Hungering for Food Waste Solutions

Compost-containersjustin-sullivangetty

As Hunger Action Month ends, let’s examine current food wastage statistics and activities to see where there is momentum, where it leads and the opportunities it passes by.

As an end-of-pipeline solution, the waste and recycling industry recognizes the value of the discarded products and materials that ultimately fall into our systems. Care and effort goes into developing better processes and equipment to recover these marketable or other beneficially reusable materials. To be fair, some pressure to advance these capabilities originated from our customers, along with regulatory and corporate initiatives. It is also true that certain goals and objectives have been counterproductive.

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We need more support to fight climate change – Scientists

By: Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Myjoyonline.com

Scientists are calling for more support from government to help deal with the problem of climate change and destruction being caused to the environment.

They warn life on Planet Earth will be unsustainable unless government and other stakeholders step up efforts at preserving the environment.

“All of us should be mindful of how we deal with the environment. We have to stop cutting trees and limit using our forests so there is less of deforestation.

We need to properly dispose of our garbage so that our water bodies are not filled with filth,” retired Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) scientist Dr. Margaret Atikpo told Joy news at an event in Accra to mark Earth Day and to ‘March for Science’ on Saturday.

The day is set aside to educate the public about the need to preserve the environment. “Government would have to spearhead these activities and support with the necessary funds,” she added.

More than a hundred people gathered on Saturday at the Afia Village in Accra to celebrate Earth Day and join in a global March for Science campaign that unfolded across more than 500 cities all over the world with the main event in Washington DC – USA.

The march is being organised by scientists skeptical about the agenda of US President Donald Trump who has repeatedly described climate change as a hoax and is planning to push through policies that scientists fear could reverse the gains made in saving the planet from peril.

In an exciting atmosphere, there were teachings focusing on what can be done to preserve the environment. There were also teachings on the need for science to be at the forefront of national development, and what can be done to encourage more women to venture into science and technology.

Outdoor activities included hands on teachings about recycling and video shows on climate change and science.

According to organisers of the Accra March for Science, “we (in Ghana) march for science because the action of one country affects all of us…sitting on the edge of the ocean, we are concerned about climate change and ocean pollution and their effects on agriculture in Ghana.”

“It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example,” the Accra March for Science team added.

Managing Director of Ghana’s largest circulating newspaper, Daily Graphic, Kenneth Ashigbey who spoke at the event called for an immediate end to illegal mining to preserve the environment.

2015 UNICEF Reach for Change Award Winner Cordie Aziz also advocated recycling of refuse as a way to preserve the environment.

 

Source: modernghana.com

 

Investment key in adapting to climate change in West Africa

 

Climate projections for West Africa show that crop yields and grass for livestock grazing are likely to decline in the future. But a new study in the journal Global Environmental Change shows that when ineffective institutions and political instability limit investment in agriculture climate change would have greater impacts on regional food security.

West Africa is a major producer of crops such as cassava, millet, and sorghum but in the future, regional production may not be able to meet the growing demand for food and livestock feed. “How and to what extent the region’s agricultural sector develops in the future will have profound implications for the livelihoods of millions of people,” says IIASA researcher Amanda Palazzo, who led the study.

“In some ways, West Africa is at the mercy of changes in the rest of the world — there is not much that people can do to stop global change on a local level. Our study shows that indeed, socioeconomic development and climate change in the rest of the world will affect West Africa. But that doesn’t mean that policymakers are powerless to avoid the impacts,” says Palazzo. “We found that food security in the region could improve even under the threat of climate change if the region takes a coordinated and long-term approach to investment and development.”

In particular, the study finds that investments in agriculture, specifically to improve crop yields, could lead to greater food production but also to an expansion of agricultural area into forest and other natural land within West Africa. However, regional productivity gains in the agriculture sector could help to reduce the global burden on land for agricultural production, in some cases sparing three times as much land outside the region for each hectare of land converted to agriculture within the region.

The study also shows that which people in the region make the decisions in managing resources, directing investments, and prioritizing market access, will be a key driver for the economic growth, and, therefore the food security, of the region.

In a process led by the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Palazzo and colleagues from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI) worked closely with local experts to develop plausible futures for the region. Then they linked the scenarios with the new global socioeconomic projections developed for climate change research — the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) — and adapted them to provide specific information for West Africa. In order to create scenarios that would be useful for regional planning, the researchers conducted extensive meetings with policymakers, farmers, and other stakeholders to gain an understanding of the many factors driving agricultural production in the region.

The study resulted in a package of scenarios specifically designed for West Africa, up to the year 2050, where climate change is considered an unavoidable outside force that looms in each scenario. The scenarios provide descriptions of potential future developments, including narratives as well as quantitative projections for factors such as population, economic growth, deforestation, land use, food production, and trade.

The scenarios have already proved useful to policymakers because they offer multiple, challenging future worlds in which they can test draft plans and policies. “This is quite unique. Often, the process ends after stakeholders and modelers finish envisioning scenarios through words and numbers. However, we design processes that allow policymakers to identify actions that are necessary to avoid potential problems or actions to take that have a good chance of yielding desirable results in all potential futures,” says Joost Vervoort, the scenarios officer for CCAFS and a senior researcher at the ECI, a study coauthor.

In 2015, policymakers used the scenarios to test and examine Burkina Faso’s National Plan for the Rural Sector (PNSR), which led to 22 policy recommendations. In 2016, versions of the scenarios were used to examine Ghana’s National Livestock Policy. These processes relied on model-based quantitative scenarios, to give policymakers insights into the development of the agriculture sector and measure the trade-offs between regional development, food security, and the environment.

 

Source: sciencedaily.com

The Culprit In Rising Western U.S. Smog Levels: Asia

By:

 

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Air pollution from sources within the U.S. has declined over the past few decades. But one pollutant to ozone has been increasing in parts of the West. Now, researchers say they’ve found out why. As NPR’s Rae Ellen Bichell reports, a lot of it is wafting over from Asia.

RAE ELLEN BICHELL, BYLINE: Ozone is good when it’s way up high in the atmosphere, where it absorbs ultraviolet radiation. It’s not so good down on the ground. There, says Arlene Fiore, it can cause breathing problems.

ARLENE FIORE: Ozone also damages plants as well. And so exposure to ozone can reduce the yields, for instance, of agricultural crops and things like that.

BICHELL: Fiore is an atmospheric chemist with Columbia University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Over the last few decades, she says, peak ozone levels have gone down in many parts of the country, in line with policies created to reduce pollution.

FIORE: And so I think there’s a clear success story here of the, you know, the major efforts that have gone into place to improve air quality over the U.S.

BICHELL: But in parts of the Western U.S., ozone levels have been rising. After looking at data over the last 35 years at sites across the country, Fiore and her colleagues think they’ve figured out why.

FIORE: Some of the gains made under these emission control programs domestically are being offset by rising emissions elsewhere in the globe.

BICHELL: And by elsewhere, she really means Asia, particularly countries like India and China. The U.S. emits about half as much ozone-producing pollution as it did a couple of decades ago, but Asian emissions have tripled. The impact here in the U.S. is felt especially at this time of year. During the spring, storms can lift ozone from Asia and carry it across the Pacific Ocean. The impact eclipses that of domestic ozone-producing sources.

FIORE: And so this idea that, you know, the U.S. has full control over the air that we’re breathing isn’t entirely true because it’s a global atmosphere. And it’s interconnected. And it’s part of our climate system.

BICHELL: The findings were published this week in the journal “Atmospheric Chemistry And Physics.” Rae Ellen Bichell, NPR News.

 

Source: npr.org

How the Waste Industry Can Lead on Climate Change

By: Kate Bailey

climate change

Our inefficiencies in tackling global climate change stem partly from a problem of timing. As a species, we’re predisposed to buy now and pay later, which doesn’t lend itself to long-term problem solving. We measure the impacts of carbon dioxide over centuries while our politics run on four-year cycles.

But our luck may be changing for the better: New science shows our inclination toward short-term actions could actually be a hidden strength because not all greenhouse gas emissions are created equal—some are fast and furious in their impacts while others are slow but steady. Our industry is poised to be front and center in the new short-term climate revolution.

Fast and furious

The climate impact from the waste industry comes primarily from methane, which is produced from the anaerobic decomposition of organic materials in a landfill. Methane has been flagged as one of three special greenhouse gases called Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

(SLCPs). True to their name, these gases are very short-lived, but they leave a lasting impression. For example, soot, another SLCP, can be 4,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, even though it only lasts in the atmosphere for a few weeks.

Methane, too, is also short lived but makes a big splash. In the next 20 years, methane is 84 times more potent than CO2—this means every ton of methane traps as much heat in our atmosphere as 84 tons of carbon dioxide.

The good news about these short-lived pollutants, if there is some, is that they represent an unprecedented opportunity to take immediate action to slow the rate of climate change. Aggressive efforts to reduce all SLCPs could reduce warming by half a degree between now and 2040, according to the U.N. Environment Programme.

Globally, nationally and locally, attention is rapidly turning to methane reductions because of the rapid results: Just cutting global methane emissions by 40 percent can buy us 15 years of “breathing space” on the pace of climate change. Reducing landfill methane is at the top of the solutions list. Every year in the United States, landfills emit over 426 million metric tons of CO2, the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 124 coal-fired power plants, when measured over a 20-year impact. Slashing methane emissions from landfills represents a huge opportunity for the waste and recycling industries to contribute an immediate boost to our fight against climate change.

How we measure time

Methane is commonly cited as 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But this is true only when the impacts are stretched out over 100 years. When you look at the impact over 20 years, methane is a whopping 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This is because methane only lasts in the atmosphere for 8 to 12 years before it breaks down into more benign components.

Both numbers are scientifically valid because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which oversees the global science on climate change, calculates the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions in increments of 20 years, 100 years and 500 years.

When the Kyoto Protocol was written in 1997, the 100-year timeframe was chosen as the standard measurement because scientists thought we had more time to mitigate climate change back then. Fast forward 20 years, our climate situation is much more dire and imminent: Scientists now believe that we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 to avoid making the planet uninhabitable for many species and millions of people.

To state the obvious, we don’t have time to spare. We need to change the conversation right now to focus on the 20-year calculations. As a large producer of methane emissions, the waste industry should be a leading global voice for reducing methane pollution as quickly as possible given the enormous damage that can be done within just 20 years.

Methane capture at landfills—not good enough

The waste industry has championed more and better landfill gas capture systems as the solution to reducing methane emissions. The problem is that these systems are not immediately airtight. The EPA estimates gas capture in the first five years may be as low as zero, which means we’re already doing substantial damage to our climate. Over the lifetime of the system, gas capture rates may be as low as just 20 percent, according to the IPCC.

Gas capture systems put a Band-Aid on the problem instead of addressing the root cause: Burying organic materials in landfills.

The only solution is to keep all organics out of landfills by reducing wasted food, improving paper recycling, and aggressively composting.

Shifting gears away from carbon

California is the first state to strategically redirect its climate strategy away from reducing carbon dioxide emissions to focus on short-lived climate pollutants. Specifically, the state set a goal to reduce its methane emissions 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.

California’s strategy is focused largely on reducing organics going to landfills by 75 percent by 2025.

This means big investments in organics recovery infrastructure and markets, including composting and anaerobic digestion. But it’s not just these end-of-pipe solutions: The state is also focusing on the infrastructure to rescue food, feed hungry people and address systemic reasons for wasted food. To make this all happen, California earmarked $40 million in incentives in 2016 through its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant and Loan Programs for these projects.

The real solution: Pollution prevention

California’s efforts underscore the fundamental shift that the waste and recycling industries need to take to eliminate our methane emissions. It moves us away from just patching the problem to fundamentally addressing the root cause and getting the organics out of landfills through composting and waste reduction.

In doing so, we actually create a two-fold climate solution. First, the potent methane emissions are eliminated. Second, through composting, we can sequester carbon in our soils. This means we not only stop adding more methane to the atmosphere, but we also start pulling carbon out of the atmosphere when we add compost to soils.

Pollution prevention always trumps pollution reduction, and the stakes couldn’t be higher with methane. The waste and recycling industries have an opportunity to slash methane emissions and contribute to the climate solution right now. Time’s a wastin’.

Kate Bailey is the project director of Eco-Cycle Solutions and works with citizens, government staff and elected officials to implement Zero Waste solutions around the U.S.

 

Source: waste360.com

Recognize WASH As a Climate Adaptation Strategy — WASH Actors in Ghana Advises

Inadequate knowledge or lack of it on climate change issues and how it affects the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector among Ghanaians has been identified as one of the major inhibiting factors militating against the country’s effort at combating climate change in Ghana. Policy makers and majority of actors in the WASH sector either lack adequate knowledge of climate change issues or how it impact on WASH or generally does not have interest on climate change.

That according to actors in the WASH sector account for the haphazard implementation of climate changes strategies and low understanding of the climate change among the populace and therefore called on policy implementers, civil society and all WASH sectors actors to intensify their learning and sensetisation activities on WASH based climate adaptation strategies in the Ghana. They also called for WASH to be recognized as climate change adaptation strategy. These were among a myriad of sentiments echoed by WASH sector actors at the fifty-eighth (58) edition of the National Level Learning Alliance Platform in Accra.

The 58TH NLLAP took place on Thursday 3RD November, 2016 on the theme, WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies in Ghana. Dr. Chaka Uzondu, Ag. Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns Department of WaterAid Ghana made the first presentation on “Climate Change is Water Change, So Should Ghana Prioritize Human Water Centered Adaptation as Our Key Response to Climate Change?” Dr. Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng of the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave an insight into the “National Climate Change Policy Framework in Ghana.” Lovans Owusu-Takyi, Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Solutions (ISEES) took actors in the WASH sector through “Climate Smart Solutions for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.” NLLAP 58 was chaired by the Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission, Ben Y. Ampomah.

According to WaterAid Ghana (WAG) and the Ghana Youth Environment Movement (GYEM) the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) which is Ghana’s policy response to climate change, must provide the vision and guiding framework for an integrated response to climate change and that they added must be anchored to the national sustainable development priorities such as:

  1. Agriculture and food security, (2) Disaster preparedness and response, (3) Natural resource management, (4) Equitable social development, (5) Energy, industrial and infrastructural development.

Stakeholders were also clear on the fact that, adequate steps have not been taken at national and local levels to strengthen resilience to climate change/variability. They also contend that, climate change policies and strategies have been weakly decentralised; and adaptation strategies are not well elaborated and WASH in particular is not recognised as a fundamental adaptation strategy. In this regard, WAG and GYEM are of the view that Climate Change has an enormous impact on water and with the increasingly volatile and insecurity in the availability of water in the right quantities, communities require access to water and sanitation if they are to survive and thrive in the face of the change. In view of that, WAG and GYEM recommends that:

  1. WASH Should Be Recognized As a Climate Adaptation Strategy

By that, WAG and GYEM are urging the Government of Ghana, the agencies and institutions responsible for implementing the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NACCAS) as well as developing partners to recognize the rights to WASH as a climate adaptation strategy.

  1. Stakeholders Should Develop and Implement Robust WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies

To achieve this, WAG and GYEM has called on implementing bodies of the programme of actions to develop, implement and promote sustainable WASH based climate adaptation strategies such as, rain harvesting technologies, waste management infrastructure, tree planting programs, water resources management systems and the provision of adequate sanitation facilities in public places(e.g. Health care facilities, Schools, major markets and transportation hubs)

  1. WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies Should Be Decentralized

To achieve the desired results, WAG and GYEM have suggested that, implementing institutions should mainstream WASH based climate adaptation strategies at the local government level and commit to supporting participation in programs at the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District levels through capacity strengthening and technical support to officers and officials of all MMDAs in the areas such as; climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Additionally, MMDAs need to develop Water Security Plans that are appropriately funded and implemented.

  1. Efforts to Achieve Full WASH Coverage by 2025 Should Be Strengthened

The Government and implementing bodies of WASH and climate adaptation strategies should form an effective and efficient partnership to work towards ensuring full WASH coverage for all by 2025 through the implementation of all the WASH based climate adaptation strategies outlined in the NCAAS and the GH-INDC document.

  1. Sustainable Finance for Full and Effective Implementation of WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies to Reduce Inequalities Should Be Provided.

To achieve results, the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Unit (NRECC) of the Ministry of Finance has been urged to coordinate and track the flow of funds from both domestic and international sources for the implementation of WASH and climate adaptation strategies and make sustainable funding available from the national level down to the local level. To this end, a conscious link should be created between the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development (MLGRD), the Local Government Service and the MMDAs to ensure regular flow of funds to the local levels. WAG and GYEM is of the firm believe that local leaders and community members should be empowered to play leadership roles in the monitoring and implementation of climate resilient WASH projects.

  1. Parliamentary Oversight on WASH and Climate Adaptation Finance Delivery Should Be Enhanced

Stakeholders at the forum also called on Parliament to recognize and make WASH a priority. Stakeholders contend that, Parliament, especially, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology should push for adequate allocation of budgetary support to climate changes issues and institutions. The Parliamentary Select Committee should strengthen legislation that would enable MMDAs to receive the technical and financial support to develop integrated adaptation plans that are aligned with their national planning systems and development goals.

  1. Civil Society Should be Engaged More in WASH and Climate Adaptation Program of Actions

The success of any WASH and Climate Adaptation Programme according stakeholders depends on Government’s ability to engage with CSOs and all implementing bodies of WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies. For CSOs and Implementing bodies to play their advocacy roles effectively they require the needed knowledge and skills set, and to achieve that, WAG and GYEM further suggested that their capacities should be strengthen.

  1. More Youth Should Be Given Adequate Roles in Decision Making on WASH and Climate Change Adaptation

WASH sector actors says the youth of Ghana are endowed with so much talent and therefore must be involved in all activities intended to promote or implement WASH and climate adaptation strategies by the Government and implementing bodies through the National Youth Authority (NYA) as well as involving the NYA in all decision-making processes and programme of actions both local and national level. Implementing bodies should use youth friendly outlets like social media, entertainment, and other educational platforms to ensure active and diverse youth participation in the process.

Specific Recommendations
Participants at the end of the NLLAP 58 proposed the following:

  • That school level activities with behaviour change communication materials and tree-growing activities with integration of water harvesting should be scaled-up.
  • That, there is the need to increase awareness/education on climate change issues in general and WASH in particular
  • That implementation of WASH and climate change related issues should be harmonised
  • That, policy makers should create more knowledge sharing and learning opportunities to educate themselves on climate change related issues
  • That, the youth should be engaged adequately on climate change & WASH issues
  • That, monitoring the implementation of climate-related activities at the community level should be intensified as well as identify clearly the actors engaged in the monitoring.
  • That, there is the need to deepen people/citizens understanding of the climate change vis-à-vis WASH
  • That, there is the need for WASH Climate Resilient Development: since, “Climate Change is WASH Change”
  • That programmes for and engagement of the media should be intensified
  • That, a Communication Strategy for effective dissemination of climate change issues at all levels— regions, district and community should put in place.
  • That, the role of CSOs in the climate change interventions—monitoring implementing agencies and issues of accountability should be highlighted.

The NLLAP is a WASH sector multi stakeholder platform with the overall goal of improving sector learning and dialogue. It is hosted by the Ghana WASH Resource Centre Network (RCN). The platform offers learning and sharing opportunity for sector players as one of the practical approaches to improving sector engagements/sharing with the long term aim of achieving a knowledge driven WASH sector that delivers quality and sustainable services in Ghana. NLLAP meetings take place on the last Thursday of every month and opened to all interested parties. The discussions of each NLLAP meetings are summarised and shared with wider WASH community. The topics of upcoming meetings are decided on by the RCN secretariat and a list of upcoming meetings can be found on the RCN website www.washghana.net .

 

Source: modernghana.com

We need collective climate action against food insecurity – Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) – Ghana, Monday called for an all-inclusive climate action towards food security in Ghana.

Dr John Boateng, the President of EBAFOSA, said climate change had been undermining the future of the Ghanaian economy through agriculture; adding that Ghana was highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Climate change, he said, was destroying the livelihood of many people and contributing towards unemployment because it had made agriculture an unattractive and expensive occupation now.

Speaking at a media conference on climate change, in Accra, Dr Boateng said Ghana’s vulnerability to Ghana climate change was held in its economy being mainly dependent on natural resources and rain-fed agriculture, which were very sensitive to climate change.

EBAFOSA is the first inclusive pan-African policy framework and implementation platform – a solutions space that brings together key stakeholders and actors along the entire Ecosystem-Based Adaptation driven agriculture value chain.

It was established under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme.

Dr Boateng said EBAFOSA was in 40 African countries including Ghana; explaining EBAFOSA – Ghana sought to combat food insecurity, climate change and migration, ecosystems degradation and poverty, using an innovative approach that decentralised the development and application of the policy solutions in order to achieve participation in public, private, research and other sectors, in a least bureaucratic channel.

EBAFOSA provided the platform where stakeholders could forge mutually benefitting partnerships aimed at upscaling Ecosystem Based-Adaptation-driven agriculture and its value chains into policy and implementation.

He said EBAFOSA also promoted renewable energy investments, including expanding electricity access in rural areas, particularly, targeting off-grid and mini-grids, as well as main-grids to catalyse rural agro-industries.

Ms Josephine Agbeko, the Communications Director of EBAFOSA – Ghana said, EBAFOSA recognised the responsibility of everyone in the fight against climate change and its impact on agriculture.

“We recognise the potential of the increasing number of youth and their capacity to transform our country through innovative volunteerism and entrepreneurship if we develop a less bureaucratic environment for them and the integrate private sector support and investment to start-ups and innovative SMEs,” she said.

She announced that EBAFOSA in collaboration with the Ministry of Food Agriculture, and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation would launch the All-inclusive Pan-African Framework on Food Security in Accra, on Friday, March 3.

She said the event was expected to bring key stakeholders in all areas-public and private sectors, educational and research institutions, individuals and civil society organisations to collaborate in developing and implementing policy solutions to upscale Ecosystem Based Adaptation – driven agriculture and its value chain improvements towards ensuring sustainable inclusive growth in Ghana.

Mr Joshua Amponsem, EBAFOSA Coordinator, said climate change was a threat to Ghana’s agriculture sector; adding that the mining sector despite all the benefits, had not done well for the nation.

The Coordinator said EBAFOSA was striving on the wings of innovative volunteerism.

 

Source: ghanabusinessnews.com

Ghana Launches Food Security Project In March

By: Melvin Tarlue

 

Josephine Agbeko addressing the press. With her are executives of EBAFOSA

Ghana is set to launch its version of the all-inclusive pan-African framework on food security on March 3, this year.

The Ecosystem Based Adaption for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) established under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme is launching the initiative in collaboration with the Ministries of Food and Agriculture and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

The event, according to EBAFOSA, will be held at the University of Ghana, and it is expected to bring together key stakeholders in all areas – public and private, to collaborate in developing and implementing policy solutions to upscale Ecosystem Based Adaptation – driven agriculture and its value chain improvements toward ensuring sustainable inclusive growth in Ghana.

Communications Director at EBAFOSA Ghana, Josephine Agbeko, who addressed journalists at the Accra International Press Centre on Monday, explained that the pan-African framework promotes volunteerism in the agricultural sector with the aim of ensuring food security for citizens across Africa.

“We recognize the potential of the increasing the number of youth and their capacity to transform our country through innovative volunteerism and entrepreneurship if we develop a less bureaucratic environment for them and integrate private sector support and investment to startups and innovative SMEs,” she said.

Ms. Agbeko said that climate change has negatively affected the Ghanaian economy through agriculture.

According to her, “It is time to make this known to everyone. It is now becoming very common to find almost everyone complaining about the hotness in temperature, especially in Accra.”

About EBAFOSA
EBAFOSA-Ghana is the Ghanaian chapter of the all-inclusive pan African policy framework and platform.

It seeks to tackle food insecurity, climate change adaptation and mitigation, ecosystems degradation and poverty in Ghana.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Indigenous land rights could halt Australia’s largest coal mining project

 

Indigenous elders from the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people have put mining company Adani – and Australia’s governments – on notice to quit the Carmichael mine project over native title claims. MAXINE NEWLANDS reports

We will continue to fight for our land and culture until the company and governments respect our rights and abandon this disastrous proposal

Wangan and Jangalingou Traditional Owners this week took a step closer to filing federal court papers challenging a document Adani “is trying to pass off as an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with our people” but which is “illegitimate” according to W&J Traditional Owner Council, Mr. Adrian Burragubba. The claim is over access to land near the mining town of Clermont in Central Queensland, 600 miles north of Brisbane.

The move follows the landmark ‘McGlade’ court ruling in Western Australia, earlier this month. The “McGlade” ruling states that, unless all peoples named on any native title claim – a Registered Native Title Claimants (RNTC) document – agree to lease the land, then no mining can go ahead.

In the W & J case, 40 percent (five out of 12) of those named on the RNTC refuse to support the Indigenous Land Use Agreement over fears for the ecosystem and the loss of cultural heritage.

Environmental concerns over this project stem from the threat to the survival of sacred springs and to the tradition of maintaining songlines – ancestral lines connecting across the land to protect the Earth. With 12 billion litres of water, (the equivalent to 400 Olympic size pools) needed for the mine, there’s unease over the future security of the Carmichael River and sacred Doongmabulla Springs. The springs are both central to the indigenous belief of dreamtime and the creation story and are an important ecosystem to the region.

 What is native title?

Australia’s Native Title Act (1993) ensures that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are entitled to land taken from clans after the arrival of Europeans in the 18th Century.  Communities enter into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with mining companies over the use of traditional land rights.

ILUA is a voluntary agreement between a native title group and others over the suitable use of land and waters. ILUAs cover topics ranging from mining, future development, economic benefits including employment and compensation, preservation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of native title rights, along with the rights of other people.

In 2004, Wangan and Jagalingou Peoples lodged a native title claim with the Registered Native Title Claimants (RNTC) for land they possess. The claim includes the right and interest to hunt, fish, camp, access natural resources, conduct traditional ceremonies, protect customs and traditions of the land, educate on the lands’ physical and spiritual attributes, and to be buried as native title holders on that land.

W&J youth leader and Council spokesperson, Murrawah Johnson, says: “We have maintained all along that Adani does not have the consent of the rightful Traditional Owners. Our Traditional Owners group have rejected an ILUA with Adani three times. We will defeat Adani’s fake ILUA and continue to fight for our land and culture until the company and Governments respect our rights and abandon this disastrous proposal”.

Adani reject claims over jobs and lack of indigenous support

Where green groups have failed in the courts, the indigenous peoples hope for success with a network of support and a different set of tools.

“Environmentalists and environmental campaigns have ways to take legal action to prevent the mines. I’m not saying for certain that we are going to win, but we’ve got a different set of tools we get to use” a W&J Council advisor told the Ecologist.

These tools include international support from other first nations and indigenous groups and the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz.  The Tauli-Corpuz report (2016) recommends that Australia – a supporter of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People’s  (UNDRIP, 2009) – upholds Article 32, granting traditional owners legal recourse to contest their land being used without their free, prior and informed consent.

W & J is also working with the Athabasca Chipewyan battling the tar sands in Alberta; the Achuar Indians fighting oil and gas in the Amazon and the Ogoni and Ijaw’s fight against Shell in the Niger Delta, and plan to take this campaign global – a W&J Council advisor says “we already have international connections and support. Our intention is to widen this campaign, the cause and promote it globally”.

Adani’s Response

Adani in conjunction with the Bowen Basin Mining Company (BBMC) recently held a series of roadshows in the region for those seeking jobs and supply contracts. Nearly 1,300 regional business owners and suppliers met key project team members from both Adani and the mine construction and operations contractor, Downer Group. BBMC stated that “The supplier briefings were all extremely well-attended, with exceptional support from local industry associations, indigenous communities, councils and peak economic development bodies”, adding that “there was also a strong show of support for the Carmichael project from the Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owner groups, as well as other Indigenous groups and businesses in all locations”.

The roadshow events began with an indigenous supplier briefing, with Indigenous groups singled out as “a large focus of the mine, rail and port projects…the key to effective supplier proposals is indigenous involvement, as indigenous training and jobs, along with regional supply, are main priorities for project procurement”.

Some members of W&J are challenging the focus on indigenous jobs: “The jobs and benefits to indigenous peoples argument is a sham. It’s the usual package to clear the regulatory hurdles around native title” warned a W&J Council advisor.

 Whilst Adani continues to work with indigenous groups over native title claims, green groups have been accused of underhand illegal tactics that could prevent jobs for the community.

 Queensland Resource Council (QRC) has accused green groups of threatening behavior, saying: ” While we believe it is a democratic right to protest, using dishonest and underhanded tactics in a bid to cheat Queenslanders out of jobs, is going too far. We can only hope that no-one has been put in danger, or hurt, as a result of these desperate tactics, which had the potential to bring these groups into personal direct conflict with regional Queensland business people in attendance” said a company statement.

Undeterred, environmental activists groups are looking to work with the W & J and planning to hold the largest protest campaign the country has witnessed in the coming months. The Galilee Blockade  campaigns will wait and see if W & J request support, and will continue to plan large scale direct actions and blockades.

Australian Government’s response is to bypass the law

In a week where Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Minister for Energy and the Environment, Josh Frydenberg passed around the parliamentary chamber a large lump of coal in support of the fossil fuel industry, both the Federal and Queensland governments are looking at ways to push through the project as a matter of national critical infrastructure development.

Australia’s pro-mining Attorney General George Brandis wants to rush through new legislation allowing the Adani mine and the remaining 40 other mining projects in Queensland all affected by the McGlade ruling to go ahead.

Any new legislation would be a reversal of current policy to a 2010 ruling (Bygraves decision) that stated that as long as a majority decision was made by a native title claimant group then all deals can go ahead.

Leading Aboriginal rights advocate, a primary W&J Traditional Owner and Council, Adrian Burragubba, says: “Our fight is far from over. Anyone who wants to bankroll Adani, and the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, is now on notice that we will not stand by if attempts are made, in response to the Noongar decision, to put our rights and interests, and our laws and customs, on the chopping block for the mining lobby,”.

Wangan and Jangalingou Traditional Owners are currently awaiting for Adani’s official response before deciding whether to go to court.

 

This Author

Maxine Newlands reports on Australian environmental issues for the Ecologist

 

Source: theecologist.org

 

Northern Regions urged to embrace climate Adaptation Fund Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chiefs and people of the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions have been urged to embrace the Adaptation Fund Project to help increase climate resilience and enhance sustainable land  and water management in the areas.

The Adaptation Fund was established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2001 to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MEST) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing the project in some selected communities in the north.

Mr Asher Nkegbe, the Upper East Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), made the call when the technical team of the Project undertook separates community visits to the beneficiary communities in the Upper East Region to engage them on the project implementation and to solicit for their support in the process.

He explained that as a result of de-siltation of many rivers and dams coupled with the erratic rainfall patterns in the regions, farming activities were often affected thereby lowering food productivity.

The Regional Director said the Project would make significant impact in the area of climate change and would improve upon the livelihoods of the beneficiary communities and urged all the stakeholders involved particularly traditional rulers and the District Assemblies in the Project implementation areas to get actively involved.

“The project when successfully implemented has the potential of not only improving upon the livelihoods of community members , but will also help curb rural urban migration among our youth since it will  provide an avenue for dry season farming”.

Dr Emmanuel Techie Obeng, the Technical Advisor of the Project, said among the project objectives was to contribute to the restoration of rivers and dams and also help harvest the perennial spillage of the Bagre dam in Burkina Faso to help fill the Akosombo dam.

He said all the necessary structures had been put in place including the national, regional and District committees as well as committees at the community level for engagements and the selection of ideal ecosystems management suitable for the respective beneficiary communities.

The Project would de-silt dams and dugouts, support rain water harvesting, create buffer zones, drill more boreholes, mechanize high boreholes and dugouts for irrigation, support community based beekeeping, create fire belts, establish community nursery for seedling production as well as introduce cage fishing in rehabilitated water bodies.

Mr Peter Dery, the National Coordinator of the Adaptation Fund Project, said the project was targeting ten Districts in the three regions of the north with a total of fifty selected communities and indicated that the selected areas were done based on their vulnerability to climate change.

“The project is to directly benefit 60,000 people from the target project regions and indirectly benefit over eight million Ghanaians living along the Volta River Basin. It is also expected to increase access to water and diversification of livelihoods activities and increase income generation activities by 30 per cent of the households in the target project committees”, he said.

The beneficiary  communities in the Upper East Region where the Project team  visited and  engaged with the communities during their community entry outreach included the Tambalug, Kuka, Zabugu , Gentiga Tampizua, all in the Bawku Municipal, Nosgua , Farik, Tilli , Azupunpuga, Timonde and Dagunga , in the Bawku West  District.

The rest are Yidongo , Gorigo, Adaboya, Vea and Amanga in the Bongo District and Wiesi, Kanjarga,  Chansa, Bogninga and Bachuisa in the Builsa South District.

 

Source: ghanabusinessnews.com