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Friday, November 27, 2015

SWAGEN wins ONE Africa award

The Kampala based forest advocacy group, Support for Women in Environment and Agriculture – SWAGEN has won the 8th ONE Annual ONE Africa Award  reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Award is bestowed upon civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and other groups based in Africa that have  demonstrated a commitment and success in advocacy to promote the attainment of one or more of the Millennium Development Goals.

SWAGEN is a member based organization that uses indigenous knowledge to adapt to, mitigate and improve environmental and sustainable development policies that impact forest dependent communities. The work of SWAGEN is based in the Rwoho Natural Tropical Forest of Uganda. What began in 1992 as a small group 30 people/women responding to a national policy that restricted access to the Forest has grown to a 3,000 member organization with strategic partnerships across the continent and world. SWAGEN is part of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests, the Civil Society Coordinating Committee with UN FAO Committee on Food Security, and holds a Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC.

Congratulating the 2015 ONE Africa Award recipient, Nachilala Nkombo, ONE Africa Acting Executive Director (, said “Today, we join SWAGEN in celebrating their success in ensuring that members of forest communities in Uganda have a chance at a better life that doesn’t compromise the needs of generations to come.”

SWAGEN’s impact in advocacy stood out from a pool of 252 impressive applications from 33 countries across Africa. SWAGEN is credited with negotiating a national policy reform on Forest Conservation in Uganda that recognizes the rights of the forest dependent communities. SWAGEN members built on that reform to secure and develop a Collaborative Forest Management Agreement with the National Forest Authority of Uganda. Their list of accomplishments include planting more than 2,000 hectares of the Rwoho National Forest buffer zone to work towards regenerating that portion of the forest and establishing sustainable beekeeping and honey production businesses.

Gertrude Kenyangi, Co-Founder and Chairperson of SWAGEN said, “We are incredibly humbled by the selection and honored to be recognized by ONE for our work. On behalf of our members, our board and our community, I thank the ONE Campaign and look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of those in forest dependent communities.”

“As the world grapples with agreeing on a climate deal that addresses the needs of the poor and future generations, SWAGEN has demonstrated what sheer commitment to securing systemic changes in natural resource management can do to benefit local communities in a way that lifts them out of poverty and also inspires similar achievements.  As the world prepares to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, it’s the foundation of MDG success laid by such groups as SWAGEN that will be the SDG game changer,” said Nkombo.

Isaac Oyimah/APO 

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FAO joins 40,000 delegates at Paris COP21 Climate Confab

 The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) would this weekend join some 40,000 delegates from 195 countries, to the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention Climate Change (COP21) holding in Paris, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is coming as Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari would join other heads of state and prominent figures to the Paris meeting in solidarity against climate change, slated to hold gather in Paris 30 November – 11 December.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Paris climate conference is aimed at producing a legally binding agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Climate change threatens to derail efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, with the heaviest effects being felt by the poor -- including millions of small-scale farmers -- who have contributed least to the problem.

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries hold great potential to be a transformational force in the global response to climate change, provided that the international community initiates a shift towards food systems that are more resilient, more productive, and more sustainable.

Events listed for Paris confab include high-level FAO participation in addition to other FAO experts engagement on ground.
Louisa Effiong/GEE

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Oil subsidy regime in Nigeria, time to go!

REMMY NWEKE in this piece canvasses that the best of gift or better still democracy dividend in the first of President Muhammadu Buhari is to let go of the oil-subsidy.

Historically in 1978 fuel pump price was 15kobo per litre and increased to 60k in 1990. Two years later in 1992, it added 10k to become 70k and barely a year subsequently jumped to N3.25k per litre and later same year added N6.75k to become N11 per litre which remained for a while.
Since Nigeria was then under military it was mass anticipation that once there is democracy, it could scale down, but alas, it became the first casualty in the list of democracy dividend as in year 2000 pump price moved up to N20 and before December 2000 added N2k to become N22.
Also in 2001, the federal government under President Olusegun Obasanjo increased pump price to N26 and three years later in 2004 scaled it up to N40 with the rhetoric political promise that the subsidy removed hitherto would be ploughed into bettering the lots of Nigerians. Incidentally the supposed pump prices have never been used to sale fuel in the south east.
Major fear among Nigerians on this subject is that the cost of pump price may go up to about N150 per litre, but as proponents of removal like former governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, now Emir Mohammed Sanusi II and Dr. Ngozi Iweala; it would curb corruption in the oil sector, especially within Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and enable economic planning for all as Nigeria today does not fix oil prices.
For instance, the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) as storehouse for all subsidy funds by then Head of State, General Sani Abachi to enable government intervened promptly.
Therefore to nail vices in oil sector, President Muhammadu Buhari must exhibit the political will to remove oil subsidy as the best gift APC-led government can give Nigerians at this time.


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

SOTU urges Malawi government to ratify RACCNNR

The Executive Director, State of the Union (SOTU), Edward Chileka Banda has called on government of Malawi to ratify the Revised African Union Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (RACCNNR), NaijaAgroNet reports.

He made this call at SOTU programme in Malawi in collaboration with community leaders, local government officials, and students over the weekend petitioned President Peter Mutharika and his government to address issues of Climate change.

SOTU’s petition which was on conservation of natural resources; climate change; disaster management and preparedness  was presented to Mutharika through the office of the Chikwawa District Commissioner, Bester Mandele, who promised to deliver the petition to central government.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that prior to the petition, the CSOs held Stakeholders Conference under the theme; "Fight Climate Change, avoid Natural Disasters, Safeguard the Future". Consequently it was observed that environmental degradation is worsened due to poor land management policies, over population and lack of alternative energy sources.

Banda said there is need also for government to create evacuation Centers in floods prone areas to avoid disrupting school classes during disasters. In the petition, NaijaAgroNet learnt they have also asked President Mutharika to depoliticize management and conservation of natural resources such as forest reserves. During the conference, Paramount Chief Lundu commended the youths for the initiative of engaging people directly affected by floods in the Lower Shire.

Lundu said the community participation and empowerment would be key in addressing environmental challenges. Eye for Development (EFD) organised the event under SOTU Platform which are championing the AU charter on nature and natural resources.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE
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Monday, November 16, 2015

FAO D-G extols agency founding fathers

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director General, Graziano da Silva, has praised the vision of the agency's founders, ITRealms reports.

Silva was speaking at the Chateau de Frontenac on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River where heads of states gathered in 1945 for the first FAO Conference and pledged to unshackle humanity from hunger.

“Their vision has allowed for agriculture to be considered as the key to human development and for the world to realize that the international community is able to address the problem of hunger and malnutrition globally,” Silva said.

Ensuring better nutrition for all and transforming the world’s food systems to ensure their future sustainability represent the two greatest challenges facing FAO as it renews its mission to free the world from hunger and malnutrition, the UN agency's José Graziano da Silva said at the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of FAO's founding in Quebec City, organized by the Quebec government, ITRealms gathered.

“Our responsibility is growing day by day, and today our mission and mandate remain more relevant than ever,” referring to the new global goal of ending hunger by 2030 adopted by the international community in September.
“And FAO has proven its ability to adapt to a changing world and respond to new challenges,” he added.

The FAO Director-General, ITRealms informs, began his speech by expressing sadness and shock at the recent terrorist attacks that clouded the ceremony on Saturday: “They took place in Paris and Beirut, but they hit all of us around the world, regardless of where we are and of whom we are. My solidarity goes to the victims and their families,” he added.

Cyriacus Nnaji/ED, OPs
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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Opia Kumah advises Nigeria to take advantage of MDG lessons in implementing SDGs


The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Nigeria, Mr. Opia Kumah has advised Nigeria to take advantage of lessons learnt from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to tackle implementation of the recently promulgated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reports NaijaAgroNet.
Addressing the State-level workshop on ‘Data Mapping for the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria” at the weekend in Kaduna, Mr. Kumah who was represented by the Economic Advisor in the state, Ojijo Odhiambo, described workshop as timely given its coming two months after the highly successful national-level meeting on the same subject held in Abuja and hardly two weeks after the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDGs Indicators Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.
“As you are well aware, the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators which brings together member states of the United Nations, Nigeria included, and regional and international agencies, was created by the United Nations Statistical Commission in March this year with the mandate of proposing a global indicator framework,” he said.
The results of this global initiative, he said, will be considered by the Statistical Commission at its 47th session in March 2016. He stressed that the work of the group has nonetheless become an important reference point and input into national level activities related to data for monitoring and reporting on the SDGs.

While the Inter-agency and expert group is yet to complete its work, he pointed out that it is now clear that the international community favours a limited number of indicators for monitoring progress towards the SDGs.
“In the area of poverty, for instance, the group has just adopted the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as an indicator for measuring progress towards the SDGs,” he said.
Emphasising that this is a clear testimony of the desire of the international community to capture and measure progress towards the SDGs in more qualitative and comprehensive terms. 
“As we deliberate on the indicators for measuring progress in Nigeria over the next two days, we should therefore keep in mind the need to evolve and adopt those indicators which are broad, qualitative and contextually relevant to our unique national situation,” he charged.

According to Kumah, regarding data for the SDGs implementation, monitoring and reporting, the critical challenge facing Nigeria is not the lack of knowledge of what needs to be done but rather how to apply the available knowledge and lessons learnt from the MDGs implementation over the past fifteen years.
“The country has learnt invaluable lessons from the MDGs implementation process. We fully appreciate the challenges that the country faces with respect to data. We know what works and what does not. We know where the gaps are. We know where the bottlenecks are. We know which indicators are particularly problematic to measure. We ought to use this rich knowledge base to evolve the most plausible implementation strategies for tracking, capturing and processing the SDGs indicators in a comprehensive, coordinated and efficient manner,” Kumah said.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) @ITRealms
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