resources, if no drastic measure is taken to protect these and share them equally among the people and countries of the world.

The Free State Provincial Government has declared the province a drought disaster area through a proclamation by Premier Ace Magashule.

This comes after observations of unusual rainfall trends by scientists. The policy action of government has also been informed by recommendations from experts and think-tank panels who have evaluated the data collected by scientists.

We know that since 1994, the government of South Africa has been working hard to give the the people of our country access to decent potable water for household, agricultural and industrial use and for sanitation purposes.

We also know that providing this universal access has been very costly to the government, because more people than had been expected have been gaining access to this resource, both in the formal dwellings and in marginalised parts of our country, such as informal settlements.

In the Free State, we know that mountainous areas such as Qwaqwa, Makholokoeng and Diyatalawa have been hard to reach, as government has been installing pipelines that extract water from sources situated many kilometres away.

We know that Botshabelo, as one of the biggest townships in South Africa, has not had access to water sources and decent sanitation since the days of apartheid.

The principle of enabling universal access to decent water services and sanitation has placed a huge burden on the state to reach all people in all places at once.

As a result, we have experienced the non-waterborne sanitation methods that were implemented in places like Botshabelo, e.g. “the VIP” toilet.

Whilst the intentions of the state are to eventually provide waterborne sanitation to all people in the country, the challenge of global climate change has made it imperative to think differently about this scarce resource.

Water is scarce. Water is not available in the quantities that are able to meet all the human demands.

In other parts of the world, people have started to recycle water and they have restrictions regarding access and use of water.

We know that in ther countries people who waste water pay heavy penalties.

In our country, we know that the province of KwaZulu-Natal is already experiencing water scarcity and has been implementing water restrictions.

Our own Mangaung Metro has posters all over the City warning us about the need to use water sparingly and alerting us to the water restrictions.

We need to learn new ways of preser-ving water such as:

) Use a glass of water when brushing your teeth, rather than letting the tap run while you brush.

) Do not take your time in the shower. Smear soap all over your body and then open the shower only to rinse.

) Refrain from filling the bathtub to capacity every time you wash.

) Refrain from neglecting communal taps by letting them run unattended

) Report water leaks to the local municipality.

The Mangaung Metro has a dedicated hotline and the idea is to expand this into a provincial hotline.

) Refrain from recklessly using fresh water to wash cars, fill up swimming pools and irrigate gardens.

) Find alternative means of sanitation other than water for townships and suburbs.

Make every minute a water-saving minute.

Integrity is what you have when no one is watching you.

) Mvambi is the Free State Provincial government spokesperson

Source: news24


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Road infrastructure key to Africa’s development

Road infrastructure is a key pillar in unlocking Africa’s economic potential. It is a long-term investment that has a big socio-economic impact in the development matrix of any country.

“Importantly, road infrastructure sustains economic development not only in Zimbabwe but in Africa and the world over,” said Zimbabwe’s minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Obert Mpofu during the African Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) annual general meeting in Victoria Falls recently.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development’s Permanent Secretary, Munesu Munodawafa, added, “The provision of good and modern road infrastructure is a condition for economic growth and technological renewal.”

Sharing same views, Elly Twineyo, an economist and author of “Why Africa Fails” adds, “The continent of Africa fails because of poor road infrastructure. Once you have built road infrastructure, our traders, our business people and tourists can get better roads.”

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agrees that improving road systems in Africa will significantly boost the transportation of goods, facilitate transactions, boost tourism and positively impact ordinary lives in diverse ways such as ensuring that people get to the hospital quickly during emergencies.

Sadly, with vast natural resources in most, if not all, African countries, the continent is poor when it comes to road infrastructure. The African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chair, President Robert Mugabe always testifies that Africa is one of the richest continents in terms of natural resources, but is probably ranked as lowest when it comes to infrastructure development.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for instance, is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of natural resources (cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal) as well as timber, but the second biggest country in Africa has no roads connecting one end of the country to the other. The only way to travel between two distant points is by air of which many Congolese cannot afford air travel.

This road infrastructure deficit in DRC as well as other African states is a momentous barrier to sustainable social and economic transformation. Transport costs are higher in African countries as compared to other continents due to this deficit.

“Transport costs alone are 63 per cent higher in Africa than in developed countries. This is hampering the continent’s competitiveness in local as well as international markets,” agrees the African Development Bank (AfDB), adding that transport costs represent between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of total exports value in Africa.

These costs, according to the AfDB, which last year approved projects amounting to US$615.2 million in Zambia and Zimbabwe, with infrastructure, transport, energy, information and communication technology, water and sanitation receiving 62.6 per cent of the share, are even higher in 16 landlocked countries such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Mali, and Niger, and constitute up to three quarters of their total exports value.

Isaac Shinyekwa, acting head of the Department of Trade and Regional Integration at the Economic Policy Research Centre, mourns inadequate investment in road infrastructure saying it is impacting negatively on intra-African trade, which is currently just 11 per cent of total trade.

“When you look at countries that have developed, road infrastructure is crucial. We need the roads to move our goods as well as to cut down the cost of doing business,” he said.

Shinyekwa, therefore, urged African countries to invest in road infrastructure if the continent is to reduce the cost of doing business and transform socio-economically.

It is, however, estimated that countries within and across Africa need to invest nearly US$90 billion per year over the next decade to bridge the road infrastructure deficit, but for the effective provision of good and modern road infrastructure, there is need for accountability in the administration of funds, in the words of Munodawafa.

World Bank’s senior transport specialist, Mr Justin Runji, concurs, “It is critically important to reconstitute policy formulation, policy oversight and performance monitoring and evaluation capacity as a minimum, within transport ministries in Africa.”

He goes on to say: “Transport policy objectives and related performance indicators should be simplified and limited to a set of measurables commonly used and understood key transport indicators that are known to contribute to intended outcomes. To underpin reforms, strategies are also required to safeguard operational autonomy along with corporate governance within the sector institutions, such as road funds.”

Honestly, raising enough finance for infrastructure development is one of the key challenges facing Africa’s expanding economies. Governments, development partners and private sector stakeholders in the continent should, thus, simply develop road infrastructure in partnership as well as commit more resources to improving the continent’s road networks.

Without good roads, Africa’s agenda of an accelerated industrialisation via valuable and realistic interventions such as promoting and enabling the continent to use its diverse natural resources to achieve socio-economic development will remain a pipe dream.

Source: Southern Times

Transport and Mobility SeminarBook your seat here.

Join the discussion here.

Follow Alive2Green on Social Media

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

National Water Week and World Water Day: The Importance of Managing Our Resources

The increasing demand for water on the African continent is forcing water utilities to expand and improve their treatment and distribution capacities. African Utility Week event director Evan Schiff says the upcoming National Water Week (17-23 March) and International Water Day (22 March) “are important days to make us aware of the challenges, remind us that every drop counts and that water is a finite resource.”

“The African water industry is changing,” Evan Schiff adds. “In recent years, Africa’s economic growth rates have averaged around 5.2% per annum, making the continent one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Coupled with high population growth, urbanisation and changing lifestyles, the demand for natural resources especially water continues to increase rapidly on the continent with no signs that both growth and demand will slow down any time soon. This highlights an urgent need for water utilities to broaden and expand their infrastructure. At the same time, water as a sector is difficult to manage because conflicting industries are vying for the slice of this liquid pie.”

He continues: “innovation is on the increase and there is an ever growing awareness of the opportunities provided by sharing experiences and new smart water technologies. Once again at the 15th African Utility Week, taking place in Cape Town from 12-14 May, the water conference track offers an exciting spectrum of speakers on the state of the water industry today with both local and global experts sharing their success stories and valuable lessons. The event expo boasts Africa’s largest showcase of technology and service providers in water treatment, leak detection, metering and monitoring and control. It provides an opportunity to invest in knowledge and secure solutions to improve cost reduction strategies, sustainable business models, water management, treatment, supply and infrastructure. Importantly it will aim to find the answers to securing the future of water resources for Africa.”

Water experts and technology

Peter Flower, Director: Water and Sanitation, City of Cape Town, is one of the headline speakers and will address the water delegates on the “Continuous improvement in water management: The Cape Town perspective.” Says Mr Flower: “the City’s water department has been able to very successfully manage its demand growth over the last 15 years, through the co-operation of the residents of Cape Town and the successful implementation of the City’s Water Conservation and Demand Management Strategy. An indication of the success of these efforts is that, to date, the City has never exceeded the water demands experienced in 2000. This is remarkable when you consider there was significant population growth during this period. This has also enabled the city to defer the high capital expenditure on water resources and infrastructure development to a later time-frame.”

More conference highlights include:

“The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has adopted a 10-year Water Demand Management Strategy, comprising of programmes to effectively address, separately, technical and non-technical water losses.”
The evolution of water metering technology and the selection process
– Dorothy Batenegi Mabuza, Divisional Head: Water Revenue Management Water & Sanitation Department, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

“By 2030, the water industry will provide continuous quality water supply services to 100% of the existing urban and peri-urban residents of the inhabited areas.”
Panel discussion: Securing the future of water resources
– Engineer Harry Sikoma, Western Consulting, Zambia

“By adopting appropriate strategies and technologies, it is possible for utilities to serve and make money in the poor segments of society.”
Delegated management model: An answer to water service provision challenges in informal settlements
– Engineer David Onyango, Managing Director of the Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company Limited, Kenya.

“Currently in South Africa we have a water loss of around 38%, but we believe it is possible to reduce the loss by up to 20%.”
Smart water systems – Using the network
– Klaus Gruebl, Sensus country manager in South Africa

“There is quite a lot of impressive work going on in trying to operationalize the nexus perspective on the continent.”
North-South development cooperation: Best practices across borders
– Paul T. Yillia, consultant at Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

“SeeSaw is working in Angola’s second city, Huambo, to help the government and water utility gain a better understanding of the service level that customers experience.”
The pros and cons of prepaid versus mobile-enabled postpaid approaches for African water utilities
– David Schaub-Jones, Co-Founder, SeeSaw

The 15th African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa is expected to again attract more than 5000 attendees and features 250 exhibitors, 190 speakers, eight conferences, free technical workshops on the expo floor, three high-profile plenary sessions and the coveted industry awards gala dinner. During the African Utility Week Industry Awards, the African Water Utility of the Year, will also be announced.

DNV-GL has already confirmed its exclusive diamond sponsorship of the event while Accenture, Building Energy, MarelliMotori, Rubbytad and Edison Power Group are the platinum sponsors.

African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa are organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.

African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa dates and location:
Exhibition & Conference: 12-14 May 2015
Industry awards: 13 May 2015
Site Visits: 15 May 2015
Location: CTICC, Cape Town

Source: PR.com


 

Water Resource Seminar

 

Book your seat here.

Join the discussion here.


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Arboreal Platform

The design for the headquarters of the Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Cordillera Volcánica Central (Fundecor) in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica is appropriately located in the midst of a forest. The non-profit organization aims to “contribute to sustainable management of natural resources and improve quality of life” in rainforest regions. Accordingly, the knowledge center will inform its users about the management of woodlands and the benefits to develop an economy dependent on forestry services, while promoting environmental conservation. 

Sustainable_building

Entitled Arboreal Platform, the project is organized on an elevated podium that hovers above the ground and is surrounded by trees. Four buildings on the platform frame a central courtyard. The entire structure is made of wood and covered by a roof using panels made of recycled aluminum milk packages. Internal climate comfort is provided by a low-cost combination of passive and active systems, including the use of grey water for the sanitation system.

Progress: The use of wooden structures are practically lost and forgotten in Costa Rica, actual construction methods are based upon covered steel skeletons or concrete-based elements with a poor or absent environmental conscience. This new platform structure will illustrate that it is possible to rethink the use of wood as a model of vernacular innovation, applying standard techniques with local certified forestry timber.

People: One of the principal objectives of the center is to involve, inform and share with people the benefits of developing a sustainable economy based on forestry services while promoting environmental conservation and a sustainable lifestyle in equal measure. The center will be the place to bond community and forestry, based on a synergic relation. It projects in its materialization a platform of exchange and encounter accessible to all.

Planet: The project takes advantage of being in an elevated position, providing a low-cost combination of passive and active systems for internal climate comfort. Used water is reincorporated in bathroom flush systems and sanitary waste is linked to biodigestors that provide fertilizer for use in the forest. The wooden structure is modulated according to nearby sawmill standards and technically designed to be easily-assembled by a rural contractor. All wood used will be the product of their forestry management and is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), living up to the Fundecor’s mission.

Prosperity: Fundecor has been a pioneer organization in Latin America for the positioning of forestry as a sustainable and responsible economic activity, and at the same time giving value to the forestry ecosystem. The timber and economic funds that will be used for the center are an example of how responsible management can be translated into physical resources.

Place: The position of the project takes advantage of the available site topography and takes care to minimize the building’s impact on the ground. The design response is materialized into an elevated wooden structure based on the logic of settlement used for generations around the site. The position is subtle; crowning a hill and showing its presence as a land monitor that protects – both literally and metaphorically – the forest.

Sustainable_building

Source