Showing posts with label Climate Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Climate Change. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Zambia Targets 5,000 Green Jobs By 2018

Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale (right) at the launch
By Paul Shalala

Zambia, with the help of cooperating partners, is targeting to create 5,000 green and descent jobs in the construction sector for its growing young population by the year 2018.

With unemployment levels high in the country, the government, through the Ministry of Local Government, is working on strategies which will create opportunities for young people to get employment.

Under the four years multilateral funded Zambia Green Jobs Programme, the southern African country hopes to also improve the quality of a further 2,000 jobs in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

According to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme's annual impact report for 2015, 2,660 green jobs have so far been created in the two years the programme has been running.

"At the time of the evaluation, the programme had supported the creation of 2,660 new green and descent jobs in micro, small and medium enterprises mainly in the North Western, Copperbelt and Southern Provinces," reads the report in part.

The report further reveals that the 2,660 does not include 3,600 casual jobs created through temporary and part time jobs.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Trade Center (ITC) and providing technical assistance to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme while the government of Finland is funding the project.

ILO is the leading agency on the project.

And Zambia Green Jobs Programme Chief Technical Advisor Tapera Muzira says the programme has partnered with many institutions to create descent jobs.

Tapera Muzira giving a speech
"We have partnered with many industries to create descent jobs...... We are also involved in the Environmental Impact Assesment..... Our aim is to create green growth and sustainable development," said Mr Muzira when he read a speech on behalf of ILO Country Director Alexio Musindo at the Zambia Institute of Planners' annual general meeting in Kitwe last week.

He reiterated the programme's desire to create the 5,000 green jobs by 2018 saying most of them will be created in the construction sector.

"The construction sector offers great potential for inclusive green growth and job creation."

Meanwhile, Local Government and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale says the threats of climate change are real and the world must act now to avert a catastrophe.

Speaking when he launched a book called Sustainable Housing Guidelines on Wednesday last week, Mr Mwale identified the construction sector as one industry which is key in fighting climate change.

"The construction sector is one of the emitters. We need to find responsible strategies which will help us fight climate change and create green jobs."

 At the same event, Zambia Institute of Planners President Cooper Chibomba warned that the nation can lose what it has achived if it does not act fast.

"If we do not act now, we can lose what we have achieved. As planners, we want to develop plans that will bring development to all in the country," said Mr Chibomba.

Since the Zambia Green Jobs Programme commenced in 2013, a total of $11,837,752 has been invested into the program which is expected to end in 2018.

The project is being implemented in five of Zambia's 10 provinces.

These are North Western, Copperbelt, Central, Lusaka and Eastern Provinces.

A number of companies, both local and international, have come on board and partnered with the Zambia Green Jobs Programme to create green jobs and employ green housing techniques..

For example, Kalumbila Town Development Corporation is building 10,000 housing units in the newly created Kalumbila District in the North Western Province.

The corporation, in partnership with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, has constructed two demo green houses in Kalumbila and Lumwana.

With an investment of $100 million for the construction of the 10,000 houses under its 'Kalumbila Town Green Homes' project, the cooperation hopes to to construct houses which will present a bright and sustainable future with decent jobs.

Other major investors who have joined in the green jobs strategy include Lafarge Zambia and Barrick Lumwana.

 According to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme's 2015 annual impact report, 2.5 million people were reached last year in messages about green building principles through the media.

These messages are aimed at changing public perception about green technologies.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Environment-Friendly Farming And Use Of GMOs By U.S. Farmers

By Paul Shalala in Homer, New York
Cattle at McMahon's Zacres farm in Homer, New York

As the debate over the usage of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) rages on in Africa, farmers in the United States think GMOs are good and have no effect whatsoever.

In the small village of Homer in Cortland County, northern New York state, is the family-owned farm called McMahon's Zacres owned by brothers Michael and Peter McMahon.

The duo bought the 2,200 acres farm from their father in 1986 and since then, they have run it as a dairy farm and invested over US$10 million.

During a recent visit to the farm by this blogger, the owners revealed that the farm has at any given time 700 fully grown cows and 700 calves.

Being a dairy farm, all bulls are sold off and calves are only milked for 32 months before being sold off as beef.

Due to lack of workers across the United States who can at a farm, Zacres employs five Mexican immigrants who milk the cows three times a day using some of the latest high tech dairy equipment.
A Mexican immigrant milking cattle

One of the Mexicans found on duty was able to milk 150 cattle within an hour.

"Americans don't want to be dirty. We cannot find anyone willing to do this job, that is why we employ these Mexicans because they are hardworking," said Peter McMahon, a co-owner of the farm. 

The workers are also responsible for sweeping the bans three times a day after every milking session.

The cattle is fed by maize grown at the farm and only a few nutrients are bought to supplement the feed. 

According to Peter, the farm uses genetically modified organisms in cultivating maize which is used as feed for the milk producing cattle.
Peter McMahon

“We grow our own corn (maize) here to feed all the cattle. We use GMOs in all our fields and this goes well with our crops because they do not kill any organisms. We will continue using them, we will not stop because they change to carbon dioxide after 30 days,” said Peter.

When asked if the GMOs were harmful to the environment, Peter said its actually non-GMOs which affect the environment and kill wild animals.

“A long time ago we used pesticides to protect our corn. One such pesticide was toxic. Birds would collect and swallow it. They would fly a few meters in the sky and later drop dead. But the GMOs are friendly to the environment because they melt and disappear."

He adds that at the time they used to apply pesticides, worms used to die in large numbers but now they are plenty in the fields.

One of the maize fields at the farm
The farm has also adopted environmentally friendly practices due to the high number of residue that comes from the cattle.

The 1, 400 cattle at the farm produce enormous amount of dung on a daily basis and mishandling it can cause environmental problems.

Workers at the farm collect the dung and store it in a storage family before its dried and scattered in the fields.

According to company records, the farm produces eight million gallons of manure annually and if discharged in nearby rivers and dams, it could pollute both the water and the environment.

“We work with an environmental consultant who regularly comes to taste our soil for levels of manure. We also store the manure and dispose it off in environmentally friendly areas,” said Peter.

He also said that every three months, workers pour lime across the farm to neutralise the manure once it is disposed off.

The company has also adopted a policy of not planting maize near rivers and dams to avoid chemicals flowing from the fields to the water bodies.

The farm is affiliated to environmental bodies
This farm is a major producer of Greek Yoghurt in New York state and employs a fulltime nutritionist who looks after the cattle's feed.

Its environmental programmes have even been approved by the Cortland County Agricultural Environmental Management which promotes soil and water conservation.

At the state level, McMahon’s Zacres is a member of the New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program which promotes animal health, food safety and environmental stewardship.

The farm works hand in hand with Cornell University whose extension officers monitor the farm’s activities and ensure standards are followed and animals are kept in good condition.

The university, which is located in the neighbouring city of Uthica, is the only major learning facility in new York state which specialises in agriculture.

And in neighbouring Onondaga County, farmers and county agencies are working together to protect the picturesque Skeneateles Lake from pollution.
Skeneateles Lake

The lake is the only source of water for Syracuse, the third largest city in New York state.

Over 50 farms surround the lake which is estimated to hold about 400 million gallons of water.

On a daily basis, the Syracuse Department of Water Affairs pumps 40 million of gallons to the city which is over 100 kilometers away.

“On a daily basis we treat this water. We use chlorine and UV system to purify it. We pump 40 million gallons of water daily to Syracuse and it takes six hours for it to reach the city,” said Mike Lynn, Skeneateles Water Plant Manager.

The lake has been supplying water to Syracuse for over a century.

Skeneateles area has 50 percent of its land covered by forests while 40 percent is farmland.

Authorities in the area are now partnering with farmers to ensure they do not pollute the lake which is also a tourist spot for people who enjoy water sports and fishing.

“In the past years, we have spent over US$40 million to preserve the water and protect it from pollution. We work with 42 farmers and ensure they comply with environmental guidelines,” said Rich Abbott from the Syracuse Water Department who has worked with farmers in the area for 30 years.
Mike Lynn

Mr Abbott said county inspectors tour all farms to ensure there is no discharge of effluent in the lake and make sure all farmers follow laid down regulations.

He also said farmers in the area strictly practice crop rotation to ensure chemicals do not spoil the soil.

“To protect the lake from farming activities, all farmers have planted trees between the fields and the lake as a buffer zone.”

The Skeneateles Watershed Agricultural Program and the Syracuse Water Department work together to safeguard the lake from polluters.

According to the Syracuse Water Department, Skeneateles lake is fed by over 150 rivers and tributaries.

The lake is one of the 11 so-called Finger Lakes which flow from southern New York state and stretch northwards closer to the Canadian border.

They are called Finger Lakes because they look like fingers on the map. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Zambia Targets To Reduce Green House Emissions By 47%



By Paul Shalala
The Barotse Flood Plains in western Zambia

Zambia intends to spend US$50 billion to reduce green house emissions by 47% in the next 15 years.

According to the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, Zambia intends to raise US$35bn from external sources and the remainder from domestic sources.

An INDC is a primary means for governments to communicate internationally the steps they will take to address climate change in their respective countries under the forthcoming Paris Conference.

In the past four months, Zambia has been holding provincial meetings for technocrats to craft INDC proposals which culminated into the final document which has since been submitted to the UNFCCC.

Zambia is a party to the UNFCCC Convention and upon submission of its INDC, became the 105th country in the world to forward its document to the UNFCCC Secretariat. 

According to Ministry of Lands Public Relations Officer Diniwe Zulu, Zambia’s INDC presents mitigation and adaptation efforts based on the national circumstances and desire to become a high middle income and prosperous nation by 2030.

“The successful implementation of Zambia’s INDC will result in an estimated emission reduction of 47percent against the 2010 base line," said Zulu.

"In Mitigating the impact of climate change, Zambia intends to reduce its Carbon dioxide emissions by implementing three programs driven by the country’s climate response strategy and supported by national development policies including energy, forest ,agriculture, water, town and country planning, sanitation and transport.”
 
Zambia already suffers from the effects of climate change.

Currently, the country is suffering an unprecedented levels of loadshedding owing to reduced water levels in the Kariba Dam which has been blamed on reduce rain fall in the last rain season.

In various parts of the country, reduced rain, floods and soil erosion are common sites.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Zambia Starts Preparing Its Proposals For Paris Climate Change Talks


By Paul Shalala
A flooded maize field in Zambia

Zambia has started preparing its position paper for the 21st United Nations Climate Change Summit to be held in the French capital Paris in December this year.
 
At the talks which are abbreviated as COP 21, Zambia is expected to present its recommendations for adoption into the final legally binding climate change deal.

So far, Zambia has held four inter-provincial workshops for climate change and environment experts to consolidate its position over climate change.

The workshops which were attended by technocrats from various government ministries and agencies, produced the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

This INDC will be the guiding document which Zambia will present to the United Nations Climate Change talks.

The Zambian proposals in the INDC are aimed at reducing the amount of harmful gases in the atmosphere as a way of fighting climate change.

Chief Environmental Management Officer in the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Richard Lungu told the workshop in Kitwe a week ago that this year's climate change talks were an opportunity for countries to present real proposals for climate action.

"All previous climate talks had proposals from scientists on how to reduce harmful gasses in the air. But this year's talks will focus on individual countries' proposals which is good'" said Mr Lungu.

And Lands Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga urged the technocrats to put the interests of the 13 million Zambians first.
Barnaby Mulenga

"As you sit to come up with the INDC, ensure you look at the plight of the 13 million Zambians. Also look at issues of adaptation and mitigation so that the people who suffer most from climate chanage can find relief," said Mr Mulenga.

Meanwhile, environmental activist Lovemore Muma has called on more scientific research to help government formulate a good INDC.

"We call upon government to embark on a scientific research which will help the country come up with a scientifically-backed INDC. This will help us put our point across in Paris," said Mr Muma in an interview in Kitwe.

In the recent months, Zambia has been experiencing massive loadshedding.

According to the country's power utility firm Zesco, the loadshedding is as a result of the reduction of water in the Kariba Dam which is the major producer of electricity to Zambia and neighbouring Zimbabwe.

This reduction in water is blamed on a drought which is also another form of climate change.

According to figures from the United Nations, emissions of green house gases has risen by 40 percent from the year 1992.

This has heightened calls for a new binding document that will help stop temperatures from rising beyond the two percent Celsius which many scientists say may be catastrophic.

Over the past decade, the world has been trying to come up with a legally binding climate change deal since the expiry of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which unfortunately was shunned by big polluters like China and the USA.

In recent Climate Change talks, disagreements between the industrialised and least developed countries have made this process a pipe dream.

Therefore, the 21st Climate Change talks in the French capital Paris will present another opportunity for the world to save itself from unforeseen environmental consequences like a rise in temperature, reducing in rainfall and increase in floods

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Zambia To Hold Its First Ever Climate Change Media Awards

A flooded village
By Paul Shalala

Zambia is this year expected to hold its first ever media awards to celebrate excellency in reporting  on climate change issues.

According to a press statement issued by the Interim Climate Change Secretariat (ICCS), the awards will honor reporters who have written and published stories in photography, print feature, print news, radio and television.

"The ICCS is hosting these awards under the theme “Increasing awareness levels of the general public on issues of climate change. Journalists from all across Zambia are invited to submit climate change-focused works," said Chama Nambeya who is the Communication and Administration Manager at the Interim Climate Change Secretariat,

She says the Climate Change Media Awards are aimed at promoting examples of high quality reporting in Zambia that gives prominence to climate change issues and provides accurate, informed and knowledgeable reporting that not only informs but educates and sensitises the nation.

"Entries close at 17:00hrs on Friday 17th April, 2015 so start preparing your entries now!
You can download the entry form here and submit your entries to awards@znccs.org.zm," she stated.

The ICCS is a recommendation postulated by stakeholders during consultations of the
National Climate Change Response Strategy, and an endorsement by two meetings of Permanent Secretaries on June 2, 2011 and January 27, 2012.

The establishment of the Interim Climate Change Secretariat was to facilitate the implementation of climate change activities by bringing together stakeholders like government, private sector, civil society and cooperating partners in achieving the aims and objectives of the National Climate Change Response Strategy and the forthcoming Climate Change Policy

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Women: The Untapped Powerhouse For Climate Action


Lozi Ndondi in the flood plain in western Zambia. 
By Lubasi Wachata

Climate change is one of the key challenges of our times. Globally, climate change has been recognized as a serious phenomenon with harsh repercussions for human development. Expert assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predict that global warming will have its worst impacts in developing countries particularly in Africa, South and West Asia. As a developing country, Zambia is experiencing the impacts of climate change with an increase in extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and increases in temperature. The country has also witnessed delayed onset of the rainfall and earlier cessation, resulting in shorter rainy seasons with more intense rainfall. The effects of climate change are already widespread and consequential to the country’s key sectors namely agriculture and food security, energy and water, human health, natural resources and wildlife. Due to Zambia’s over reliance on rain-fed agriculture and natural resource exploitation, such climate problems are expected to continue to manifest in future thereby calling for climate action to abate the situation.

While a vast literature exists about the vulnerability of women to climate change impacts, little has been written about how women can play an active role in climate action. Women have generally been perceived merely as victims of climate change and natural disasters.  However, women’s vulnerability has also made them keenly aware of their environments and the devastating impacts of climate change. As a result, women are well positioned to be agents of change in all actions intended to respond to the climate challenge both through adaptation and mitigation.

In the context of adaptation, a number of areas exist for climate action in which women are already actively involved namely the agriculture sector. Statistics show that at least about 80 percent of Zambia’s rural population depends on agricultural related activities. Further, studies show that rural women make up the larger share of the agricultural workforce of about 70 percent. Women therefore bear the primary responsibility for household food security, nutrition and health for families. Despite this fact, it is sad to note that women in agriculture are disadvantaged by their lack of equal access with their male counterparts to essential resources such as land and decision making power. While current laws in Zambia do not discriminate against women to own land, women still lack access to land. The 1995 Lands Act guarantees women the possibility of being land owners with security tenure of 99 years. However the Land Act also allows Customary Laws which mainly confer land ownership on men to apply to the administration of customary land. As a result, women do not have security to tenure as this is reliant on their husband or male relatives.

With respect to mitigation, Zambia’s contribution to the regional greenhouse gas emission level is relatively small. However, emissions from land use change are on an increase due to deforestation and land conversion. Halting deforestation is therefore the country’s primary mitigation action. There is potential for Zambia to reduce or store greenhouse gases particularly in the energy sector where women are already active.  While the energy sector consists of electricity, fossil fuel and renewable energy, wood is the most significant energy source accounting for about 80 percent of domestic energy in the country. Provision of energy for domestic use is typically a woman’s job in Zambia. Women often resort to the energy-inefficient open burning of biomass such as charcoal or firewood. They continue to spend enormous time procuring the biomass and they need larger amounts as they burn it inefficiently. Not only does this give them less time to pursue other income generating activities, the practice also exacerbates deforestation. Studies show that between 1990 and 2000, Zambia had the highest deforestation rate of about 851 000 ha in Southern Africa. This made Zambia account for almost half the deforestation in the Southern Africa Development Community region. Thus, mitigation actions such as the use of efficient energy systems at the household level can not only reduce both deforestation and unhealthy emissions, but also harness the potential of women as actors for mitigation measures. 

Climate change policy that does not address gender fails to utilize women’s potential in climate action. While the need for gender mainstreaming into climate change policy has generally been accepted at the international level, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol lack specific language related to gender. However, numerous other international legal instruments mandate the incorporation of the gender perspective which also applies to the existing climate change framework. Agenda 21, the Millennium Declaration, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification among others are gender-aware initiatives that may affect climate change policy. As political will for a new and meaningful universal agreement at the climate negotiations in Paris in 2015 is being mobilized, it is important that differentiated responsibilities of women and men be taken into account. Integrating gender into mitigative and adaptive policies will better deal with the repercussions of climate change. Empowering women and realizing gender equality are essential goals in themselves, but are in addition vital components of managing climate change and creating a more sustainable future.