Climate Change (130)

PAMACC News - The Africa’s first-ever Wikipedia edit-a-thon, organized by Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and Future Climate for Africa (FCFA),has  opened the door for African climate experts and researchers to boost the quality and quantity of climate change information on Wikipedia, the largest world encyclopedia and currently the super-highway of information for ordinary people across Africa.

For 3 days, 30 participants from Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, converged together with veteran Wikipedia editors to learn, update content and initiate a vital bedrock that stamps African climate change research within Wikipedia, which gets up to 20 billion pages viewed each month, according to Wikimedia statistics.

At the moment, Wikipedia furnishes readily accessible information to the larger global audience of millions. Available data indicates Africa’sinternet penetration to be at 39.8 percent, compared to 60.5 percent of the rest of the world, plus the continent has a telecommunication sector which is growing fast.

Further, Alexa Internet ranked Wikipedia to be one of the popular websites in the world as of June 2019, placing it at the top of the internet food chain.This means that having reliable, customized and well-packaged information on Wikipedia, real-time climate change threats on food security, water resources, agricultural production, and ecosystem services could be addressed timely and swiftly, by decisive actions backed with verified information.

This means that having reliable, customized and well-packaged information on Wikipedia has potential to reach decision-makers on the continent who can use it to address climate change threats to food security, water resources, agricultural production, and ecosystem services.

And yet availability of this impeded by the fact that only a fraction of editors are from Sub-Saharan Africa.Out of 70,000 editors globally only 1000 are from sub-Saharan Africa. It is therefore not surprising for African climate change information to be under-represented in the internet.

The edit-a-thon came about to instigate improved African representation in various pages with real-time information casting light on climate change issues, but also to lead the way for researchers to contribute their findings effectively to Wikipedia, increasing their global exposure and the impact of their research.

Available data on Wikipedia interaction across the world indicates that 97 percent of all reads are in the English language, but Wikis exist in many more languages.According to Dr. Katharine Vincent a climate change expert from Kulima Integrated Development Solutions in South Africa,

“A big aim of Wikipedia is to decolonize knowledge and a major way of doing that is making information available in languages other than English.  English was the common language among all participants, although obviously many other languages are known.  We had a number of Francophone participants who edited pages in French as well as English, and others also have plans to edit in non-European languages in the future” she added.

The edit-a-thon carved its groundwork on high impact pages which needed a robust update of vital information on climate change adaptation, climate change in Africa, drylands, and agriculture.

As participants shared information updating tasks, so as their skills were sharpened. “They were shown by the Wikimedia ZA group how to edit and add to pages, and given insights into the style of writing for an online encyclopediawhich is, of course, aimed at a different audience and therefore requires a different style to academic writing” Katharine added.

Thanks to the edit-a-thon, information on climate change in Africa, adaptation finance, adaptation policy(which was out of date) and gender and climate changeis now available, packaging well referenced African examples which have been published by participants, including Katharine who intends to work on other spheres remotely with other editors in the near future.

Africa is ready for more editors to chime in and strengthen information sharing on Wikipedia. As of the event completion, 30 editors have joined the available 1000. Still, a healthy representation draws out huge impacts and has significant potential to make available the information needed to respond to climate change on the continent.

ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - Ghana ­ has become the third country to sign a landmark agreement with the World Bank that rewards community efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Ghana’s five-year Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund, which is administered by the World Bank, unlocks performance-based payments of up to US$50 million for carbon emission reductions from the forest and land use sectors.

Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also signed ERPAs over the past ten months, with other Carbon Fund countries expected to sign similar agreements in the next year.

In Ghana, forest degradation and deforestation are driven primarily by cocoa farm expansion, coupled with logging and a recent increase in illegal mining.

Working in close partnership with the Forestry Commission, Cocoa Board, and private sector, Ghana’s program with the FCPF Carbon Fund seeks to reduce carbon emissions through the promotion of climate-smart cocoa production.

“The program's two central goals – reducing carbon emissions in the forestry sector and producing truly sustainable, climate-smart cocoa beans – make it unique in Africa and the first of its kind in the cocoa and forest sectors worldwide. This program is helping to secure the future of Ghana’s forests while enhancing income and livelihood opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities,” said Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, Chief Executive of Ghana’s Forestry Commission.

In Ghana’s ERPA, the FCPF Carbon Fund commits to making initial results-based payments for reductions of 10 million tons of CO2 emissions (up to US$50 million). Ghana’s ERPA also specifies on carbon emission baselines, price per ton of avoided CO2 emissions, and a benefit-sharing mechanism that has been prepared based on extensive consultations with local stakeholders and civil society organizations throughout the country.

Ghana’s emission reductions program is anchored in the country’s national strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), and is well-aligned with relevant national policies and strategies, including Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda, the National Climate Change Policy, the National Forest and Wildlife Policy, the National Gender Policy, and Ghana’s nationally-determined contributions to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Ghana’s emission reductions program area, located in the south of the country, covers almost 6 million hectares (ha) of the West Africa Guinean Forest biodiversity hotspot. The wider program area covers 1.2 million ha of forest reserves and national parks and is home to 12 million people. 

An increase in cocoa production has historically meant more forests are cut to accommodate new cocoa seedlings, but this trend could be reversed to improve Ghana’s record as one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa.

Through the program, the government will focus on selected deforestation hotspot areas and help farmers and communities increase cocoa production there using climate-smart approaches. More sustainable cocoa farming will help avoid expansion of cocoa farms into forest lands and secure more predictable income streams for communities. These combined actions will help Ghana to meet its national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.

This work leverages support from other initiatives, including from World Bank programs focused on forest rehabilitation, social inclusion, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable land and water management.

The program also works closely with the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, which is an active commitment of top cocoa-producing countries with leading chocolate and cocoa companies to end deforestation and restore forest areas, through no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.

“It’s exciting to see the level of stakeholder engagement Ghana has been able to achieve with its emission reduction program, particularly with the private sector. Some of the most important cocoa and chocolate companies in the world, including World Cocoa Foundation members such as Mondelēz International, Olam, Touton and others, as well as Ghana’s Cocoa Board have committed to participating in the program,” said Pierre Frank Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

More than 30 stakeholder consultations, meetings, and workshops with over 40 institutions were conducted in the planning, design and validation of the program. Part of this outreach included developing and implementing a program-wide Gender Action Plan to sensitize stakeholders regarding the key role women play in sustainable land use and their right to benefit equally from results-based payments.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Chile's Environment Minister and incoming COP25 President Carolina Schmidt and the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change Patricia Espinosa have officially co-signed the bilateral agreement which forms the legal basis for organizing and hosting the UN Climate Change Conference in Santiago de Chile, later this year.

Dubbed the “COP of action”, the conference (COP25) is scheduled for 2-13 December, 2019.

The theme is aimed building on the UN says was a successful outcome of COP24 that was held in Poland last year, which resulted in the Katowice climate package.

As the host of COP25, Chile has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its leadership on ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier this month, Chile announced its plan to completely phase out coal by 2040 and its objective to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

This is a major step for a country with a 40% coal share in their electricity mix and is a prime example of the type of action required to limit the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5°C, the central goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The COP Presidency rotates among the following 5 United Nations regions: Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Climate finance remains a crucial topic at the UN climate talks, as it is the core aspect for implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Key issues include fulfilment of climate finance commitment of USD 100 billion per year by 2020, by the developed country Parties as well as transparency and accountability modalities.
It is against this background that civil society groups attending the SB50 talks in Bonn have warned the African group of negotiators to stay alert to manoeuvres by the global north to push for climate loans in place of grants.

“We are gravely concerned by the trend of commercialising climate action to an extent that the poor people who are supposed to benefit from these finances are left out or are just being used for business interests,” said Mithika Mwenda, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director. “The narrative of loans and other false solutions on climate financingare not welcome. The poor people who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis are urgently looking for real solutions. We therefore urge the African Group of Negotiators to remain steadfast and not fall for the carrots being dangled by the global north."

Mwenda said developed countries should just show leadership and live up to their responsibilities by cutting carbon emissions and financially support climate action to address what they caused through their industrialisation activities over the years.

And commenting on the concerns, Zambian delegation Coordinator, Carol Mwape Zulu said Zambia is opposed to the commercialisation of climate financing as it goes against the spirit of the convention which respects common but differentiated responsibilities.

“The convention is clear on the responsibility of developed countries to provide financial and technical support to developing countries as a moral obligation to address climate change based on the historical context of the climate crisis,” said Mrs. Zulu. “This is also in view that loans overburden our small economies as developing countries.”  

She said the priorities of African countries revolve around adaptation which is more of a social service than an income generating/revenue source as compared to mitigation measures such as carbon markets that have a revenue component.

“In this case therefore, grants become the main and preferred form of support to developing countries. At this session, Zambia has been making submissions for the financial budget of the convention for both the GCF and Adaptation Fund to prioritise grants for adaption in developing countries.”

After the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015, it was realised that the colossal sums of money needed for its implementation would require the private sector to get involved.
And at COP 22 in Marrakech, a full day was dedicated to Business and Industry at which it was agreed that business had a significant role to play in enabling the global economy to achieve – and exceed – its climate goals.

As a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, the private sector was seen as a crucial partner in securing a prosperous and sustainable low-carbon economy for all.
But with these concerns being raised about climate finance commercialisation, it could be important to revisit the private sector’s involvement in climate action especially on the modalities for financial support from developed to developing parties as enshrined in both the convention and the Paris Agreement.

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