Wednesday, 24 July 2013

AfDB enhances operational capacity to track climate finance in development projects


 

 

African Development Bank experts in energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, and forestry have begun hands-on training in Tunisia to implement a solid approach to track climate finance flows in Bank-funded development projects.

 

 

Climate finance concerns resources channeled by national, regional and international entities to support climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and programs. This new tracking approach allows implementing agencies to more effectively account for climate finance and also to increase accountability for climate action in development projects.

 

The climate finance tracking methodology is designed to bring greater transparency, accountability and reporting capacity to the use of climate finance. As increasingly significant amounts of climate finance are being mobilized globally, development partners have noted that existing tracking systems could be enhanced to embed transparency, accountability and capacity to track and report on climate finance flows, and unify tracking and reporting procedures across all multilateral development banks (MDBs). This new methodology is a significant milestone in the realm of climate finance, and supports:

 

•          Better project design by raising awareness about adaptation and mitigation at the conceptual and operational levels

•          Improved tracking and assessment of results as project components where climate change adaptation and mitigation benefits are identified ex-ante, at project approval stage

•          More transparent tracking and reporting of climate finance flows to all key stakeholders

•          Clearer tracking and accounting of donor pledges

 

The methodology has its roots in a 2011 agreement between MDB Vice-Presidents to develop such a joint approach. The AfDB led the efforts to develop the adaptation approach while contributing to the mitigation approach as well.

 

Through the process, each MDB committed to report annually on its previous year’s climate finance commitments and to continue to refine the Joint MDB tracking approaches through implementation. To support this, the AfDB is leading additional technical work to refine these approaches and has commissioned an independent technical analysis to review both the adaptation and mitigation approaches as well as their application to the AfDB 2012 portfolio.

 

In parallel, there are ongoing efforts with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to assess how the Rio Markers can be adjusted and improved upon based on the joint MDB approaches and an ongoing discussion with other bilateral agencies to facilitate their use of the joint approaches with a view to being part of the Joint MDB Climate Finance Annual Reports.

 

Lagos BRT Scheme: A project or flash in the pan?

The Bus Rail BRT system which was introduced in Lagos state under the Fashola administration was styled after the transport system in Brazil. Brazil is classed as developing country but with what I witnessed in one of the major cities I stayed, Sao-Paulo is well growing rapidly and more than just a developing city. The Brazil BRT system is well structured, compared to what we have in Lagos. There is not time for rowdiness much less interaction with fewer interactions with unwanted friends called co-passengers. The Brazil BRT has a convenient mode of payment; in the buses, there is an operator apart from the driver who sells ticket for those who don’t have an electronic ticket card. The card once loaded with money is swiped at the security entry point that indicates that the holder has paid for his/her transport fare for that trip.



The buses are designed with consideration for the elderly and people with disabilities as they can easily ride their wheel-chairs into the bus with little assistance. I noticed that there could be standing when necessary but it never got to a crisis point where as Late Fela Anikulapo put it "99 standing, 49 sitting". The seating and standing arrangements are as in the Lagos BRT but their own buses are not crowded to a point of inconvenience. A few times, i had a frolic ride in these buses simply for academic purpose particularly to compare their operations and work ethics with what am used to back home in Las-gidi.



In the wake of the Fashola Administration when the BRT bus system was introduced, among the lofty objectives we were told was to inculcate a culture of orderliness and decency in our commuting. As light shows, the day, the BRT buses came with the facade of decor and a new sense of direction. Lagos commuters welcome the lush buses and beautiful bus parks that sprang up here and there, complementing the governor's promise that the dawn of the mega city project has come.


Yes! Lagos residents, especially the 9-to-5workers need this new dawn. For many reason, at least, more buses on the road would reduce the unhealthy rush for transport during the morning and afternoon peak periods. While the glitz last, the BRT organisation had a workforce that could be described as cultured, perhaps because of they had initial training. The ticket sellers, drivers, and the park administrators with all intent and purposes were decent characters, at least, compared to how it had been before the BRT idea.

Without being an advocate, I know that if Lagosians were to talk about BRT staffers today, they are not the delictable lot they used to know. Some of the ticket sellers are in search of manners, coupled with their drivers and park administrators, attitude and decent conduct is a far cry to them. Someone once described some BRT ticket sellers as young in appearance but ancient in conduct.



Our BRT buses are not persons’ with disability compliant as the entrances are too high and a nightmare for a disabled person on a wheelchair to think of boarding. They are neither old people friendly as the waist of an old person can be dislocated in an attempt to climb those BRT buses.


The BRT buses were also introduced to reduce carbon emission from the transport sector as it is one of the sector that contribute to global carbon emission. The idea of the BRT buses was to encourage working class Lagosians to commute with the buses mainly at weekdays and use their cars at weekends as large car parks were constructed in some of the BRT terminals like Moshalasi in Surulere and Mile 12 terminals.


At inception of the BRT scheme it was a delight for many Lagosians to ride in these buses as public enlightenment was on local television stations to encourage its patronage.

This love is gradually eroding as the BRT buses are now assuming the status of the popular Lagos molue which the BRT scheme promises to replace. The buses are now overcrowded, the seats are worn out and in some cases have become accessories to make a passenger visit the orthopedic hospital because you could unknowingly sit and find yourself on the floor.

In its early days, the red-LAG-buses were air conditioned which made them attractive to corporate commuters and suited to our tropical weather condition, but soon this attraction was no more and these buses are now near-rickety.


Come to think of it, where do we place the blame for lack of continuity in project and Programme management in our society? Is poor maintenance an illness or a culture in our polity? What do leaders of other climes have that our leaders lack. When would the syndrome of one-step forward four steps back fade from our political landscape. If indeed, Lagos is nursing a mega city dream, a sustainable transportation system is a sine qui non.   

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

European Youth Press Trains Journalists on Data Journalism

The European Youth Press has started training journalists from Africa, Europe,Asia and Latin America aged 20-35 years on how to use data to report about the environment. 


The project titled Flag It kicked off in Sao-Paulo in May and the second leg just finished in Lagos Nigeria. 


 The journalists from    Nigeria,Brazil,Germany,Philippine,Romania,Latvia,Portugal where trained on how to use digital tools and application like google earth and map, every trail,crowd sourcing to report about the environment. 


There was a time when access to information was more for the elite. The social media has changed all that today,as news can now spread fast and to all classes of people, with follow -ups done in real time. Digital tools have also helped journalists to better play their role as watch dog of the society.

In Brazil for instance,it is assisting NGOs to track and monitor illegal activities in the Amazon region, such as bush burning and timber logging that causes deforestation etc.

According to the Project Manager Alessio Lupi, the training tagged “Flag-It” is aimed at training journalists on digital tools for environment reporting. He noted that “This way they will be better equipped on how to make great stories from data collected in the course of their works”.

Alessio added that funding for the project was from the European Union who are intrested in empowering young journalists and also encouraging social integration among them.

The trainer of the Project, Gustavo Faleiros, a Knight Science Journalist Fellow of the International Centre for Journalist, said data gathering and digital tools can help a journalist story be more creative and easy to interpret. Also that Data Journalism helps to authenticate stories and is the next phase of innovative journalism. 

He identified Phillip Meyer as the first to call journalists “data organizers” in 1967 and pointed out that a time will come when jounalists would be data banks of information.
Gustavo explained that through digital tools like google earth,crowd map,google fusion,every trail,etc journalists can get materials that will make their stories more credible.

In Sao-Paulo Brazil, they visited NGO like ISA:Instituto Socioambiantal that works with the indigenous people of Brazil to monitor deforestation and other illegal environmental activities,SOS and the Ibirapuera park. 


In Nigeria they visited the Nigeria Conservation Foundation NCF and the eroding Alpha Beach. At the conservation foundation, the participants went on a nature trail around the 78 hectares of land that is use to conserve endangering species of animals and plants. in the course of the trail, Gustavo the trainer urged them to use one of the data application to map there activities. 


When the participants visited the once bubbling Alpha beach community that used to be a tourist and fun seekers site, the traditional leader of the community Alhaji Atewolara Elegushi gave them an insight into how the community has continued to face increasing level of coastal erosion and ocean surge. According to him in the last three years, the community has lost about 20km of land to the Atlantic Ocean as it continues to surge towards the community. The only health enter in the community has since been abandoned as health workers fear for their lives believing the ocean will one day wash away the building.


The Flag it training will also take place in Philippine and Romania. 


Among the journalists, the best reporting using data digital tool will receive an all expense paid trip to Poland to cover the United Nation Summit on Climate Change in November. 

Makoko: Against all odds

One thing I have noticed during my visits to Makoko is that the people are ever smiling,lively,vibrant and they look well fed.

I also noticed that they look younger than their age. Alhaji Ibrahim Aladetan, a community leader in Makoko is eighty years old but you would take him for someone in his 50's.

A picture on the wall of his living room shocked me that the great-grand Pa celebrated his eightieth birthday in April.


When i put it to him that "Sir, you are eighty years. He smiled  And said to me; "Yes! my daughter, I have celebrated eighty but I still have more years to go. "I asked further; Sir, what is the secret of this long life and healthy look? He put it back to me this way, "Don't you know we are surrounded by sea-food?There is a lot of fresh fish in the Makoko water. Our fish market draws people from as far as Ondo,Edo and even Delta state.

I ate a lot of sea food and that has helped my health. My dear,sea food is good for you he advised.

Hmmm, I pondered. Another resident, Mr Bawo Ayeoshetienikan, a town planner by training but now a private school owner is fifty-nine years old. You would take him for someone in his early forties. He too attested to the fact that eating of fresh fish and the peaceful existence in Makoko community has helped his life. The lifestyle here is simple and far away from the hustle and bustle inside the main Lagos city. We are surrounded by nature; and nature is taking care of us as we are also taking care of nature.


I took a canoe ride round the waterfront, and met a group of women selling sea food. My desire was to find more facts about the unique environment of the Makoko riverine which has become a tonic for looking good. I engaged this women in a banter. You need to see how unperturbed they are about ordinary issues of life that would have made a wrech of an average Lagos city dweller. 


After a pang of laughter, they started returning answers to my inquiries; "we eat good food and have peace of mind here" said an elderly one among them". she continued "All these fish,crabs,crayfish and other sea food we catch from the water makeup what we feed our family with. There is always enough fish for everyone to eat in my family. Fish is good for the body. As if they have appointed her their spokesperson, all of them in lively mood were just saying yes! yes! yes!


The majority of people in Makoko waterfront community are into fish farming. Children in this community starts fishing from an early age as they follow their parents on major sea trips on a canoe.


It is common site in the waterfront to see children from age five, fishing with their nets. While one paddle the canoe, the other throws the net and believe there is a great catch in there net.


I didn't leave Makoko without my own share of the look-good secret. I bought almost a big basket full of assorted fresh fishes for 'guess-how much'? Do I hear you say gratification?


In the face of the Lagos state government, Makoko maybe one of those slums like defunct Maroko community but the resolve of these riverine dwellers to live a civil, law abiding and economically productive communal life, is a decision which other perceived slums in the metropolis of Lagos should emulate.


Makoko Lagoon Residents: Ingenious with water supply

In the course of my career as a normadic journalist, I have come to know many sub-urban communities in Lagos and a few other states in the country, whose developmental challenges are under-reported. Makoko community located in the old Yaba area on Lagos Mainland is one of the communities that makes my pen drips. My recent visit to this spectacular coastal community was to find answers to how a community surrounded by large body of water gets clean and potable water for household uses.


This community has always been in the news for different reasons and under different subject matters such as the threat of eviction,forceful demolition by government,protest against unlawful demolition, the controversial floating school and significantly as a thriving market for fresh fish and other seafoods.


In the area of good drinking water, many Lagos residents in both posh and slum communities know that it is a matter of water! water! water! everywhere but not a drop to drink. To them, that Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria is surrounded by Lagoon, sea and ocean is a blessing that is yet to manifest in reality of potable water supply. It is either you patronize sachet water popularly known as "pure water" which sells for a paltry #5.00, or you buy bottle water which is perceived as one of the social status markers.



All this points to the fact that the water you see all around "Las-Gidi", another name for Lagos is not available to the everyday people because only a few are blessed to have their water supply from the state water corporation or fortunate to drill a borehole  and thus become "oga at the top" in terms of water supply.


So, now to Makoko community that has over one million population, according to one of the Baales in the area, Alhaji Ibrahim Aladetan, "for those living between the land and the waterfront area of Makoko, the water they get from underground borehole is not clean enough for consumption". The water, he explained, is polluted and has taste and can only be used for washing and other domestic chores but not good for drinking.


"There is water close to Adekunle bridge (a neighboring community) but it is not easy channeling and laying pipes to bring it down to our community. Here, we buy drinking water from water retailers who come with water tankers or we buy sachet water to drink", Alhaji Aladetan explained.


In the course of my several visits to this riverine rural settlement, I have come to see three different styles of settlers in Makoko. There are the Makoko residents on dry land, bordered by Sabo an urban community, there is another Makoko settlers that live in-between the land and the Lagoon and also there is the other Makoko settlers who live on the Lagoon.


But for the Makoko people living on the Lagoon, potable water supply is a different story of fortune. A  Baale in this community said they have clean and potable water both to drink and for other domestic chores. This he attributed to concerted business efforts of his people. According to him they found a way out by drilling boreholes right on the Lagoon. He took me round to see this ingenious act. It was impossible for me to count the number of boreholes with clean drinking water on the Lagoon but the Baale told me there are about thirty.


"We have enough water in the waterfront area and people come from other riverine communities in Takwabay,Apapa,Amuwo-Odofin to buy water from us" The borehole that we drilled in the river is very clean and water is not a problem for us here,he said. Another ingenious act by the members of this community is the networking of pipes inside the Lagoon to distribute water to the different various tankers where residents from the waterfront come to purchase clean drinkable water produced from the Lagoon based boreholes.


My guess is as good as yours! I wonder why those who live on land would have polluted  water and those who live on salt-based Lagoon have clean drinking water. What a vis-major!


A resident in the Makoko on-land Mr. Bawo Aye said they once had officials from the government who came and collected water samples from there areas but never returned with the results of there water test. Even though they didn't return to tell us there finding, those of us living in this area know that our water is polluted and we don't drink it. It has taste and odour, that is not a good quality water. We depend on water tankers that sell to us and that is what we drink. But it is sad that we are surrounded by water and still can't find clean water to drink, he lamented.



Monday, 8 July 2013

CACOL CONDEMNS YOBE KILLINGS, TASKS FG WITH SECURITY



The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has condemned the killing of some students and a teacher of a secondary school in Yobe State in an attack by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect.

Reacting to the news, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition, Debo Adeniran, condemned the killing of the innocent pupils and called on the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to rise up to the security challenges in this country.  

“The senseless destruction of lives and properties by the Boko Haram insurgents and other militant groups has called for urgent action from well-meaning Nigerians. It is an act of cruelty for the Boko Haram members to unleash such terror on defenseless students. The murder of these pupils and their teacher is highly condemnable and unpardonable. The perpetrators of the heinous crime must be brought to book as soon as possible,” Adeniran said.

Furthermore, Comrade Adeniran said that the attacks by Boko Haram and other militant groups on the country is a clear indication of system failure as the government has failed the mass of Nigerian people.
He said, “Boko Haram is a clear indication of system failure as the governments at all levels have failed woefully. There is high level of political exclusion; and the poverty rate in the country is scary. This is a country where two-thirds of the population lives below poverty line; majority of Nigerians are disempowered. The government at all levels care less about the plight of the masses. What else do you expect from the deprived? The government must see Boko Haram beyond the Islamic extremists that are bent on islamising the nation. It is worthy to note that the Boko Haram are more than the religious bigots that the government portrays them to be. The killings of several Muslims since the beginning of this insurgency attest to this.

The government should be true to itself and accept the fact that Boko Haram is a result of the socio-economic deprivation of the northern part of the country over the years. The Federal Government should also realize that several other regions in Nigeria are angry with it, hence it should begin the process of convoking the conference of the people to address the myriads of challenges bedeviling this nation or it would be courting a bloody revolution in no distant time.”

Stop IITA from Tampering with our Cassava, ERA/FoEN Tells FG


The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the Federal Government to stop the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and other groups fronting for big agribusinesses and biotechnology companies from tampering with Nigeria’s cassava.
ERA/FoEN made the call on the heels of the announcement last week, by Harvest plus, an organisation with strong links to the IITA that it had started the distribution of 10 million vitamin A cassava stems imported from Brazil to 15 million farmers across Nigeria.
Country director of the Ibadan-based Harvest plus, Dr. Paul Ilona, while delivering lorry loads of the cassava specie to farmers in Ihiala Local Government Council Area of Anambra State, said that Anambra is one of the pilot states that will receive at least three million cassava stems, which will be distributed to farmers in all the local councils in the 2013 planting season.
 Ilona had revealed that the vitamin “A” cassava species originated from Brazil with ten million tons of the cassava stems planned for distribution in six selected states in the six geographical zones of Nigeria between now and October.
But ERA/FoEN, in a statement issued in Lagos, described the development as “completely absurd”, saying the distribution of the so-called Vitamin A cassava imported from Brazil violated the rights of Nigerian farmers and the Nigerian citizenry to choice of what to grow or eat.
"This development is a rude shock. It is an affront that IITA and its front groups are all masquerading on behalf of big agribusinesses and the biotechnology industry to supplant local staples in favour of foreign ones in the name of enriched vitamins. Tampering with cassava which we have self-sufficiency in producing is the height of attempts by IITA and its allies to colonise what we grow and eat in the guise of enriched food vitamin that merely promotes food dependency, said ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Godwin Ojo.
“Nigerians will want to know which government agency gave the permission for the importation and distribution of the Vitamin A cassava. This slap on the face of Nigerians is a grand illusion and a replay of the Golden Rice hoax of 1999 which was offered by the biotech industry as the remedy for Vitamin A deficiency (VAD). That product turned out to be a comic contraption as it was discovered that the average adult would need to eat up to 9 kg of the Golden Rice a day for the required intake of vitamin A which mere two carrots can provide. Sadly, here we go again”
 Ojo said the distribution of the Vitamin A cassava without popular consent has again reinforced ERA/FoEN demand that Nigeria’s biosafety laws are weak and must be opened up for debate with critical stakeholders such as farmers, representatives from non-governmental organizations and consumers, making input.
“Nigeria is already the highest producer of cassava. Allowing the IITA to tamper with the crop is the surest way of ceding our food sovereignty to multinational companies whose modus operandi is to maintain a vice-like grip on our farmers strictly for profits and controlling what we eat. The government must compel Harvest plus to recall distributed so-called vitamin A cassava stems and halt further distribution. Anything short of this is unacceptable”, Ojo stated.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

MDG's, Basics of Life and Leaders of Developing Countries.




In the last eighteen months I have been opportuned to travel to twelve countries in Africa,the Middle-East, America, Latin America and Europe. That I travelled is not the issue but what I witnessed in terms of development and quality of life of people in the countries that i visited.


When World leaders gathered in the year 2000 and decided to achieve an eight point millennium development goals to improve the quality of life of people around the world,one wonders if they considered the factor of unequal pace of development and the different styles of leadership in various countries.

The fact remains that the quality of life which is measured in the human index scale is higher in Europe than other parts of the world. This is quite evident as basic amenities that make life comfortable are available for the people in Europe.


Water,Electricity,Health,Education,availability of food,good road network,fundamental human rights amongst others are key in improving the lives of people across the world. But these listed indices are dreams and what people in developing countries believe would be possible only in paradise.


That Hypertension has been identified as a common ailment among urban dwellers in Africa is due to the series of struggles the people go through daily in order to have the basics for living a good life. What then is the role of government in these countries where their people are far from being at par with citizens from developed and functional societies?


It is not news that most corrupt leaders embezzle public funds which they stash in foreign accounts to buy choice properties, give their children foreign education, go abroad for leisure and health treatment to the detriment of their citizens' welfare.

The global statistics for maternal and child mortality,gender discrimination and domestic violence,deaths arising from water and sanitation are high in these countries where the leaders have continued to siphon public funds for personal use.

I will therefore recommend that the United Nations review the possibility of achieving the MDGs by 2015, to include sanctions for the embezzlement of public funds meant for development as a crime against humanity with the perpetrators jailed and made to pay for making development a mirage.

With this, the goal of achieving development or near-equal-development among nations of the world can increase considerably.

Not only should war crime for genocide be prosecuted but crime against humanity such as embezzlement of development funds, which daily diminishes the quality of life of millions around the world,whose leaders are grandiose spendthrift.

Can you imagine the turn around effect on health, education, and environment, if people have access to water,electricity, and good network of roads?

These basics would drastically reduce unemployment and those who chose to be unproductive would be identified in the society, unlike the present situation where willing souls could not get jobs and those unwilling to work hide under the umbrella of social unemployment.

The availability of power would also create more jobs and boost businesses, just as access to water and sanitation would reduce diseases. And education for the girl-child would give our future women opportunity to make informed decisions.

What more can man ask for than for the resources of the people to be judiciously used to bring about development and ensure quality of life.