Friday, January 27, 2012

Climate Change Vulnerability Needs Multi-facets Approach

“The green frogs, no, toads that used to hop from one corner of our garden just around our backyard there are no more. There were some wild birds that gave no rest in our rice farms. These rodents we used to see were admirable and beautiful with colourful feathers but they are no more. Where did all these animals go?” This was a recount of events of nature by  a 75 year  old women and a mother of six,  Kwajin Meinbah, based at Tatale in the Zabzuzu/Tatale District of the northern region ofGhana.

She’s no more into farming but now waiting impatiently to join her ancestors she told me with a forced smile that revealed her fallen teeth.   Afarmer? I asked childishly.

“Oh, boys of these days, look, I never allowed my husbands, to beat me in farming, the secret was that I used to supply some of my husbands, seeds of maize and rice because I was an aggressive woman farmer who wanted to portray that the difference between women and men is very thin. I supplied paper, okra, groundnuts and garden eggs freely to my fellow women. While I was still active, I never bought or begged for these ingredients until I left farming”, she said.

Swinging her right hand back and forth, Madam Meinbah who spoke passionately about farming and hardworking never failed to hit at me “you, modern children, you think farming is a bad thing it is because you are all lazy, and your cures will be poverty, hunger and starvation”.

She never stepped in a classroom before and therefore did not have formal education but that does not mean she could not reason. She said in 70s, when “fertimiza”, (chemical fertilizer) was introduced some farmers including herself spoke against the use of that white man thing. “Well, some accepted and used it and the very first time, they got bumper harvest and became vulnerable to the “fertimiza” afterwards and that caused serious loses, the beginning of their food insecurity”.

She explained that when farmers began using chemical fertilizers, they noticed some changes, strange things, the green frogs, earth worms, and wild birds were reducing in population but they claimed it was a sign of the anger of the Gods. “Each day people picked and threw or buried about three frogs in their farms and it became topical issues for discussion. This happened when “fertimiza” became popular among farmers”, she recounted.

Madam Meinbah narrated that in 1986, rains failed the farmers seriously and that brought famine to the country the following year (1987). And this was the year Ghana witnessed serious food crisis, untold hardship, and economic breakdown.

“Some of us (women farmers) could not cope after the crisis and have to abandon farming as a career to assist our husbands to feed the household. This brought our farming career to a halt” she lamented.

Her testimony depict the impact of climate change on vulnerable people particularly women and children. Madam Kwajin is part of the vulnerable and disadvantaged persons in society who are hard hit by the impacts of climate change.

At that year it was not only food supply that was affected, water supply was hard hit, there was also health crisis, and mass exodus of the youth from Ghana across the boarders particularly to Nigeria, minimal conflicts emerged over resources among the people in some part of the country. Rare Signs of climate change began in Ghana and parts of Sahara Africa region in 1986 but as it were the governments at the time never planned to putclimate resilience policies and programme to support the people to cope with the impact.

After this drought, Ghana had not been able to catch up with food security. Food had always been in short supply afterwards, the never ending water crisis also popped out and women and children continue to walk for kilometers to access drinking water for household chores, no alternative energy policies had been effectively implemented to stop the indiscriminate felling of trees, and youth migration from rural communities to urban centers in search for non existing jobs has become a usual phenomenon.

This is because agricultural lands no long support lucrative or profitable farming, the rainfall patterns had changed (now few rain drops), unpredictable weather patterns, flooding and unbearable heat continue to be recorded, and poverty, hunger, starvation and deprivation had gone pass their peak.

The country, according to the Ghana Wild Life department had also lost significant number of wild animal species, such as green frogs or toads, earth worms and other soil manipulating living organisms because of ever increasing temperatures and flooding.

Now the government had realized the need for green economy as she struggles to cope with the unemployment and development, hence the development of climate change policy framework.

Like Madam Meinbah who couldn’t tell the whereabouts of all these beautiful birds, butterflies, worms and green frogs that beautify the environment at her youthful days, so is my question, who caused climate change?

So tackling climate change would not only need cash but governmental and individual actions, support and willingness, and result oriented adaptation and mitigation measures to reduce the impact of climate change on people’s livelihoods.

It is against this background that Care International’s Climate Change Adaptation and Learning Programme (ALP) which seeks to increase the capacities of vulnerable communities and households to adapt to the effects of climate change using what they called community based adaptation approach is laudable.

The community based adaptation hinged on four key elements; promoting climate resilient livelihoods strategies, building capacities of local NGOs and local public institutions, disaster risk reduction strategies and addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability through social mobilization for empowerment and advocacy to influence policies implementations.

Until we are able to take the needed actions, developed the needed development plans, and generated legal frame works to support the implementation of climate change resilience plan actions, we will continue to witness, mass extinction of animal species, wild plants, water crisis, youth migration, conflicts, disasters and food crisis. That is why the fight against climate change, or tackling climate change needs multi-facets approach.  If we cannot bring the green toads back to Madam Meinbah’s backyard, we can prevent the crawling lizard from vanishing into thin air through climate resilience policies and programmes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Brawl brews over Sheini Hills Iron Ore Mines

A long legal battle is looming over who has the right to mine iron ore in the Sheini Hills at Zabzugu-Tatale in the Northern region of Ghana.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources a few weeks back granted prospectinglicenseto Emma Land and Cardero Resources Group of Companies to mine iron in the area after large deposits of the metal was discovered.However, another mining company, Inland Mining Ghana Limited has filed an application at an Accra high court praying the court to investigate how Emma Land acquired the license to operate and who has the right to mine in the area.
According to the lawyer for Inland Mining Ghana Limited, John Ndebugri, Emma Land submitted a pirated copy of his client’s report on the prospects of the area to the Minerals Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources which got them to win the contract.
“Cardero did not do any work there, what they did was to pirate the report of Inland Mining ltd. in order to be given the license and we have the evidence to that effect. We are not going to let this matter rest,” Ndebugri declared.
Ndebugri told Citi Business News that Inland Mining Ghana will hit the courts to revoke the license of Emma Land and Cardero Resources Group of Companies.
The application is expected to be heard on December 20.
Soruce: Citifmonline. com

Friday, December 23, 2011

Technology for Food for Life: Bush Fire, A Stakeholder to Climate Change- EPA

Technology for Food for Life: Bush Fire, A Stakeholder to Climate Change- EPA: Bushfire is one of the major contributors of climate change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and affect precipitation, the Norther...

Bush Fire, A Stakeholder to Climate Change- EPA

Bushfire is one of the major contributors of climate change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and affect precipitation, the Northern Regional Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Iddrisu Abu has said.
Aside it adverse effect on weather, bushfire is also responsible for high poverty among local farmers and would take a national plan to deal with the menace, he added. He said that about 150 hectares of rice farm had been completely bent last week alone leaving thousands of local farmers mostly persistence highly devastated.
The EPA Boss was speaking to this reporter after a workshop on bush fire organised by the Environmental Protection Agency and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The workshop which was aimed to help reverse desertification and drought in northern Ghana brought chiefs and community members from various part of the region together to discuss the menace.
The workshop was exclusively organised for local chiefs community leaders  and  to sensitize them on the need to desist from bush burning. It was under the theme: "integration of indigenous knowledge into bushfire management practices in northern ghana, the central role of tradtional authorities and their communities".
Mr. Abu said that apart from destroying soil structures and texture which leads to soil infertility, erosion and land degradation, wild fire also destroy large quantities of foodstuffs, lives and dwellings places of people and animals.
He said that indiscriminate bush burning invariably affect rainfall pattern, food production and have contribted to the drying up of water bodies forcing people particularly women and children to trek long distances in serach for water.
 A communiqué signed by the chiefs who attended the workshop also identified bushfire as the “brain behind” high poverty level among farmers and called for national action to deal with bush burning. The workshop which was organized by the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST) and sponsored by the Canadian international Development Agency (CIDA) was part of efforts to reverse looming desertification and drought in northern Ghana.
The workshop organized under the auspices of Ghana environmental Management Programme (GEMP), a 5-year environmental management plan being finance by CIDA and Ghana Government target the reduction of bushfire, indiscriminate tree felling. The programme rather support forestation, protection of woodlands, and enforcement of anti-bushfire law.
The communiqué indicated that 40 per cent of farm produce is lost through bushfire which often are set by rat hunters, cattle herdsmen and children. The communiqué however called for appropriate laws on bushfire to help curb the menace.
The chiefs also urged the government to empower chiefs, form fire volunteers in various communities to deal with wild fire.

Climate Change And A Thirsty World

Floods came in abandon three months ago and destroyed properties including lives in parts of northern Ghana. Now flooded areas are dry up leaving the people on the breadline for clean drinking water as the flood waters dripped underground and percentage ran into polluted lakes, rivers and salted sea.
Studies on water situation in northern Ghana indicated the region is endowed with surface water and much less of groundwater resources. The area is relatively dry, with a single rainy season that begins June or July and ends October. Available surface water is about 1, 737 billion gallons per annum which is about 19% of the total annual national figure of 40 billion m3.
However, this amount is not available all year round as most of the rivers draining the region dwindle to hardly any or no flow in the dry season with only pockets of stagnant water remaining because of the high seasonal rainfall variation.
The region underlain by mainly the voltaian sedimentary geological formation which is generally perceived as not a good source of groundwater with low borehole success rate of about 53% according to the Ghana Hydrological Service Department.
Northern region has an estimated population rate of 2.8% according to the 2000 population and housing census. The implication is that population is steadily increasing but the water resources are not available throughout the year. This resulted in water rationing, created conflict for water among residents.
This also implies that there is growing demand for clean drinking water which is exacerbating the degradation of land and water resources as well as increasing conflict in water use.
Now with the advent of climate change the area is faced with severe water crisis. The rainfall patterns had changed and the people would not have privilege to meet their Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on water. Here comes a new way of conserving water-rainwater harvesting tank technology. The technology which is said to be unaffordable considering per capita income of the people is just one way of climate change mitigation or adaptation on water.
According to the 2000 population census, northern region had 1,820,806 people and the daily water available at the time was 2083 gallons per person.
The estimated 2010 census is 2,259800 and the daily water available is now reduced to 1,659 gallons per person, a reduction of 20% within ten years according to the authorities of Ghana Water Company.
The seriousness of this is that Ghana Water Company could not expand to cover almost every rural community. The bulk of the water managed is concentrated within urban cities leaving our rural folk grappling for clean drinking water.
 As result the region is grappling with guinea worm disease, a debilitating diseases that though could be eradicated but continue to stay despite actions by Ghana Health Service (GHS) and government of Ghana and Carter center.
The under ground waters are also said to be full of alkaline, fluoride, high chlorine content that makes its usage or consumption impossible. Most communities whose are forced to drink from these water sources and now suffering tooth decay and gum disease. Climate change had worsened the plight of these people leaving in breadline for clean drinking water.     
 In Some communities women and children have to trek for distance in search for cleaner water for house chores. they apparently have to compete with animals for the scare resource to make a living.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Aftermath of Durban conference: CARE demands immediate review of “Green Fund establishment”

Francis NpongAccra-Ghana,  Officials of CARE International are unhappy with the outcome of the just ended Climate
Mr. Baba Tuahiru addressing participants during the workshop
Change negotiation Conference (COP17) held in Durban, South Africaand demanded immediate review. According to the organization, though the parties agreed on the establishment of “Green Fund” at the last minutes before the end of COP17, the source(s) of the fund was/were not established.
This, CARE said would not only make the implementation of climate actions difficult but would render the ‘binding agreement’ in the Kyoto Protocolineffective. The organization however demanded immediate review to establish sources of funding to “Green fund” to finance effective climate change campaigns the world over.
A Coordinator of CARE Ghana, Mr. Baba Tuahiru who expressed the opposition of the organization was addressing experts and some members of civil society organizations operating in Ghana during a day’s workshop on climate change adaptation experiences in Ghana.
The workshop which was organized by “Building Capacity to meet the climate change challenge (B4C) project” being run by the University of Ghana in collaboration with CARE International Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), Ghana Wildlife Society, Centre for African Wetlands and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology held at the Centre for African Wetlands Auditorium at the University of Ghana reviewed the just ended COP17 and discussed climate challenges arising in Ghana.
Mr. Tuahiru stated that the feet dragging by developed countries to support by ratifying Kyoto Protocol document to make it binding to deal with climate change was unfortunate. “it is unfortunate that developed nations were unwilling to support Kyoto Protocol to make it binding on parties though they are aware the impacts of their activities on developing countries”, he said.
“To avoid blames, a green fund was established but there was no source(s) of funding and that will make the realization of that fund difficult”, he stressed. Climate Change, Mr. Tuahiru pointed out does not affect developed nations alone and that the economic meltdown in developed nations given rise to youth uprising was partly because of climate change. He however, urged developed nations to develop their own adaptation programmes, and integrate them into their development plans, build climate resilience projects to reduce the effects global warming their people.
He said that CARE was collaborating with a number of organizations in some African nationsto implementation Adaptation Learning Programme aimed at integrating climate change policies in people’s daily activities.
Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu of the University of Ghana addressing participants during the workshop
The University of Ghana’s B4C project Director Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu disclosed that the University of Ghana through B4C project would soon rollout climate change courses to build capacities of people in Africa to help cope with climate change effects.
She said the project would also support the first 15 students that enrolled into the programme as parts of the university’s plans to support the continent to cope with development challenges rises as a result of climate change. The institution Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu hinted would also undertake research to determine the level of climate change effects on livelihoods and development.
She appealed for partnership and collaboration to help them train human resources to build climate change resilience projects to support the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable within the Africa continent. Some of the topics discussed during the workshop includes building capacity for the climate change challenge B4C project, Climate change adaptation through integrated water resources management in the three northern regions of Ghana, lessons from conservation agriculture practices, climate change and health in Accra project, climate change and food security in the Afram Plains in Ghana , importance of technology in climate change adaptation and sharing information on water management systems and livelihoods project under the global water Initiative among other topics. The workshop also proposed capacity building for government and policy makers and implementers, building climate change resilience projects, integration of climate change into national development plans and programmes and equipping rural dwellers the necessary knowledge and technologies to improve agricultural practices, forestation and forest conservation and the use of efficient energy technologies as a way forward to the adaptation of climate change in Ghana.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Climate Change Campaign to be buried In Chicken And Beer again?

The Year is ending again but the world is still at a fix. National Economies are melting down, unemployment and economic hardship is soaring and governments being pull down. The youth the world over is at work defining their future as they undertake dangerous and life threatening actions. 
This is an indication that all is not well and the need to redefine leadership of countries. Another Christmas and new year events are here again. we undertook similarly or same festivities last year most which was COP16. COP16 actions were buried under Chrismas and new year events that crippled climate change campaign which picked up vigorously few weeks, no, months before the events.
The aromas in the kitchens, beers in the dinning rooms and clubs alas overshadowed climate change campaign cooling down radically the campaign that picked up and gathered momentum. Hey! stop there.

The climate change campaign was burried under beer and whisky during these festivities. The word green was conspiciously missing in the celebrations. Will that happens this year too?

I am sure if we were serious beings our celebration will be greener considering the trauma we went through as a result of climate change. Here i am referring to flooding that killed and destroyed, hunger and starvation put fears in us, water crisis and food insecurity that became topical issues during the year. Almost at the sametime last year we gathered at Cancun (COP16) as we did in Durban (COP17) this year in attempt to come out with green plans to salvage our planet from harm. Like COP16, we agreed to set up green fund however the setting of the fund do not have sources so where will that money come from for implementation of climate change actions?. This is yet another failed conference to me and we the members of the world should put bury our head in shame for failing ourselves again. what is happening? Well, as simple as personal interest, greed, power drunk, we still want to remain the way we were/are.

Our failures to tackle climate change means that we are ready for any natural or artificial calamities so be it stamped and sealed. 
My fears? Are we really committed to the fight against climate change? why are we not celebrating christmas and new year in green style?

This however keeps me wondering what human being is made of. when floods were wrecking properties we promised actions, when snow took over cities we promised action, where tornadoes swept riverbanks and killed people we promised action but when Christmas and new year came we buried these promises under beer and chicken.
I picked up the following disturbing events during last year's christmas and new year
1. At supper markets, plastic bags, rappers were distributed which ended up in a street
2. thousands of chickens, and other animals species lost their lives
3. the transport sector boomed during these period
4. there were mass production in all petroleum products
5. too much noise in cities hitting up the environment (micro-climate)
6. the consumption of fossil fuel had increased in word market leading to fuel price hike in Ghana 25 to 30 percent the government announced
7. there were no green christmas and new year messages from authorities
8. whiskys and beers were in short supply
9. condoms and Aphrodisiac were in hot demand
10. tens of thousands of marriages were celebrated
Hmmm? we seem to be glad doing what he love best.....
The word climate change was overshadowed by kitchen aromas. this however indicated how little or no concern we are to our environment. the above products got us crazy and lost in mind, totally forgotten about the future, cheers
Hurray go clubbing, hahahaha