Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Climate Change Can Erode Work on Poverty Reduction

Climate change will reverse years of work reducing poverty in the developing world without strong, urgent action, according to a report released Tuesday.
The Future Climate for Development calls on governments and NGOs to build climate change into their economic development programmes to help low-income countries manage its impacts and seize new opportunities as the world shifts to a low-carbon economy.
The report, produced by independent sustainability experts Forum for the Future with support from the Department for International Development (DFID), explores how climate change will transform low-income countries over the next 20 years, causing profound social, economic and political transformations as well as major environmental impacts.
Stephen O’Brien, International Development Minister, said: “Without urgent action, climate change threatens to undo years of work tackling poverty in the developing world.
“That is why the UK is now working across the globe to help the world’s poorest people prepare for the potentially devastating effects of climate change and shift to the clean technologies that are so vital to a stable, successful future for us all.
“This report will act as an important tool to help poor countries plan for an uncertain future, and underlines our need to build climate change into everything we do,” he added.
For his part, Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, said: “Climate change and development should be seen as complementary, not competing, issues. By putting climate change at the forefront of development thinking we will not only help the world's poorest to avoid serious risks, but we can also help them seize new opportunities to create better lives for themselves. Development aid should be much more climate resilient."
The Future Climate for Development calls for low-income countries and all those who work in development to look for “win-win” opportunities which address climate change and tackle development goals like reducing poverty and improving health and education. For example:
• investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency can enhance energy security;
• promoting low-carbon transport means less congestion and pollution and improves health;
• low-input agriculture, which does not rely on fertilisers to maintain soil quality, boosts food security and helps countries adapt to a changing climate.
It argues that aid must not be blind to climate change, ignoring measures to help countries adapt to its impacts and promoting high-carbon development. Climate change will transform countries and reshape the global economic and political landscape, it says, and this must be factored into development decisions to ensure they continue to yield benefits in the long-term.
The report is designed to be a practical tool to help governments, NGOs, businesses and policy makers in developed and developing countries “future-proof” their strategies and plan for a range of possible outcomes. It examines key issues which will affect low-income countries over the next 20 years and explores how these may play out in four plausible scenarios for the world of 2030.

The scenarios highlight the need to be prepared for radical changes, and they throw up some challenging possibilities, for example:
• shortages of food and natural resources and climate change impacts may lead many low-income countries to question the Western model of democracy;
• once unthinkable population control measures may be introduced as a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
• conflicts over water and scarce resources may escalate and come to dominate international relations.
And it notes that development agencies may need to reappraise their strategies, for example:
• promoting subsistence farming may build more climate resilience than intensive agriculture;
• disaster response may need to become part of long-term development planning;
• GDP may no longer be used as the primary measure of success in all countries.
Four scenarios for low-income countries in 2030
The scenarios, summarised below, are the result of a year-long project studying how climate change may influence the way low-income countries develop over the next 20 years. They present a vivid, detailed picture of four possible futures and draw on the opinions of more than 100 development experts from around the world, including development professionals, government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs and independent thinkers.
Reversal of Fortunes is a world where many of the low-income countries of the 2010s have rapidly developed – mostly on carbon-intensive pathways – and are now middle-income. But a stronger voice on the world stage is not enough to grant immunity from the impacts of a world urgently decarbonising its economy: these new emerging economies are the least resilient and are suffering the most.
Age of Opportunity is a world in which cultural confidence within low-income countries is high. They play a growing role in the world economy and are spearheading a low-carbon energy revolution, leapfrogging the old high-carbon technologies in pursuit of a prosperous and clean future.
Coping Alone is a world in which low-income countries feel increasingly abandoned by a global community preoccupied with high oil prices, economic stagnation and simmering conflict. Regional blocs now focus on their own concerns, such as food security, resource shortages and adapting to climate change.

The Greater Good is a world where people understand that economies rely fundamentally on access to natural resources – and climate change is seen as the ultimate resource crunch. States manage natural resources pragmatically to give the greatest good for the greatest number. Those low-income countries with natural resources prosper; those without have little bargaining power.

Climate change in Africa Faces Communication Challenge Similar to HIV and AIDS - Report

Many Africans blame themselves for the impacts of global climate change they are witnessing despite being least responsible for the causes, finds a groundbreaking pan-African research report from the BBC World Service Trust and the British Council.
Just as a lack of practical information and resources hindered attempts to combat the HIV and AIDS pandemic, now millions of people whose lives are directly impacted by climate change do not have access to relevant, appropriate information that helps them respond to challenges they face, says the report.
Africa Talks Climate, the most extensive research ever conducted on the public understanding of climate change in Africa, which involved over 1,000 citizens in discussions across ten countries, from Sudan to South Africa , Kenya to Ghana, found that people tend to cite local issues such as tree cutting and bush burning, rather than global emissions, as the greater cause of their changing climate.
Some people, notably women and those from rural areas, also attribute changes in climate to the will of God, with many feeling powerless in their struggle with changing weather patterns, and in an echo of a common early response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic, some attribute extreme weather as a form of divine punishment, notes the research report: 
To a young Senegalese woman who was interviewed, “[God] punishes people because we do bad things... He shows his strength with the hurricanes and storms.”. 
Among nearly 200 opinion leaders interviewed – from media and government representatives to religious and community leaders – many highlighted the information gap and compared the challenges of communicating climate change to those of HIV and AIDS.
 “When it [the pandemic] started nobody wanted to believe it... but before we knew it, it hit us left, right, and centre... And the same thing is going to happen with climate change”, said Joyce Mhaville, Managing Director ITV Tanzania.
According to BBC World Service Trust Executive Director, Caroline Nursey, the role of the media in strengthening information provision is crucial:
“The initial global response to communicate effectively about the HIV and AIDS pandemic was slow and often inappropriate to local needs: the media have had a critical role in helping combat HIV and AIDS in Africa and must be supported do so again in the case of climate change,” she opined.
The key communication challenges highlighted by Africa Talks Climate are as follows:
Immediate – Many Africans, particularly those in rural areas, are struggling in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather. They need greater information and resources.
Perceptions – People know their weather is changing, but do not connect it to global climate change.
Responsibility – Most Africans blame themselves for the impacts they are witnessing and some attribute them to the will of God.
Language – Climate change terminology is not easy to translate or understand. It provides little insight into the changes that most Africans are experiencing.
Information – African citizens need spaces to exchange ideas and information, foster understanding and plan for action.
Leadership – Local leaders are well placed to communicate climate change and help their communities to respond, but are among the least informed about it.
Media – Many in the sector assert they lack knowledge of climate change and consider it too scientific and not an audience priority. Build capacity of the news and non-news media to communicate climate change in locally relevant ways.
Africa Talks Climate is the first step in developing long-term strategies for sharing information about climate change. It aims to support all those charged with communicating on climate change, whether they be international organisations, governments, the media, NGOs or community leaders.

GJA 2010 Award Winners

GJA 2010 Award Winners
Dzifa, Emelia and Gertrude

GJA 2011 Award Winners

GJA 2011 Award Winners
GWJN's 2011 GJA Award-Winning Team

New WASH-JN Executives

New WASH-JN Executives
They are from left - Edmund, Ghana, Aminata: Guinea, Alain: Benin, Paule: Senegal and Ousman: Niger

Celebrating Award

Celebrating Award
The benefits of Award Winning!

Hard Work Pays!

Hard Work Pays!
In a pose with my plaque