Poor plant bio-security: A threat to regional food security integration
Mar23

Poor plant bio-security: A threat to regional food security integration

   Poor plant bio-security: A threat to regional food security integration By Newton Vusa Sibanda While intra-regional agricultural trade can reduce food insecurity and be a stepping stone to industrialization, poor bio-security control capacity remains a major obstacle to trade in agricultural products, and can therefore limit income and food security of farmers, according to recent bio-security meeting. Indeed, biosecurity experts from 10 Central and East African countries met in Lusaka ( Zambia) recently for the fourth Africa Plant Biosecurity Network workshop.    Common Market The network meetings are a key component of the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership (AAPBP. It brought together African biosecurity professional fellows and industry members from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe with Australian biosecurity colleagues to share information, provide ongoing mentoring, and boost training and outreach. It also improved national and regional quarantine and plant protection capacity, thereby lifting crop yields, enabling safe regional trade, expanding international market access opportunities and securing greater food security for the region. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya is upbeat about the prospects of regional integration and called for efforts to address constraints such as poor bio-security control capacity. Mr Ngwenya said that a key result of regional integration should be increased intra-regional trade. Intra-regional trade has indeed increased from US$3.2 billion in 2000 when the free trade area (FTA) was launched to around US$20 billion. “However, this still amounts to less than 10 percent of total trade with the world. The secretariat has done a study to show that although intra-COMESA trade is currently low, there is a potential trade worth US$82 billion,” he said. “We need to work out how to realise that enormous potential,” Mr Ngwenya added. To him, many of COMESA’s 19 member states heavily dependent on agriculture, the production and trade of agricultural produce is of high priority. “Intra-regional agricultural trade can  reduce food insecurity, so we must address constraints to this trade such as biosecurity,” Mr Ngwenya said. “Those army worms do not need visas to cross borders. As COMESA, we are trying to open borders for free movement but not in a devastating manner like army worms,” he claimed. He attributed the lower intra-regional trade to costs of non-tariff measures, including sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) or biosecurity, which he said are higher than they need to be.  COMESA is leading studies to examine the actual costs of SPS measures,  and how they can be reduced without affecting the levels of protection they are designed to provide, he recalled. Agriculture: challenges Zambia’s acting minister of Agriculture Jean Kapata said agriculture is a priority sector in Zambia as...

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Implementing climate policies by developed countries-SBI
Fév14

Implementing climate policies by developed countries-SBI

Implementing climate policies by developed countries-SBI  By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache   18 developed countries will present their achievements in implementing climate policies next May in Bonn, during the forty-sixth session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation ( SBI). According to the UNFCCC, the implementation updates involve an important preparatory stage, which includes an online question and answer period among Governments.  To this end, actions and inputs from all Parties are needed in the next few months and can be submitted via the ‘MA Portal’. Among the 18 countries that will present updates are the United States of America, France and the Russian Federation are (full list of countries can be found here)....

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Wind: to become the largest source of renewable energy in the US-Report
Fév14

Wind: to become the largest source of renewable energy in the US-Report

Wind: to become the largest source of renewable energy in the US-Report By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache   According to a new report released recently by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) based in Washington, wind surpassed hydropower dams and will become the largest source of renewable electric capacity in the U.S . This report, “the U.S. Wind Industry Quarterly Market Report”, is a snapshot view of U.S. wind industry activity and trends, including new wind capacity installed, wind projects under construction and in the advanced stages of development. “American wind power is now the #1 source of renewable capacity, thanks to more than 100,000 wind workers across all 50 states,” said Tom Kiernan, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO. “Growing this made-in-the-USA clean energy resource helps rural communities pay for new roads, bridges, and schools, while bringing back manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt. With our two-thirds cost reduction over the last seven years, household brands like General Motors, Walmart, and more are buying low-cost wind energy to cut costs and power their businesses. American wind power is on track to double our output over the next five years, and supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020,” he added. The report  indicated that at the close of 2016, the American wind fleet totaled 82,183 MW, enough to power 24 million average American homes. And with the addition of North Carolina’s first utility-scale wind farm announced earlier recently, there are now more than 52,000 individual wind turbines in 41 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico. Over 100,000 American workers now manufacture, construct, and maintain the U.S. wind turbine fleet according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In total, wind supports more American jobs than nuclear, natural gas, coal, or hydroelectric power plants. Who are the beneficiaries? According to the report, Rural and Rust Belt America are among the greatest beneficiaries of wind power development. Wind projects in these areas often become the largest contributors to the property tax base, helping to improve schools, roads and other public services. Of the $13.8 billion invested by the U.S. wind industry last year, $10.5 billion was invested in low-income counties, emphasized the report. Wind: the new solution Wind is a new drought-resistant cash crop for farmers and ranchers who host wind turbines on their land, explained the report.  Nationwide, wind projects provide private landowners with more than $245 million in land lease payments annually. Texas landowners receive more than $60 million of that, in many cases helping to keep farms and ranches in their families. And it is also  less costly: it often provides the least expensive energy available. Wind power can bring costs...

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To Bonn and Beyond
Fév14

To Bonn and Beyond

To Bonn and Beyond Message from the Incoming COP 23 President Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama   Maintaining  the momentum of the Paris Agreement Bula vinaka! Wherever you are the world, I convey my warmest greetings, along with the greetings of the Fijian people. Fiji assumes the Presidency of COP 23 determined to maintain the momentum of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the concerted effort to reduce carbon emissions and lower the global temperature, which was reinforced at COP 22 in Marrakesh. To use a sporting analogy so beloved in our islands, the global community cannot afford to drop the ball on the decisive response agreed to in Paris to address the crisis of global warming that we all face, wherever we live on the planet. That ball is being passed to Fiji and I intend, as the first incoming COP president from a Small Island Developing State, to run with it as hard as I can. We must again approach this year’s deliberations in Bonn as a team – every nation playing its part to combat the rising sea levels, extreme weather events and changing weather patterns associated with climate change. And I will be doing everything possible to keep the team that was assembled in Paris together and totally focused on the best possible outcome. “Our concerns are the concerns of the entire world” I intend to act as COP President on behalf of all 7.5 billion people on the planet. But I bring a particular perspective to these negotiations on behalf of some of those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – Pacific Islanders and the residents of other SIDS countries and low-lying areas of the world. Our concerns are the concerns of the entire world, given the scale of this crisis. We must work together as a global community to increase the proportion of finance available for climate adaptation and resilience building. We need a greater effort to develop products and models to attract private sector participation in the area of adaptation finance. To this end, I will be engaging closely with governments, NGOs, charitable foundations, civil society and the business community. I appeal to the entire world to support Fiji’s effort to continue building the global consensus to confront the greatest challenge of our age. We owe it not only to ourselves but to future generations to tackle this issue head on before it is too late. And I will be counting on that support all the way to Bonn and beyond....

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Les ONG multinationales, la RSE et le développement économique de l’Afrique
Jan24

Les ONG multinationales, la RSE et le développement économique de l’Afrique

Les ONG multinationales, la RSE et le développement économique de l’Afrique Par Thierry Téné, Associé et Directeur de l’Institut Afrique RSE Plainte contre le WWF Le 6 janvier 2017 est une date historique pour les Principes Directeurs de l’OCDE, qui sont des recommandations des Gouvernements des 35 pays les industrialisés du monde, à l’attention des multinationales pour la prise en compte de la Responsabilité Sociétale (droits de l’Homme, environnement, intérêts des consommateurs, fiscalité, etc.). Jusqu’à ce jour, ce sont les entreprises multinationales qui faisaient l’objet des plaintes des ONG pour non respect des Principes Directeurs de l’OCDE. Mais en ce début d’année, le Point de Contact National Suisse a jugé recevable la plainte de l’ONG britannique SURVIVAL contre l’ONG suisse WWF (Fonds Mondial pour la Nature). Dans sa plainte très documentée, SURVIVAL accuse WWF d’abuser des droits des pygmées BAKA du Cameroun au nom de la conservation de la nature.  Cette procédure auprès de l’OCDE met en exergue plusieurs problématiques en lien le développement économique de l’Afrique. Les interrogations Comme toutes les ONG représentées dans plusieurs pays, WWF (présente dans 80 pays) ne devrait-elle pas être aussi considérée comme une organisation multinationale qui devait justifier ses pratiques et actions ? Elle finance d’ailleurs plusieurs programmes de conservation de la nature en Afrique. Ce qui a des répercussions non seulement sur la politique d’exploitation des ressources naturelles des Etats (source des ressources financières) mais aussi les conditions de vie des populations comme les pygmées qui vivent dans la forêt. Jusqu’ici « donneuses » de leçons sur les questions sociales, environnementales, de droit de l’Homme et éthique, les ONG peuvent désormais se retrouver également au banc des accusées comme les Etats et les entreprises. La RSE : la solution Mais le plus surprenant dans cette saisie de l’OCDE est l’absence de marge de manœuvre du Gouvernement Camerounais alors qu’il s’agit de ses ressortissants, que les faits dénoncés se passent sur son territoire avec une implication de son armée et des éco-gardes financés par le WWF dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec l’Etat. Face à la montée en puissance de la lutte contre le changement climatique (entrée en vigueur de  l’Accord Paris), du rôle croissant des ONG multinationales, de l’adoption des Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD), de la signature des Principes de l’Equateur (prise en compte des critères Environnementaux, Sociaux et de Gouvernance pour tout investissement supérieur ou égal à 10 millions de dollars) par les institutions financières, les états africains ne peuvent plus envisager leur développement économique sans intégrer la Responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises (RSE) . La polémique autour de l’huile de palme est l’un des symboles de cette problématique. Entre les besoins pour la...

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Casablanca : Remise du prix « Startup Africaine de l’Année 2017» le 26 janvier 2017
Jan24

Casablanca : Remise du prix « Startup Africaine de l’Année 2017» le 26 janvier 2017

Casablanca : Remise du prix « Startup Africaine de l’Année 2017» le 26 janvier 2017 Par Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache Le 26 janvier prochain le prix «  Startup Africaine de l’Année 2017 sera remis à Casablanca. Après  deux éditions organisées en France, le  magazine collaboratif des startups et le Groupe OCP, leader mondial du marché des phosphates et ses dérivés et acteur engagé pour une agriculture durable en Afrique, se sont associés pour lancer la première édition africaine du concours Startup de l’Année « Startup of the Year / Africa 2017 » à l’occasion de la COP 22. Son objectif : promouvoir le développement économique et social du continent africain grâce à des startups innovantes et performantes.Une multitude d’entreprises de renom telles que PwC, ENGIE ou encore MICROSOFT participeront à...

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