By David Njagi
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The noose is tightening around rogue enterprises which have turned Kenya’s cities and towns into smoke canopies.

An air quality control regulation that the National Environment Authority (NEMA) launched last year will soon enable the agency to fit vehicles and industries with a pollutant unit to monitor their volume of exhaust smoke.

“We are going to stick the unit on vehicles and industries valid for two years to find out if the owner is polluting,” explains Prof. Geoffrey Wakhungu, director general NEMA. “The ones found to be polluting will be forced to dump the dirty asset or find ways to clean it up.”

NEMA has partnered with Kenya Bureau of Standards, Energy Regulatory Commission, Kenya Ports Authority and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to launch this project as part of Kenya’s commitment to grow into a green economy.

But the crackdown on air pollution is not confined to cities alone. According to Prof. Wakhungu, the air pollution control project is a devolved function that involves the participation of county governments.

“We are also going to work with counties,” he explains. “Each of the counties will have a testing center which will be working with the central one for the purpose of setting standards.”

Rob De Jong, UNEP’s head of transport unit estimates that air pollution will become worse by 10 per cent relative to the current levels in the next five years.

A report released during the ongoing United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) lists motor transport, small scale manufacturing, burning solid fuel and coal fired plants as the largest contributors to urban outdoor air pollution.

The report, Actions on Air Quality, estimates that road transport emits 30 per cent of particulates in European cities and up to 50 per cent of emissions within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

“UNEP is urging countries to do more on air quality control by engaging in the air quality control programme,” says De Jong.

Meanwhile, UNEP is testing seven air quality control devices that will be connected to GPS to continually monitor air quality in many locations.

UNEP executive director, Achim Steiner, says in many cities across the world people do not know the air quality status because of poor infrastructure.

“UNEP is working to ensure the cost of technology is lowered to make air quality monitoring affordable,” says Steiner.

Road transport accounted for 50 per cent of the health costs including death and illness in OECD countries due to air pollution in 2010, says the report.    

In January, NEMA released one billion Kenya shillings to 14 counties as part of the national adaptation programme.

But more funds are expected in the next few months if a proposal that NEMA has placed to the Green Climate Fund goes through.

“It has taken us about two years to get the Adaptation Fund,” explains Prof. Wakhungu. “We want to raise money in a structured manner that it can actually be used for the benefit of communities.”

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - On the 10th-11th May the Least Developed Countries met in Bonn to prepare for the upcoming climate negotiations beginning on 16th May. This preparatory meeting has been an important opportunity for all LDC negotiators to come together and further develop the collective goals of the LDCs in light of the Bonn negotiations, during which work will begin on developing the modalities, guidelines and procedures for implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Chair of the LDC group, Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, said 'despite bearing little historic responsibility for climate change, the LDCs have led by example, with unfaltering ambition and a continuing push for fair outcomes in the global community's response to climate change. This ambition and collective spirit has been clearly displayed during our preparatory meetings and we are in a strong position to engage in the upcoming negotiations.'

The LDCs have contributed very little to causing climate change, yet are the most vulnerable to its damaging impacts. As the 48 poorest countries in the world, the LDCs also have the least capacity to adapt to climate change. As Mr Mpanu-Mpanu states, 'the international climate regime is about more than just strategies and plans, it's about people. We need to be able to give concrete effects to the Paris Agreement as soon as possible, and the round of Bonn is an opportunity to continue maintaining trust between us.'

The majority of LDCs have signed the Paris Agreement and many have begun the process of ratification of the Agreement, which Mr Mpanu-Mpanu states 'is both a testament to the LDCs and an example of our readiness to work with the global community in combating climate change.'

The LDC group continues to emphasise the importance of leadership by developed countries, and the facilitation of actions by all Parties to work towards achieving the historic goals adopted in Paris; 'while the LDCs have the will to act, we lack the capacity and resources to do the heavy lifting required to address climate change',  Mr Mpanu-Mpanu states. For the LDCs, taking much needed action on climate change relies on the securing of financial, technological and capacity-building support for on-the-ground action. This remains a key priority of LDC negotiators.
'The LDC group looks forward to engaging in the negotiations in Bonn, and is encouraged by the record number of countries who united in New York to sign the Paris Agreement last month. This demonstrates that there is political momentum globally to set to work constructing the further arrangements for the Paris Agreement that will bring the next phase of the global climate regime to life.'

By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame
DAR ES ALAAM , Tanzania (PAMACC News) – Africa is experiencing water crisis, with scientists saying there is strong evidence of decreased water flow and water quality in many countries.
Scientists, researchers and drivers of water policy have also warned that continued population and economic growth, combined with climate change, could result in serious water shortages in some parts of the continent by 2025.

These challenges are coming at a time many African countries are mapping pathways towards the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

It is against this backdrop that the African Ministers attending the sixth edition of the Africa’s Minister’s Council on Water,AMCOW, have called for increase self-driven innovative approach to address the water challenges.

The AMCOW flagship water event, “the Africa Water Week “from the 18th to 22nd of July 2016 in Dar es Salam, Tanzania; the ministers agree provides the unique opportunity to pathways to address water challenges.

“We need new ideas and self driven approaches to addressing the issues of water in Africa,” noted  Gerson H Lwenge, Tazanian minister of water and irrigation, at the opening of the conference on Monday July 18,2016.

In a pre-conference statement AMCOW officials said there was a range of actions – besides investments into large inter-basin transfer schemes – that could be taken to improve the prospects for quality water supply and quality.

“The Africa Water Week accordingly, represents a political commitment at the highest level for creating platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa's water and sanitation challenges. It is organised by the African Minister's Council on Water (AMCOW) in collaboration with the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission alongside regional and international partners, “ the statement noted.

Speakers at the opening of the conference emphasized on the need to better address issues related to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with emphases on using local approach adapted to the African reality.

“ The SDGs is all about using local initiatives by both the private sector and the government working hand in glove. Wter resources is vital in realizing these goals,” says H.E Mwai Kibaki former President of Kenya at the opening of the conference.

The biennial water conference hosted at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC), Dar Es Salam by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, represented by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation brought over 1000 participants from governments, regional institutions, international partners, the private sector, the scientific community, civil society and the media from all over the world.

The conference accordingly is in keeping with the decision of the AMCOW Governing Council
“to institutionalize the water management body as a way of building momentum on achieving the Africa Water Vision 2025”.

It equally represents AMCOW’s belief that effective and efficient management of water resources leads to the provision of adequate and equitable access to safe water and sanitation as well as makes a critical contribution to Africa’s progress towards sustainable growth and development, the officials said.

The Africa Water Week series accordingly began in Tunis, Tunisia in 2008. Since then, the conference has been held in Midrand, South Africa in 2009, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2010, Cairo, Egypt in 2012 and Dakar, Senegal in 2014 featuring an assemblage of international and regional organizations and the scientific community, as well as exhibitors from various sectors  engaged in the sustainable management of Africa’s water resources and delivery of safe water and improved sanitation.

Achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation

With the theme "achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation," the 6th Africa Water Week aspires to lay the building blocks for Africa to achieve the SDG six as well as other inter-linking SDGs connected with water resources management and improved sanitation service delivery.

It also represents the quest in the continent to place emphasis on matching commitments and plans with concrete actions with impact on the ground. It highlights Africa’s undaunted focus to achieving the Agenda 2063, the continent’s global strategy to optimize use of Africa’s resources for the overall benefit of all.

The four sub themes of the AWW-6 revolve round achieving universal and equitable access to water and sanitation for all, and ensuring sustainable water resources management and climate resilience. Others are strengthening productivewastewatermanagement and improved water quality improving policy, financing and monitoring.

Part of the desired outcome for the conference is the adoption of a roadmap for developing a comprehensive action plan for Africa aimed at translating high-level commitments including N'gor Declaration on Water Security and Sanitation into implementation at country, sub-regional and continental levels.

Established since 2002, the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) seeks to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water.

As the Technical Committee for Water and Sanitation of the African Union, AMCOW contributes to Africa’s progress towards sustainable growth and development by providing political leadership in the continent's efforts at achieving effective and efficient management of water resources through the provision of adequate and equitable access to safe water and sanitation.

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Mithika Mwenda - Right hands over the Civil Society position document to African negotiators at COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland

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