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NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Equipping local communities in particular women with right resources to manage forests in Africa could help ease poverty and reduce deforestation – Environment experts have observed. Drawing examples from Brazil and Nepal where thousands of community-led forest initiatives have significantly slowed down deforestation, the experts say such success cases could easily be replicated in Africa to drive efforts towards sustainable forest management. A case study from Nepal presented at a workshop organised by the Africa Forest Forum in Nairobi shows that supporting communities to take care of their own forests led to a 37 percent drop in deforestation and a 4.3 percent decline in poverty levels between 2000 and 2012. “Forest experts say this should be the way forward for Africa,” said Dr Julius Chuezi Tieguhong, a forest research scientist. “Giving local communities in Africa the chance to look after their own forests will permit them intensify measures against illegal logging and other abuses because they know the forest is their future,” he said. He observed that community forest management can help achieved a clear win-win for local people, protect the environment and fight against poverty.Another expert, Cecile Ndjebet of the African Women's Network for Community Management of Forest, abbreviated in French (REFACOF) emphasized on the need to drive sustainable forest management by providing local women with alternative income generating activities that keeps them away from destroying their forests, which is a lifeline to their future. She cited the case of Cameroon where a government supported agriculture programme for local farmers has enabled forest community women to engage in processing, packaging and marketing of non-timber Forest Products for income generation. The programme called AGROPOLE accordingly, tackles food security, forest conservation and climate change, as well as the connection between agriculture, forestry and local economies. She says the success of the programme has kept the women off their former trade of burning charcoal to raise income. “When women and local communities are empowered to secure their rights to land and provided environment friendly income generating activities, they can conserve resources and prevent environmental degradation,” Cecile Ndjebet said. Experts expressed concerns that the neglecting of local communities in forest management systems could only aggravate deforestation globally.Deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change after fossil fuels, accounting for almost a fifth of planet-warming emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Cutting down forests can also harm livelihoods and cause tensions, as people compete for fewer resources, noted the UN report. According to a 2018 analysis by the Rights and Resources Initiative, a global land rights coalition, indigenous peoples and local communities legally own only about 15 percent of forests land worldwide, a situation that relegates them to the background in sustainable forest management efforts. Environment experts say African leaders and policy makers have to grasp the scale of the challenge to get local communities involved in forest management at all levels to better address poverty eradication and environmental protection in the continent. According to…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The African continent is surrounded by vast natural wealth in its dense tropical forest yet its people are desperately poor, environment experts say. The scientists have decried the absurdity of being so close to natural wealth, but so far from its benefits, a situation that can be changed for the better if forest resources are sustainably managed.At a regional training workshop at Safari Club, Nairobi-Kenya May 20th, 2019 under the theme; ‘sustainable forest management and leadership for policy makers in Africa’ participants highlighted the need for the continent to find a lasting solution to poverty, concluding that ‘if sustainably managed, forests can drive Africa’s wealth so near’.“If Africa is to be lifted from its plight, the forest sector must play a central role,” said Derek Berliner, Forest Ecology and Conservation expert, South Africa.Environment and forest experts at the workshop were unanimous that for changes to occur, poor governance issues that have plagued the forest sector for generations must end, along with the flow of illegal timber that still saturates European and Asian markets.African leaders and policy makers have to be empowered with skills to grasp the scale of the challenge, to improve forest management as pathway to better address poverty and environmental protection in Africa.It is against this backdrop that this capacity building workshop was organized, targeting policy leaders, institutions, individual including farmers and farmer organizations.The trained forest actors are expected to design and implement forestry strategies and policies that will make a difference in sustainable forest management in Africa while responding to new and emerging issues.“Policy makers from institutions need to be equipped with extra set of leadership skills to improve the performance of the forest sector and help the continent realize its full economic and social potential while responding to a number of global environmental issues that have emerged and having a significant bearing on Forestry in Africa,” reads part of a document by the African Forest Forum (AFF).It notes that the global community is now turning attention towards green growth pathways with focus particularly on forestry. AFF officials say this goal can best be achieved if the different stakeholders are better equipped with the knowledge to play their role.“Building capacities will permit policy makers to continually adjust to the ever-changing environment that affects forests,'' said Prof Godwin Kowero, the AFF Executive Secretary.According to AFF, a stronger response by governments, nongovernmental organization and the private sector is needed in the drive for sustainable forest management to allow Africa make the best out of its rich forest resources.Africa’s current forest cover of 624 million hectares (23% of land area) represents natural capital that supports rural livelihoods, national economies, and has considerable potential in the global economy, according to AFF. The African forest ecosystems are also characterized by high biodiversity and endemic species as well as non-timber forest products with an appreciable annual value of trade. At least 21% of the total global carbon stock is held in forests.Experts say they are hopeful Africa can…
DODOMA, Tanzania (PAMACC News) - The Tanzanian government, its fishermen and farmers have benefited from three Weather and Climate Information Services (WISER) projects.The three projects are national WISER, Highway and Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) project respectively, all sponsored by UKAid and UKMet Office (UKMO). The projects which began in 2016, have remarkably changed the quality, accessibility and use of weather and climate information services at all levels of decision making for sustainable development in Tanzania. The Three projects offered a unique package that culminated for weather and climate services information consumption to end users and enhancement of the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) capacity to provide weather and climate information. They included a robust dissemination framework of such services for effective decision making to deal with natural hazards impacts and other socio-economic issues. The National-WISER project (ongoing) executed by TMA, within the central-zone regions (Dodoma, Singida) and northeast regions, has a clear-cut goal of enhancing weather and information climate services to all information buyers, more importantly changing the way how TMA and other end users interact with the information provided and how its utilization can shape better decision making and combating poverty. Highway project (ongoing)focused on the ability to research on weather issues, behind the evolution of extreme weather events occurring within the Lake Victoria basin. The project focused on how communities and TMA can combat extreme weather events by having a robust early warning system and to reduce the loss of life attributed by strong winds and flooding. The MHEWS which was implemented from February to December 2016,focused on improving and enhancing early warning systems. The project focused on setting up the realistic operation procedures within the respective ministries and other entities to have a common understanding on how to set a useful format for weather information related to warning systems. Dr Ladislaus Chang’a, Principal Meteorologist and Director of Research and Applied Meteorology from TMA, said the National-Wiser project is an important project to the country. “It contributes towards enhancing provision, dissemination and application of climate services,” he said.Chang’a emphasized the need for availability of information, enhancing access to information and application of information. “WISER came in with the purpose of enhancing climate services to the providers of information but also to enhance the capacity of users so that they may effectively utilize the information disseminated,”Chang’a said. On the Highway project, Chang’ a said the project aims to reduce the impact triggered by extreme weather events and improve the resilience of communities within the Lake Victoria basin. “Through this project, we have improved communication capacity and use of the early warning systems products with relevant, technicians, forecasters, intermediaries and users,” Chang’a said. He said MHEWShasput together some tools to improve the standard operations procedures, put in place warning systems, resulting in impact based focus, rather than business as usual scenarios and built capacity of providers and other users such as government ministries. Experious Emmanuel, an agriculture expert from Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF), said the project has…
NAKURU, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The Dutch government through the Netherland Development Organisation (SNV) has released 39 million Euros ($43 million) to support agripreneurs from East Africa who are keen on investing in climate smart agriculture value chains of pulses, oil seeds, potatoes and cereals. The beneficiaries, according to Joseph Muhwanga, the Project Manager for the Climate Smart Agriculture-East Africa (CSA-EA) Programme at the SNV, will include smallholder farmers, farm input providers, small and medium business enterprises, agriculture service providers and cooperatives in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, who are keen on investing in the targeted value chains. “10 million Euros ($11.2 million) has already been set aside and will be given directly to different business cases that meet the laid down criteria in the next five years,” said Muhwanga. The main aim of the five year programme is to increase food production using climate smart agricultural solutions in the wake of changing climatic conditions. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organsation (FAO), the rising temperatures and increased frequency of extremely dry and wet years are expected to slow progress toward increased productivity of crop and livestock systems and improved food security, particularly. In that regard, one study led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) points out that in order to place the impacts of climate change into context, there is need to look first at changes that affect demand for food and other agricultural commodities, and then at changes affecting supply.According to Muhwanga, the SNV led programme seeks to support the entire value chain of pulses, oil seeds, potatoes and cereals using a climate smart approach. “We’ll be seeking to directly support entrepreneurs who choose to venture in business ideas and strategies that are too risky for any financial institution to support, but meet the project expectations,” said Muhwanga. Such business cases or ideas must demonstrate involvement of smallholder farmers, must be climate smart or environmentally sustainable, should be all inclusive in terms of women and youth, and must make economic sense to the business champion and other value chain actors. But most importantly, the ideas should be scalable or replicable. “The maximum amount available for any given business idea is 200,000 Euros ($224,000) or 50 percent of the total business case cost,” Muhwanga said.In Kenya, the project will focus on 12 counties that include Makueni, Kitui, TharakaNithi, Meru, Embu, Kirinyanga, Nyeri, Laikipia, Nyandarua , Nakuru, Bomet andNarok, while in Tanzania, the beneficiaries will be agripreneurs fromMbeya, Katavi, Njombe, Ruvuma,Songwe Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Singida, Tabora and Manyara. So far, SNV has already started engaging farmers, and other agripreneurs to assess and interrogate current strategies that are in use, identify new and innovative strategies that could be implemented and or up-scaled in order to increase productivity and income and enhance resilience for various value chain actors working along the pulses, oil seeds, potatoes and cereals. “We have already visited two counties in Kenya, where we assessed te existing strategies by farmers, devolved governments, entrepreneurs, agricultural service providers among…
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