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Copenhagen Climate Talks -- Viewed From Nigeria

What do the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen mean to the many millions of people who will be most affected by global warming?  DM2009 winner Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu (with microphone in photo below) has some on-the-ground answers from Nigeria.  Ikegwuonu's novel radio drama project will help educate up to 15 million small farmers in southeastern Nigeria whose livelihoods are affected by torrential, soil-eroding rains aggravated by climate change.

1.    Given an opportunity to address world leaders in Copenhagen, I would tell them that climate change is global but the solutions are local. To this end education is the key to long-term climate adaptation. While education on climate change mitigation and adaptation is well advanced in developed nations of the world, it is relatively unknown among billions of people at the base of the pyramid in developing countries who ironically have the least means to cope in the event of climate change- induced disaster.  I would tell world leaders that efforts to tackle climate change must first dwell on education because it breaks all forms of barrier, poverty included.  Education opens the mind and motivates the quest for results. An educated person is empowered to make better choices.  Furthermore, people cannot be developed but can only be given options through a system of education to develop themselves.

2.    Climate change is relatively unknown in Nigeria. This is because people have not been properly educated or informed.  Rural people consider climate change to be a short-term weather change but fail to realize that the change is not short term but long term. Indeed some conversations centered on mitigation and adaptation are being taken at Federal government level in Nigeria, but the outcome of these conversations is still relatively unknown to Nigerians. However, the present Copenhagen COP 15 has drawn small media attention to climate change, but this has not sparked up a debate which Nigerians are used to on such an important issue.  More media attention is desired.

 

DM2009 Adaptation Theme Catches On Worldwide

Tom Grubisich's picture

The theme of DM2009 -- "Climate Adaptation" -- is looking very timely.  Today in the Washington Post there's a revealing Page One feature on how adaptation is catching on in countries around the world, with a special focus on what the Dutch, who have had centuries of experience coping with flooding, are doing to manage perhaps worse threats coming from climate change.

Most adaptation strategies assume the Earth will get hotter -- by at least 2 degrees C. no matter what countries do to mitigate the buildup of greenhouse gases.  Adaptation doesn't try to control climate, but to adjust to its destructive impacts, like flooding and drought.  The goals are to protect people and their community, including natural resources.

The frustration with DM2009 wasn't its mission, but that there wasn't enough money to fund all the worthwhile adaptation projects that made it to the finals.  The nearly US$5 million pool funded 26 projects.  But at least some jurors thought there were many more worthy projects.  After all, the 100 finalists had survived a screeening that eliminated 94 percent of applicant projects.

The post-competition challenge is how non-winners can stay alive.  Twenty-two of the projects aim to bring help to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), those which stand to be the biggest losers from climate change, like Bangladesh in South Asia, Nepal (photo of Nepalese villager by Simone D. McCourtie, World Bank) in East Asia and the Pacific, and Mozambique and many other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  To improve their chances, LDC project sponsors should make an all-out effort to be included in their countries' National Adaptation Programs of Action.  Most of the world's 49 LDCs have produced NAPAs as a key step toward getting funding for their adaptation efforts from developed countries.  While the LDC Fund contains only US$172 million -- hardly enough for adaptation projects in 49 countries -- the amount is likely to be increased as a result the U.N.-sponsored climate change negotiations that begin in Copenhagen on Monday.  Furthermore, the World Bank's Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) has US$546 million to help finance NAPA adaptation projects of LDCs that are in the pilot.  So far, PPCR includes six LDCs.  Thirteen of the non-winning DM2009 finalists come from four of those six pilot countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Nepal). 

The 22 non-winning DM2009 finalists from LDC countries can make strong cases for inclusion in NAPAs.  First, they have already been closely scrutinized by evaluators.  Second, these early-stage projects are minimally expensive -- none would cost more than US$200,000.  Third, they meet the top NAPA "guiding element" of local focus because they're strongly community-based.  Fourth, they were designed to be replicated.  And fifth, their specific objectives dovetail with the more general ones of their countries' NAPAs.

There's a common message for all those finalists: Go for it.

He Didn’t Win, but DM 2009 Finalist Hails His ‘Great Achievement’

Tom Grubisich's picture

Development Marketplace 2009 finalist MacDuff Phiri of Ghana (photo at right) didn’t collect a winner’s crystal globe at the Nov. 13 awards ceremony in Washington. But he didn't return home empty-handed.  Phiri, whose project would make crop insurance affordable for struggling small farmers in Ghana’s drought-stricken Upper West Region, said in an email to one of his new friends from the "100 ideas to save the planet" competition:  “My presence and just being able to network with all the other participants and great people like yourself was a great achievement in itself.”

There are 73 other finalists who didn't win either.  What do they especially remember, even treasure, from their week at the competition?  What's next for their projects, which were among the 6 percent that survived all the way to the finals?  We'll be putting questions like those to them over the next days, and share their answers here.

Africa and Adaptation: Many Needs, Too Few Projects

Tom Grubisich's picture

The economic -- as well as human and environmental -- costs of adapting to climate change will hit developing nations hardest -- none harder than those in Sub-Saharan Africa.  New World Bank projections have adaptation costs carving out almost 7 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa's gross development product annually between 2010 and 2029.  That's more than double the cost projected for Latin America and the Caribbean, and more than triple the cost to GDP that would be borne by developing countries in other regions.  Yet only 16 of the 100 finalists in DM2009 were from Africa, and only three of them -- from Burkina Faso (anti-desertification), Ethiopia (anti-drought), and Nigeria (anti-drought) -- were among the 26 winners.

Below, from left, photos of winners from projects in Burkina Faso (Thomas Granier), Ethiopia (Mohammad Ehsan Dulloo), and Nigeria (Nnaemeka Chidiebere Ikegwuonu).

Of all the adverse impacts of climate change in Africa, the worst is drought.  Already faltering food production in the region could fall by 16 percent long term because of more frequent and intense drier weather, according to recent projections.  If that happens, Africa would be even further from meeting its Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty.

With most of Africa's food grown by small farmers, most adaptation projects to protect the farmers against climate change will have to start on a small scale.  The implications are as certain as the outlook for drier weather: Africa must become the center of many more projects like the region's three winners at DM2009.

The Drama of Climate Change: Nigerian Wins at DM2009

Tom Grubisich's picture

Nnaemeka Chidiebere Ikegwuonu of Nigera was one of the 26 winners at DM2009 with a project that would create a radio drama aimed at educating small farmers on how how to better manage the risk of growing crops in extreme weather that swings from storms to droughts.

While accepting congratulations, Ikegwuonu said, "There is a saying in our local Igbo language, 'To whom much is given, much is expected.'  Thanks to this award, within 18 months, small farmers living in southeastern Nigeria will mitigate and adapt to climate change by integrating local knowledge and external technology."

Through a network of 15 radio stations, the series will be able to reach a potential audience of 15 million in southeastern Nigeria.  Listener clubs will be able to broadcast feedback through solar-powered radios.

 

Driving adaptation with effective communication tools in Africa

Joachim Ezeji's picture

Part 2 of 2 -

As efforts to develop and diffuse adaptation mechanisms in Africa and elsewhere grow in momentum, one major constraint has been the failure to develop an effective communication strategy to drive the process. Effective communication as a sub-set of development needs to be developed in order to get the message down to the bottom of the pyramid where those most affected agglutinate. The concept of information in general, and of climate change adaptation information in particular, as a resource for effective adaptation and development, needs to be domesticated well beyond the current cozy confines of conference rooms and research hubs. (Photo by Curt Carnemark, World Bank)

In Guinea, rising sea levels linked to global warming is feared to likely result in stronger coastal currents, higher tides and sea encroachment of land. Guinea’s coastal region, home to West Africa’s largest and richest mangroves, would therefore bear the brunt of global climate change. The region’s entire economy is now under threat. It is feared that the main victims of all these climate variations would be people living near the coast. An estimate of 2 million people are likely to suffer income losses.

Driving adaptation with effective communication tools in Africa

Joachim Ezeji's picture

Part 1 of 2

Does it bother you that most discussions of how to address climate change in Africa have focused much more on adaptation(e.g. coping with the storms, floods, drought, sea- floor rise and other impacts that climate change will bring) than mitigation (e.g. reducing green house emission etc)?

Not to worry, both adaptation and mitigation are very crucial in addressing the challenges of climate change. However, the onus of addressing mitigation is common with countries like China, USA, Russia, India, Japan, Germany, Canada, UK, South Korea, Iran, Italy, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, France, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Ukraine and Poland etc whose expanding economy has a huge feed demand for fuel. For these countries, mitigation is a central concern they constitute the top 20 CO2 emitters per capita (measured at metric tonnes per person). Apart from South Africa, no other African country made this list.

Biso na Biso Live on Air!

Scott Poynton's picture

It's been a long time coming but Biso na Biso, the first ever indigenous language community radio station in the Congo Basin, is now live on air.

The project, funded with generous support from the WB Development Marketplace (2005), Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, TFT and the Chirac Foundation, aims to give indigenous people and local communities a voice in forest management decision-making that impacts their livelihoods. The project is a unique collaboration between indigenous communities, a large forest concession company (CIB), Dr Jerome Lewis from University College London, Globecom (a South African radio specialist) and TFT. (Photo by Jérôme Lewis.)

You can listen to some of the initial broadcasts at TFT's 'In Conversation' Podcast site http://tft.podomatic.com/entry/eg/2009-01-30T02_39_27-08_00

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