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Africa Day 25th May 2016- Celebrating it with a Tomas Sankara Quote!

Thomas-Sankara-discourant

To a rally of several thousands people in Ouagadougou commemorating African Liberation Day on 1986 Thomas Sankara said “ “Explained in this way, our struggle for the trees and for forests is first and foremost a democratic and popular struggle. Because a handful of forestry engineers and experts getting themselves all worked up in a sterile and costly manner will never accomplish anything! Nor can the worked-up consciences of the multitude of forums and institutions–sincere and praiseworthy though they may be–make the sahel green again, when we lack the funds to drill wells for drinking water a hundred meters deep, while money abounds to drill oil wells three thousand meters deep! As Karl Marx said, those who live in a palace do not think about the same things, nor in the same way, as those who live in a hut. This struggle to defend the trees and forests is above all a struggle against imperialism. Because imperialism is the arsonist setting fire to our forests and our savannas”

Africa Day

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Press Release: AfDB approves US $76.7-million for Uganda’s agriculture programme (20.01.2016)

Green-Economies-Africa-rpt

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US $76.7-million loan to finance phase two of the Uganda Farm Income Enhancement and Forestry Conservation Programme (FIEFOC-2).

The programme, which was commended by the AfDB Board on Wednesday, January 20 for its good design and high-impact development objectives, comprises agriculture infrastructure and agribusiness development activities as well as an integrated natural resources management scheme aimed to consolidate and expand key achievements of its predecessor (phase one), which was completed in December 2012.

Designed within the context of Uganda’s National Development Plan and long-term development strategy – the Vision 2040 – the Project focuses on improving farm incomes, rural livelihoods, food security and climate resilience. It will also support sustainable natural resources management and agricultural enterprise development.

500px-Uganda_Regions_map

In 2013, about 19.7% of the population, or 6.7 million people, were unable to meet their basic needs, according to a Uganda National Household Survey, which also disclosed that the incidence of poverty was highest among the food-crop growing category in the rural areas due to low income. Thus, the programme seeks to increase production and farmer incomes through improvements and expansion of irrigation schemes, development of agribusiness and adoption of sustainable land, forest, and water management practices and technologies to generate income from natural resources.

The programme will be implemented over a five-year period in five districts – Nebbi, Oyam, Butaleja, Kween, and Kasese – where irrigation schemes are located. The districts have an estimated 1.8 million population, 52% of them women. It will also benefit 300,000 households of which 20% are female-headed outside the irrigation command areas, by introducing or improving soil-conservation measures in the catchments feeding the irrigation schemes.

Furthermore, the project is expected to provide technical skills in conservation and other farming practices that promote environmental management and thereby increasing agricultural productivity in the project areas. It will also assist in the formulation and implementation of measures that reduce deforestation and promote agro-forestry which will lead to emission reduction and the protection of carbon reservoirs as part of the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) agenda. Carbon dioxide (CO2) to be sequestered in 20 years through tree-planting is estimated at 245,000. Training under the project will provide an opportunity for special attention to be given to intensification of climate-smart farming operations.

The project is anchored on the Bank’s Country Strategy for Uganda (2011-2016), which focuses on infrastructure development and increased agriculture productivity as well as human capacity improvement and skills development for poverty reduction. It is also in line with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022) and High 5s, which prioritize agriculture and food security as one of the key areas for the Bank’s future assistance.

The total cost of the project is estimated at US $91.43 million. In addition to the US $76.7-million AfDB loan, the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) will provide a US $5.6-million grant while the Government of Uganda will contribute US $9.13 million in counterpart funding.

Press Release: African Countries Launch AFR100 to Restore 100 Million Hectares of Land (05.12.2015)

Green-Economies-Africa-rpt

Commitments from 10 countries announced at the Global Landscapes Forum

PARIS (December 6, 2015)—African countries launched AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative), a pan-African, country-led effort to restore 100 million hectares (386 thousand square miles) of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030. The AFR100 target of 100 million hectares has been endorsed by the African Union. So far 10 African countries have agreed to join AFR100 and committed at least 31.7 million hectares of land for forest landscape restoration. AFR100 partners are earmarking more than USD $1 billion in development finance and more than $540 million in private sector impact investment to support restoration activities.

The announcement was made during the Global Landscapes Forum at the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, where forest landscape restoration is a key ingredient of the global movement to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Commitments made through AFR100 build on significant climate pledges made by many African countries to support a binding global climate agreement.

“Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity,” said Dr. Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources in Rwanda. “With forest landscape restoration we’ve seen agricultural yields rise and farmers in our rural communities diversify their livelihoods and improve their well-being. Forest landscape restoration is not just an environmental strategy, it is an economic and social development strategy as well.”

For the first time, AFR100 brings together political leadership with an ambitious package of financial and technical resources to support a large-scale forest landscape restoration effort across Africa. Nine financial partners and 10 technical assistance providers have pledged support, led by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency), Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and World Resources Institute (WRI).

“The scale of these new restoration commitments is unprecedented,” said Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Green Belt Movement and daughter of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. “I have seen restoration in communities both large and small across Africa, but the promise of a continent-wide movement is truly inspiring. Restoring landscapes will empower and enrich rural communities while providing downstream benefits to those in cities. Everybody wins. ”

Countries that have agreed to join the AFR100 initiative include:

• Democratic Republic of Congo | 8 million hectares
• Ethiopia | 15 million hectares
• Kenya | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Liberia | 1 million hectares
• Madagascar | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Malawi | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Niger | 3.2 million hectares
• Rwanda | 2 million hectares
• Togo | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Uganda | 2.5 million hectares

AFR100 builds on the climate commitments made by African countries. So far, 13 of the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) submitted by African countries include restoration, conservation of standing forests, or “climate-smart” agriculture. According to WRI analysis, following through on the commitments would cumulatively reduce emissions by 1.2 Gt CO2eq over the next 10 years, or 36 percent of Africa’s annual emissions and 0.25 percent of global emissions.

“Restoration is really Africa’s gift to the world,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute. “As the world forges a climate agreement in Paris, African countries— which bear the least historic responsibility for climate change– are showing leadership with ambitious pledges to restore land. These countries are well on their way to meet the goal of restoring 100 million hectares of land, which will help sequester carbon and bring economic benefits to low-income, rural communities. These African leaders are turning their words into action and making a real contribution to respond to the global threat of climate change.”

AFR100 recognizes the benefits that forests and trees can provide in African landscapes: improved soil fertility and food security, greater availability and quality of water resources, reduced desertification, increased biodiversity, green jobs, economic growth, and increased capacity for climate change resilience and mitigation. Forest landscape restoration has the potential to improve livelihoods, especially for women. For example, 20 years ago, women in southern Niger spent an average of 2.5 hours daily collecting firewood, which was scarce in the degraded landscape. Now they prune on-farm trees saving two hours a day, time that can be spent on other income generating activities.

Commitments announced through AFR100 also support the Bonn Challenge, a global target to bring 150 million hectares of land into restoration by 2020 adopted in Germany in 2011, the New York Declaration on Forests that extends that challenge to 350 million hectares by 2030, and the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI), an initiative to promote integrated landscape management with the goal of adapting to and mitigating climate change. With these new partners, the Bonn Challenge process has surpassed the 100 m hectare mark, on track to meet its goal well ahead of the 2020 target date.

AFR100 builds on a strong tradition of successful forest landscape restoration in Africa. In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, local communities have already restored over 1 million hectares, making the land more drought-resistant. In Niger, farmers have increased the number of on-farm trees across 5 million hectares of agricultural landscapes, improving food security for 2.5 million people. AFR100 will provide a forum for countries and communities to share knowledge and resources to achieve restoration at a greater scale.

“We know that restoration works for Africa. We’ve seen it work in countries as diverse as Malawi, Ethiopia, and Mali,” said Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD and former Prime Minister of Niger. “But we need to scale up restoration across the whole continent- more than 700 million hectares of land in Africa have potential for restoration. AFR100 provides a platform to work together more effectively to accelerate the achievement of restoration successes to benefit tens of millions of people who are currently searching for ways to adapt to climate change and improve their well-being.”

AFR100 will help to translate ambitious commitments into action with support from private sector investors, foundations, development banks, and bilateral and multilateral funders. AFR100 will leverage a variety of financing, including grants, equity investments, loans, risk management guarantees and funds for specific interventions.

So far, AFR100 partners have set forth over USD $1 billion of development financing:

  • World Bank: USD $1 billion in investment in 14 African countries by 2030, as part of the Africa Climate Business Plan to support Africa’s climate resilient and low carbon development
  • Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is providing support for the development of the AFR100 initiative

Impact investors have already earmarked USD $546.5 million for restoration under AFR100:

  • Ecoplanet Bamboo: USD $175 million by 2020
  • Sustainable Forest Investments – Netherlands: USD $150m by 2030
  • Terra Global Capital: USD $100 million by 2030
  • Green World Ventures: USD $65 million by 2020
  • Moringa Partnership: USD $56.5 million by 2030
  • NatureVest (impact investment arm of the Nature Conservancy)
  • Permian Global

Through AFR100, we expect to trigger one of the largest investments in forest landscape restoration the world has ever seen,” said H.E. Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany. “This investment is vital for empowering local communities to scale up the inspiring restoration successes we’ve seen in Africa over the last decade.”

In addition to new financing, a coalition of organizations will provide technical assistance on a wide range of activities, including the mapping of restoration opportunities, securing further financing, and implementing restoration efforts on the ground. Partners include World Resources Institute (WRI), Clinton Foundation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), Kijani, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency), The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (LPFN), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The Greenbelt Movement.

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