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COP 26 Promises Verses Realities

World leaders and individuals across the world are gearing for the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 6 – 18 November 2022. The meeting will see world leaders agree on measures to tackle climate change to mitigate the harsh consequences that we have been experiencing as result of rising temperatures.

mary

ABCG Welcomes Mary Kuria as the new Partnership Development Specialist

Mary Kuria has recently been appointed as the ABCG Partnership Development Specialist. Mary has over 25 years experience in international development programmes and has, over the last 15 years, specialized in fundraising and grants management. A Kenyan, Mary has extensive experience in setting up and implementing fundraising systems and supporting the diversification of organizations’ funding bases.

Trond Larsen

World Environment Day 2022

World Environment Day was celebrated across the globe on June 5, 2022. Celebrated this year for the 49th time, this special day raises awareness on the responsibility we have in protecting our environment and the importance of conserving the planet for the sake of the current and future generation.
The event comes days after the Stockholm+50 event held on 2nd and 3rd June, under theme “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.”
“The two-day meeting commemorated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, the first world conference that placed environment issues at the forefront of international concerns (UNEP)
Therefore this year theme #OnlyOneEarth, seeks to remind us of our role as nations and citizens of the earth, to protect and conserve our environment and to encourage sustainable living everywhere and every day. The day, also, reminds key decision makers of their obligation that awaits them in making decisions that protect rather than destroy our environment. As well as, calls for shared, transformative action to protect and restore our planet earth.
The three global crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution, is a constant reminder that the need for action is now more important than ever and needs to happen at all levels. That humanity must take action to conserve and restore the environment, and shift from activities that harm the planet and undertake those that heal the planet.

GLASGOW LEADERS’ DECLARATION ON FORESTS AND LAND USE. Photo COP 26

What are the next steps post COP26: Are we on the right track?

We strongly believe that the UN Climate Change Conference and subsequent meetings are necessary and worthwhile to helping achieve some of ABCG’s biggest objectives, including mainstreaming biodiversity considerations into economic development at the community level in African countries, reaching women and youth. We are particularly encouraged by private sector commitments, as well as climate financing, pledged to advance the roles and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

ABCG/Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

ABCG Initiates Five Community Based Adaptation Projects in Zimbabwe to Empower Communities to Adapt to Climate Change

The uncertainty that is caused by climate change has resulted in disruption of lives and livelihoods of many communities. Among the worst affected communities are communities whose livelihood is dependent in livestock, agriculture and fisheries. Farmers living near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland North province whose livelihood is mainly dependent on crop production and livestock keeping are experiencing insufficient water and an increase in prevalence of pests.

Milking livestock in northern Tanzania at dawn. Photo Credit Nick Hall

Empowering Communities in Tanzania to Adapt to Climate Change through Locally Led Interventions

Community members learning about the climate change survey in northern Tanzania. Photo Credit Roshni Lodhia

Climate change impacts continues to loom as a major threat and uncertainty that has and will continue to add to the challenge of ensuring healthy and resilient systems across the globe.

Six years ago, in 2015, ABCG’s Global Change Impact working group began the process of understanding how communities are impacted by, and responding to climate change. The study was carried out in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and revealed that these communities, like in many other parts of the world, are being negatively impacted by the effects of changes in weather and climate. Faced with these severe impacts, communities are finding ways of adapting and responding to climate change to reduce the harsh impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. As these communities adapt, the impacts to biodiversity need to be understood. 

The study results showed that 35% of the adaptation responses conducted by local communities have a negative impact on biodiversity. Adaptation responses such as, increasing farm size by encroaching to natural habitats and overexploitation of resources are damaging to the ecosystem. Further, these responses are spontaneous and limit the community’s ability to adapt to long-term climate changes.

In Tanzania the impacts of climate change are driving extreme weather events such as drought and flooding, contribute to soil erosion, loss of native species, and allowing invasive species and diseases to flourish. ABCG member, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), led and carried out surveys in a number of villages in the Moduli District of Northern Tanzania. TNC observed that the way community members are responding to climate change, for instance through seeking alternative livelihoods and migrating to other areas such as natural reserves contributes to indirect and negative impacts on biodiversity.

In northern Tanzania, the indirect impacts observed as result of responding to climate change include, habitat loss and degradation due to expansion of cultivation and activities such as overgrazing that are causing a reduction of wildlife and reduced livestock productivity. The grasslands of Northern Tanzania are famous for being home to, and supporting wildlife and livestock populations through grazing. These indirect effects to climate change on biodiversity affect the entire ecological system and therefore pose a major challenge in communities’ resilience to climate change. A rich and healthy biodiversity is an important defense in controlling and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change.

Invasive Species Threat

Survey results showed that the invasive species Dichrostachys cinerea was dominating 75% of grazing lands in northern Tanzania. This invasive species was affecting the landscape’s ability to provide integrated grazing lands for pastoralists and seasonal habitat for wildlife by degrading both grassland and soil. According to nature.org, “…when these non-native (invasive) plants establish themselves in our local ecosystems, they outcompete and dislodge species that have evolved specifically to live there.” These plants affect the ecosystem by degrading soils and decreasing forage.

Community Engagement in Adaptation Response

To help communities adapt to climate change while at the same time protect and preserve biodiversity, in 2019, ABCG together with community members and other stakeholders began identifying on the ground adaptation projects in these surveyed communities.

In Monduli District, northern Tanzania, TNC together with community members, local leaders and other stakeholders convened a series of workshops and meetings to discuss climate change threats, rank them and come up with adaptation projects to implement. This process offered an opportunity for the communities and local actors to have a say and co-create, with ABCG members, solutions that offer an opportunity to safeguard their livelihoods against the impacts of climate change while protecting biodiversity.

In an area whose economy is largely supported by livestock production, controlling invasive species was observed as a highly essential and priority intervention by the stakeholders. The main objective of the invasive species remediation project was to uproot Dichrostachys cinerea within 20-40 hectares in two communities. Other interventions that were prioritized in the area included, planting trees and grasses, and building a living wall to protect livestock from wildlife attacks.

Building Resilience in Communities
Community members uprooting invasive species

In 2020, community members and TNC started the process of mechanically uprooting the species. As at today, over 50 hectares in the project area has been cleared of the invasive species. These efforts have seen the reemergence of native grasses in the area which in turn will increase livestock productivity. Other benefits as a result of controlling invasive species include improving ecosystem resilience and soil protection.

Agricultural dependent communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The role of community members, village leaders and local actors who are directly and adversely affected by climate change in coming up with solutions to tackling climate change is critical in coming up with tailor made solutions that can be owned, and implemented together with them. This not only ensures that pressing community needs are addressed but it enables them to be part of the fight against climate change while owing the initiatives.

Tackling climate change will only be possible when we are able to maintain a rich and healthy biodiversity. ABCG is implementing these adaptation projects that so that both people and nature can thrive. These projects help build resilient communities as they adapt to climate change and safeguard their livelihoods while building a safer future for our generation and future generations.

Read related blog posts:

  1. Supporting Communities in Tanzania Adapt to Climate Change through Forest Restoration

  2. Building a Knowledge Base to Advance Understanding of Climate Change on Communities and Nature