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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ghana will lose out if it fails to pass Plant Breeders Rights Bill – researchers

Local farmers and others in the agricultural value chain need new technologies to boost food production and add value to produce.

This is important to ensure higher income earnings for agriculturists and food security for the economy.

Ghanaian agricultural researchers and scientists however want protection for their intellectual property in developing new technologies and crop varieties.

They have therefore been pushing for the Plant Breeders Rights Bill to be passed by Parliament.

The bill was one of the most contentious issues of public discuss in 2014 – some groups, including the peasant farmers association, argued against passage of the bill, saying it will not be in their best interest.

But advocates for the bill want it passed as soon as possible.

Dr. Hans Adu-Dapaah, the immediate past Director of the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has been championing passage of the bill.

According to him, there have been series of engagements to explain the intent of some clauses in the bill which have been contested by interest groups.

Dr. Adu-Dapaah is worried the country will lose out when local plant breeders are not protected.

“We want the farmers to adopt the technologies we have developed because without it we are losing out,” he said. “All the materials we have developed now because of WAAPP, our neighbors have access to the materials and if we do not protect them, they get it and protect it and we will be at the losing end”.

Under the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), countries specialize in developing crops of comparative advantage for adoption by other countries. New technologies are put in a common basket for accessibility, in a bid to enhance integration and collaboration of agricultural research activities in the sub-region.

In Ghana, priority crops under the first phase of the ten-year project focused on root and tubers – mainly yam, cocoyam, sweet potato and cassava.

“I’m praying that parliament passes it as early as possible,” expressed Dr. Adu-Dapaah.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ghanaian scientists edge up with GM rice trials

Researchers in Ghana say they are recording favourable outcomes in the trials of genetically modified (GM) rice in the country.

The confined field trials started in April 2013 at Nobewam in the Ashanti region, after receiving approval from the National Biosafety Committee (NBC).

The fourth successive experiment of the Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) rice is being conducted by the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Principal Investigator, Dr. Maxwell Asante, says the project has already identified a lead event which will give at least a 15percent yield advantage over non-GM version of the planted rice.

“If the lead event is confirmed, we will request for permission from the NBC to allow it to be grown by farmers in Ghana after testing. The genes that make the GM rice nitrogen-use efficient will then be transferred to other varieties in Ghana through conventional breeding methods,” he stated.

There is strong opposition to the introduction of GM crops in Ghana’s food production chain.

Biosafety advocate, Albert Aubyn, however says there is no cause for worry with the current trials, noting that field activities are strictly in conformity with regulative measures.
“Not until the experiment has proved that it is safe for humans to use, what we do is that we make sure that in this case of rice, pollen doesn’t flow out to pollinate other related crops,” he said.

Ghana spends over $500million annually in rice importation, in addition to huge foreign exchange in the importation of other food items.

“Biotechnology is cutting-edge technology that can help us in our quest to improve food security,” said Dr. Stella Ennin, Director of the CSIR-CRI. “Fertilizer is very necessary for our plants, yet the cost is so high and our farmers cannot afford it; so we are going around the system to find varieties that can produce a good crop of rice with minimum nitrogen fertilizer applied and we are using the science of GMO.”

The next set of experiment will involve the evaluation of the triple-stack gene rice plants to identified lead events in nitrogen-use efficiency, water-use efficiency and salt tolerant genetically modified rice – dubbed “NEWEST Rice”.

This will especially help farmers deal with the effects of climate change and expand rice cultivation to areas previously not supported.

Ghana’s GM or NEWEST Rice is projected to go commercial within the next three to five years.

Three confined field trials of rice, cowpea and cotton are currently being evaluated in Ghana in compliance with the Biosafety Act 2011, Act 831, which regulates GMOs.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Microfinance industry to consolidate recovery process in 2015

There is stability in Ghana’s microfinance industry, according to the sector Association.

Operational and liquidity challenges, over the past three years, led to the collapse of some companies and depositors losing their funds.

The Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies (GAMC) however says there is stability in the microfinance industry, though the storm has not finally settled.

“In our records 2014, we wouldn’t say we even lost a company and so we can say that we closed the year very well,” observed Collins Amponsah-Mensah, National Chairman of GAMC.

The turbulent period of 2012 and 2013 left over 60 firms collapsing.

GAMC has therefore been working with the Bank of Ghana to facilitate a recovery process.

Mr. Amponsah-Mensah told LuvBiz that 2015 will be a year of consolidation in training and capacity building, strengthening of institutional structures as well as encouraging share floatation, mergers and acquisitions.

The proposed establishment of a deposit security insurance scheme is also expected to protect the saving public against losing their funds in times when financial intermediaries go into distress.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ghana will meet cocoa production targets, says LBC

Licensed buying companies say the business of cocoa purchases was generally slow in 2014.

The industry players are however optimistic business will pick up gradually before closure of the main crop season.

“When you have a bounty harvest the previous year, the following year is likely to be a bit slow,” explained Emmanuel Arthur, Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo Company Limited, a Ghanaian farmer-based organization.

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has projected a production target of 850,000 metric tonnes for the 2014-2015 cocoa crop season.

The upward review of the producer price of cocoa and premium payments for certified cocoa beans are factors expected to motivate farmers to boost production.

“The season being slow does not mean we are not getting the cocoa but it is not as brisk and as bountiful as it used to be, but it is likely we can meet target,” stated Mr. Arthur.

He has also observed that the 62 percent increase in producer price of cocoa announced in October 2014 is attracting a lot more people to venture cocoa farming.

“People are now rehabilitating their farms and trying to put up new farms; people are now going back to the hinterlands looking for their lands which they abandoned,” Mr. Arthur noted. “I believe that if we will be very brave and be marching our local price against the world market price, especially anytime it goes up, then I believe a lot of people will go into cocoa farming”.

Improved port activities will also enhance haulage of cocoa beans for export, he added.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Biomedical lab practice in Ghana impeded by two challenges

The practice of biomedical laboratory services in Ghana is confronted with two major challenges, according to the professional group promoting best practices.

These are the delayed launch of three National Health Laboratory Policy documents and the stoppage of the Health Services Workers Union (HSWU) dues deductions by the Comptroller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD).

The new leadership of the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists (GABMLS) has therefore set out to get the challenges addressed as soon as possible.

“In our pursuit to becoming an autonomous labour union, we have the arduous task of dealing with the intransigence of the HSWU leadership who are happily riding on the backs of some of our own members to frustrate our efforts at stopping the HSWU dues deduction by the CAGD. This unfortunate development sought to make nonsense of our claim of dis-affiliation in the sight of our membership”, said GABMLS President, Thomas Kwabena Gyampomah.
He cites the occupation of a new office complex for the Association’s National Secretariat in Accra as one of the successes in the past year.

“The advocacy roles of GABMLS for the smooth start of the Doctor of Medical Laboratory Sciences program in the University Development Studies (UDS), Tamale; the issuance of professional practice Certificates and Licenses to most applicants by the Allied Health Professions Council; and the development of the draft technical Legislative Instrument (LI) are worthy success marks chalked,” he noted.

The Association has set new objectives and priorities to meet the aspirations of the profession and its members within the next two years.

“We have committed ourselves to implementing innovative policies, programs and activities that will project the Association to greater heights,” said Mr. Gyampomah.

The Association will improve its online presence, introduce an overseas GABMLS group and establish new groupings to complement the work of statutory committees.

“We have already started collaborative engagements with the Allied Health Professions Council to sanitize the system and for the promotion of professional ethics and standards,” said the President.

Members have been urged to “make sure we maintain the highest and strictest professional codes and ethics of medical laboratory practice as we seek to provide quality medical laboratory services to our citizenry and the world”.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Action 2015 momentum builds to end poverty and inequalities

Ghana needs to redouble efforts if the country is to achieve targets set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The year 2015 marks the end of set targets of the MDGs, which test a country’s human rights’ credentials and values.

Non-governmental organizations want government to increase the momentum in poverty reduction, fight against climate, inequality and support services.

Abibimman Foundation and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP-Ghana) are pushing the “Action 2015 of ensuring generations are able to lead good and dignified lives enriched with opportunity.

Though Ghana has showed its leadership capability in reducing extreme poverty by half ahead of 2015, a lot of people still live in poverty, observed Kenneth Nana Amoateng, Chief Executive Officer of Abibiman Foundation.

“If Government fails to take bold decisions to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality, am afraid the MDGs will not be achieved. Every government policy should have a lasting impact in addressing poverty. No excuse will be enough if Ghana fails to achieve the MDGs targets,” he said.

He believes government has the opportunity to chart a new course of equity, environmental sustainability, social justice and human rights enjoyment and dignity for all.

“There should be a radical demonstration of will power and commitment to fight poverty, inequality and make the MDGs a reality. Climate change drives poverty, vulnerability and inequality that disproportionately affects women, children, vulnerable communities and nations that are the least responsible for the crisis”, said Nana Amoateng.

He has also called for a strict regulation with usage of land as the issue of land for farming has become a major problem for farmers in recent times.

“Land meant for farming must be solely used for that purpose. It is sad that some lands which should be used for farming are now being used estate development,” he emphasised.

Governments must also guarantee food sovereignty by investing in small-scale sustainable agriculture and enact and fully implement laws that protect women, children and people of different sexual orientation from discrimination.

The NGOs are also demanding just governance, transparency and accountability at both the public and private sectors of the State, while acknowledging that the need for civil society live up to these tenets.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh 

Ghana needs selfless leaders to push economy forward, Rev. Asante

Selfless leadership is what Ghana needs to push the economy to greater heights, says Rev. Robert Asante, Head Pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in Kumasi.

For the many Ghanaians who trooped in to 31st watch night services to usher in the New Year, 2015 should be a year of good tidings and economic turnaround.

Rev. Asante in an interview with Luv Fm on New Year’s Day, noted that such expectations can be fulfilled when people in authority perform their duties devoid of greed.

“Service must go with selflessness,” he stated. “Leadership is actually to serve; to make life better for those that are led, so any leadership that lords it over those that are led is not the leadership from God”.

According to him, the generality of the population will enjoy a better life if political, corporate and religious leaders of the country decide to serve “because we have enough resources to make everyone feel better.”

Rev. Asante outlined the Church’s commitment to human development to ensure “everyone in this church is helped to unearth their potentials and get to where God wants them to be.”

Grace Baptist Church supports members and other within the local community with educational scholarships and grants for vocational training and apprenticeship.

“We want to get to a point where the Church take care of everyone who comes here and is financially handicapped to go through school or to be equipped with skills so that they can start their own businesses,” said the Head Pastor.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Travel: A healthy city engulfed in courtesy

Going to Lima, Peru for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP20) was part of my package for emerging winner of the 2014 African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards.

The stress of journeying from West African to Southern America was subdued by my eagerness to experience, for the first time, the process of the climate change negotiations at the COP20. It was an opportunity for me to appreciate the road to reaching a climate deal at COP21 in Paris 2015.

Observing the negotiation process as a journalist was generally insightful.  It was great to see the African groups working in unison to achieve a common goal of seeking climate justice for local communities and farmers on the continent.

Most critical issues included the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), climate finance, mitigation and adaption.

I was also fortunate to have worked with a team of journalists under the Pan-African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) who put hands on deck to efficiently highlight the African perspective of the climate change talks.

The outcomes of the climate talks were not satisfactory to all parties but had intrigues – angry campaigners, street marchers and pledges to the green climate fund.

What perhaps endeared the hearts of many the people who were in Lima – aside the talk for climate justice – was the humanity in the average Peruvian.

From Lima to Marcona, the welcoming smile of the Peruvians offered some warmth to the visitor – always ready to lend a hand (without any expectation or demand for a tip) and willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of the stranger.

The greenery and cleanliness of the city of Lima is as refreshing as the respect accorded by its citizens.

I was thrilled by the humility, hospitability and humanity of the people of Peru and inspired to be of great service to others back home in Ghana and anywhere I find one in need of help.

God bless Peru!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Negotiating climate vulnerable lives – from Lima to Paris

The 20th Session of the UN Conference of Parties (COP20) mobilized more than 100,000 people in Lima, Peru, on the fight against climate change.

As the 12-day climate negotiations peak, local communities and environmental activities from diverse countries and cultures took to the streets of Lima to calling for real climate action.

After two weeks of intense activity, COP20 was able to mobilize and create awareness in citizens about the effects of climate change in the world.

The over 190 negotiating nations concluded by elaborating the elements of the new agreement, scheduled to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, while also agreeing the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement during the first quarter of next year.

But countries in Africa were not enthused with the process of building climate resilient economies.

Kofi Adu Domfeh reports on the African negotiation process at the COP20.

Find audio link…

Saving forests through community reforestation

Ghana’s forest areas have over the years being under the threat of illegal chainsaw activities.

But a new reforestation initiative has shown a high potential to be an alternative and legal source of livelihood and income generation to erstwhile illegal chainsaw operators and lumber carriers.

The pilot plantation development project is happening in some forest districts in the Ashanti, Central and Eastern regions.

Kofi Adu Domfeh visited one of the project communities and filed this report.

Link to audio report...

Monday, December 15, 2014

No Justice in Lima Outcome – say climate justice activists

International and regional institutions and networks attending the climate change talks in Lima jointly issued a statement at the end of the conference.

They include the Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth International, Corporate Europe Observatory, LDC-Watch, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee

The groups believe the Lima process failed to deliver climate justice.

Read statement below:

The world faces a planetary emergency: climate change, caused by a system that puts the pursuit of profit above the needs of people and the limits of nature.

It is already devastating millions of people across the planet.

Climate science predicts we will soon breach critical tipping points and could be locked in to 4-5°C of warming with catastrophic impacts for us all.

The Lima Conference should have been a milestone that marked out how governments will take urgent action to tackle climate change and to support vulnerable people across the world to adapt to its locked in impacts.

The concrete demand was to set out how we would increase emission reductions from now until 2020, and set long term climate targets to make sure we limit temperature increase to below 1.5°C.

Therefore, climate targets need to keep us within the emissions budget, which should be shared based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and honor climate debt.

What we have seen in Lima is another in a series of yearly decisions that weaken international climate rules, failing people and the planet.

The pre-2020 mitigation pledges are unjust and weak and put us on track to breach 2°C of warming by mid-century. The promised increases in pledges didn’t materialise in 2014, nor was there a commitment to urgently revisit, revise, or review them.

Lima prepares us for an agreement in Paris that ignores the needs and rights of impacted people across the world by precluding binding commitments on finance, adaption, loss and damage and technology transfer.

This outcome fails to link the actions of countries with the technology and finance that is needed to enable people in the South to adapt and build resilience and deal with the loss and damage from the impacts of climate change, as well as to carry out mitigation actions without which the world will not reach the scale of transformation and just transition needed to limit temperature rise below 1.5 C degrees.

What was decided in Lima opens the possibility for every country to decide its own climate action going forward, with no reference to what science, people, and justice demand, and without a clear regulatory framework.

We saw politicians, especially those from the US, the EU and their allies, acting in the interest of big polluting corporations, determined to further deregulate the international climate change regime, fundamentally undermining the UN climate convention, by weakening the rules for developed countries, shifting responsibility to the South, and ignoring their legal and moral obligation to transfer finance and technology.

Leaving Lima we see that again a backdoor has been opened for the further expansion of the failed experiment of carbon markets.

Including, possibly carbon credits from forests and soil, which undermines communities' land rights and would be devastating to farmers and forest communities across the world whilst preventing the transformation we need.
The Peoples’ Summit and its march through the streets of Lima demanded the defence of Mother Earth, and the guarantee of rights of all peoples, of all genders. It presented a clear vision for solutions to the climate crisis, and for alternatives to its causes.

People across the world are taking up these alternatives and fighting to transform the system. We are struggling for survival and for the safety and security of our homes and livelihoods from climate disasters.

We are fighting for a transformation of energy systems, away from fossil fuels, towards access to decentralised, renewable, safe, community controlled energy systems for all. We are defending our food sovereignty and expanding agro-ecological solutions, whilst struggling to adapt to the devastating consequences of locked in climate change. Just as community-based forestry programs work in the interest of people, particularly indigenous peoples, instead of bankers and financial capital in the North.

People are building power - at local, national and global level. We continue to put more people on the street, to block mines, ports, corporate offices – and our strength is growing, as is our power.

We will reclaim power from those who don't act in our interests. We will resist the imposition of a ‘global climate deal’ that does nothing for the climate and even less for people.

They tried to bury us here in Lima, but we are seeds, and we will grow into a forest of resistance.

Lima Call for Climate Action puts World on Track to Paris 2015

The 20th Session of the UN Conference of Parties (COP20) mobilized more than 100,000 people on the fight against climate change.

Peru received more than 14,000 visitors from abroad and nearly 80,000 citizens attended Voices for the Climate in the 12 days.

After two weeks of intense activity, COP20 mobilized a large number of people gathered in Lima to be part of the international event that brings together representatives from governments, civil society, business and authorities from 195 countries.

COP20 was able to mobilize and create awareness in citizens about the effects of climate change in the world, and especially in Peru.
More than 400 conferences in which new research projects and initiatives were presented were organized.

At the end of the event, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) issued the statement below:

Lima Call for Climate Action puts World on Track to Paris 2015

A new 2015 agreement on climate change, that will harness action by all nations, took a further important step forward in Lima following two weeks of negotiations by over 190 countries.

Nations concluded by elaborating the elements of the new agreement, scheduled to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, while also agreeing the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement during the first quarter of next year.

These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will form the foundation for climate action post 2020 when the new agreement is set to come into effect.

During the two week 20th Conference of the Parties, countries also made significant progress in elevating adaptation onto the same level as action to cut and curb emissions.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the Minister of the Environment of Peru and the COP President, said ”Lima has given new urgency towards fast tracking adaptation and building resilience across the developing world—not least by strengthening the link to finance and the development of national adaptation plans.

“Meanwhile here in Lima, governments have left with a far clearer vision of what the draft Paris agreement will look like as we head into 2015 and the next round of negotiations in Geneva,” he said.

The Lima Climate Conference achieved a range of other important outcomes and decisions and "firsts" in the history of the international climate process.
Pledges were made by both developed and developing countries prior to and during the COP that took the capitalization of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) past an initial $10 billion target.

Levels of transparency and confidence-building reached new heights as several industrialized countries submitted themselves to questioning about their emissions targets under a new process called a Multilateral Assessment.

The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising calls on governments to put climate change into school curricula and climate awareness into national development plans.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said ”Governments arrived in Lima on a wave of positive news and optimism resulting from the climate action announcements of the European Union, China and the United States to the scaling up of pledges for the Green Climate Fund.

“They leave Lima on a fresh wave of positivity towards Paris with a range of key decisions agreed and action-agendas launched, including on how to better scale up and finance adaptation, alongside actions on forests and education,” she said.

Ms Figueres also thanked Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru, along with the government and the people of Peru for hosting the United Nations and some 11,000 delegates from all over the world.

“The negotiations here reached a new level of realism and understanding about what needs to be done now, over the next 12 months and into the years and decades to come if climate change is to be truly and decisively addressed,” she said.

Ms Figueres thanked the Peruvian Environment Minister and President of the Conference of the Parties for his leadership.

“The cooperation of over 190 countries in securing many positive outcomes owes much to the patience and persistence of the COP President—Manuel Pulgar-Vidal—and the spirit of Lima as we look forward to Paris—the city of lights and the city of love for our shared future and shared environment,” said Ms Figueres.

Steps Forward on Adaptation including the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative

Progress was made in Lima on elevating adaptation onto the same level as the curbing and cutting of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This will be done through: Recognition that National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) offer an important way of delivering resilience.

NAPs will now be made more visible via the UNFCCC website which should improve the opportunity for receiving backing.

The green light was given for discussions with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on how countries can be supported with their NAPs which should increase the number of these plans coming forward for support.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the COP President, launched a NAP Global Network involving Peru, the US, Germany, the Philippines, Togo, the UK, Jamaica, and Japan.

The Lima Adaptation Knowledge initiative--a pilot project in the Andes under the Nairobi Work Programme-- has underlined that establishing the adaptive needs of communities can be successfully captured.

Countries supported the idea of replicating this in Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and Africa.

The Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage was confirmed for two years with a balanced representation of members from developing and developed countries.

A work programme was also established under the Committee—it has an array of actions areas, including enhancing the understanding of how loss and damage due to climate change affects particularly vulnerable developing countries and populations including indigenous or minority status ones.
It will also seek to better the understanding of how climate change impacts human migration and displacement.

Financing the response to climate change

Governments made progress on coordinating the delivery of climate finance and of the various existing funds.

Further pledges were made to the Green Climate Fund in Lima by the governments of Norway, Australia, Belgium, Peru, Colombia and Austria--the pledges brought the total sum pledged to the Green Climate Fund to close to USD 10.2 billion.

In a further boost to the adaptation ambitions of developing countries, Germany made a pledge of 55 million Euros to the Adaptation Fund.
China also announced $10 million for South-South cooperation and mentioned they would double it next year.

More Countries Accept the Kyoto Protocol Doha Amendment

Nauru and Tuvalu submitted their instrument of acceptance to the Doha amendment, bringing the number of Parties to 21---144 are required to bring it into force.

The United Nations is encouraging governments to speed up their acceptance of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the international emissions reduction treaty, in order to provide further momentum for global climate action for the years leading up to 2020.

New climate action portal launched as part of Lima Climate Action Agenda
The government of Peru launched a new portal, with support from the UNFCCC, to increase the visibility of the wealth of climate action among cities, regions, companies and investors, including those under international cooperative initiatives.

The portal – named the Nazca Climate Action Portal – is designed to inject additional momentum into the process through to Paris by demonstrating the wealth of non-state action.

Providing transparency of developed country action

The first ever Multilateral Assessment (MA) was launched in Lima marking an historic milestone in the implementation of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification of emission reductions under the UNFCCC as a result of decisions taken at previous COPs in Cancun, Durban and Doha.

Over two days, 17 developed countries with quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets were assessed by other governments or ‘Parties’ to the Convention.

The Multilateral Assessment showed that the number of success stories and best practices in policy and technology innovation alongside nations decoupling emissions from economic growth is increasing.

Forests and the Lima Information Hub for REDD +

Countries meeting in Lima made progress on providing support to avoid deforestation.

Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico formally submitted information and data on the status of their greenhouse gas emission reductions in the forest sector to the UNFCCC secretariat following a similar submission by Brazil earlier in the year.

These baselines are likely to increase the possibility of obtaining international funding under initiatives like Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REED+).

In support of this, the COP President announced that an ‘information hub’ will be launched on the UNFCCC web site, spotlighting actions by countries carrying out REDD+ activities.

The aim is to bring greater transparency on both the actions being undertaken, including safeguards for communities and the payments being made.

Providing technology to developing countries

The Lima meeting sent an important signal that the transfer of climate technologies with the assistance of the UN and other international agencies is picking up speed.

The Climate Technology Centre and Network reported that it had received around 30 requests for assistance this year, and expects the figure to grow to more than 100 next year.

The UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism was further strengthened through the consideration of a link to the Green Climate Fund and the UNFCCC Finance mechanism.

The first research project funded under the technology mechanism was announced just prior to the Lima climate conference, involving the monitoring of climate change’s impact on biodiversity in Chile.

Lima Work Programme on Gender

The role of women is key to the response to climate change, and needs to be strengthened.

The Lima conference agreed a Lima Work Programme on Gender to advance gender balance and to promote gender sensitivity in developing and implementing climate policy.

Education and Awareness-raising

The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising was announced.
It is aimed at developing education strategies that incorporate the issue of climate change in curricula, while also raising awareness on climate change in the design and implementation of national development and climate change strategies.

Peru and France launch Lima-Paris Action Agenda

The governments of Peru and France, as the incoming COP Presidency, launched a Lima-Paris Action Agenda to catalyze action on climate change, to further increase ambition before 2020 and support the 2015 agreement.

Building on the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, the agenda is designed to galvanize national, city and private sector action.

Among other things, the agenda will help to convene key global, national, subnational and local leaders and to showcase key significant partnerships and actions of non-state actors.

Further Highlights

UNFCCC Pre-2020 Action Forum and ‘Fair’

As part of the efforts by countries to accelerate pre-2020 climate action, the secretariat organized a fair to showcase how policy and action is being scaled up and how many countries and non-state actors are taking action across themes ranging from renewable energies to more sustainable land use.


A special event took place on actions to reduce emissions with the help of so-called “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” (NAMAs).

NAMAs are plans of developing countries to reduce emissions and to develop sustainably which can be supported by developed countries. The UNFCCC secretariat has established a registry to match requests for and offers of support.

Climate action on the ground celebrated by the UN

The UNFCCC secretariat’s Momentum for Change Initiative presented awards to representatives of some of the best examples of climate solutions in the world which inspire increased climate action.

This year’s winners, or “Lighthouse Activities,” range from a Latin American microfinance initiative that is unlocking resources for climate action across the region to a billion-dollar company that is leading a solar energy boom in Thailand. The Momentum for Change initiative this year for the first time included the category of Information and Computer technology.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Africa joins mass die-in as Lima climate talks end

The final day of UN negotiations began with a mass die-in of observers from across the world to highlight the voices ignored by the outcome of the conference.

At the 2013 climate conference in Warsaw, Poland, civil society groups and others staged a massive and unprecedented “walkout” of the negotiations in protest of what they viewed as another year of failed negotiations.

As protesters left the conference halls in Poland, they chanted the phrase, “Volveremos!” which in Spanish means, “we will return.” 

After another year of still rising global warming emissions, diplomats and civil society observers returned to COP20 in Lima, Peru, with an unrelenting call for justice, but a slightly different tone.

As negotiations concluded on Friday, members of civil society performed a “die-in” with over 150 participants.

“This is hypocrisy and duplicity on the part of developed country governments,” said Fazal Issa of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) from Tanzania.

In unison, demonstrators fell to the ground outside of the plenary hall where a text to set a framework for a global climate “deal” next year in Paris was being negotiated.

“Governments of developed countries are pressuring developing countries when they do not even own up to the inadequacy of their targets and constantly refuse to include climate finance as part of binding agreements,” Issa told the crowd. “Climate finance for mitigation actions in the South is part of the obligations and fair share of the efforts of developed countries.” 

Other speakers were from the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Peru.

Gerry Arances of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice stated that “we are already suffering massive devastation, loss of lives, and displacement of communities, with just 0.8°C of warming. Even that will mean far worse consequences for our people than what they are already experiencing.”

He added that neither sympathy nor solidarity were adequate, because “this outcome in Lima is unacceptable to the people of Asia.”

The impacts in the Philippines highlight that some losses and damages from a warmer world are already and will continue to be unavoidable.

Last year in Warsaw, a process was established so that countries most responsible for climate change could compensate those that suffer these losses.

But this year, some developed countries, like the United States and Japan, have tried to oust such a mechanism from being included in a global agreement.

Peruvian Lorena Del Carpio of Movimiento Ciudadano Frente al Cambio Climatico (Citizens Movement on Climate Change), called citizens from across the world to continue to rise into action and not be struck down.


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