Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ministers, Senior UN and International Officials call for ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ in Africa by 2030

Environment Ministers of three nations, senior United Nations and international officers, have urged all stakeholders across Africa to make commitments, as part of the Action Agenda, on how to achieve sustainable energy for all by 2030.
The ministers made the call at an event marking the Africa rollout of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on February 22, 2012.
Making her submission, H. E. Ms. Terezya Luoga Hovisa, Minister of State, Ministry for Environment, Tanzania and Vice-President, the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) highlighted the enormous renewable energy potential ranging from solar, geothermal, hydro, wind and modern biomass that can be harnessed to achieve universal access to energy.
“I call upon all actors to work together to implement the commitments outlined in the 2011 Johannesburg Declaration of the Africa Energy Ministers Conference,” Hovisa said.
For his part, H.E. Erik Solheim, Minister of Environment and International Development, Norway, stated that “Private sector involvement is essential to create more growth and less poverty, contributing to the huge need for investments in Africa, adding, Norway’s Energy+ initiative intends to contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Energy for All.”
Speaking from the Brazilian experience with “Luz Para Todos,” H. E. Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil, highlighted the importance of political involvement to trigger action by all stakeholders, emphasising the need to look at energy within the context of the food, water and energy nexus.
“Sustainable access and use of energy are part of the green economy,” Teixeira said, disclosing, “Energy will be at the centre of discussions at the upcoming Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.”
Also making inputs, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and Adnan Amin, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), emphasised the importance of energy for economic and social development across the continent, to improve the lives of the poorest in a more sustainable manner.
They opined that investments in clean energy allow countries in the region to harness substantial renewable energy resource endowments and leapfrog to modern and efficient infrastructure development.
The two leaders referred to many examples that are implemented throughout the region already and that should be replicated and scaled up.
To that end, Steiner and Amin called attention to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which is a unique partnership between business, government and civil society and designed to achieve sustainable energy for all by 2030.
The Secretary-General has three interlinked objectives for his initiative, which are: to ensure universal access to energy, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and double the share of renewables in the global energy mix, by 2030.
Steiner, who also serves as a UN Under-Secretary-General, called for implementation of the initiative’s “Framework for Action,” designed to guide the work of governments, the private sector and civil society, as they mobilise, facilitate, and monitor efforts to expand energy access, promote efficiency standards and policies, and strengthen investment in renewables.
Speaking about the Secretary-General’s initiative, Steiner said, “Engagement by the private sector is essential to boost economic growth and reduce poverty. It will help address the huge need for investments in Africa and mobilise the action necessary to provide universal access to modern energy services.”
Adnan Amin also spoke about the immense potential for significantly increasing investment in renewable energy based on establishing an enabling policy environment and enhanced capacity.
In this regard, Kenya is paving the way for other African nations with its pledge to be kerosene-free by 2018 and in its use of wind and geothermal energy to power municipalities.

However, because of the central role that energy plays in society, the UN Secretary-General has appointed a High-level Group of distinguished leaders from finance, government, the private sector and civil society, to drive action towards the complementary objectives of energy access, renewables and efficiency and Steiner and Amin are both members of this group.
Meanwhile, globally, one person in five lacks access to modern electricity, and nearly three billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating.
Other leaders speaking in the rollout event for the 2012 UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, in addition to the leaders above, were: H. E. Dr. Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim (Mrs.), Commissioner, Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission; Ms Mariam Sow Soumare, Representing Dr Mayaki, CEO, New Partnership for Africa’s Development; Mr. Carlo van Wageningen, Chairman and spokesperson, Lake Turkana Wind Power and Mr. Negash Engedasew, Manager, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change, African Development Bank.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1.3bn of world’s population still living in the dark


In spite of various interventions made globally with respect to power generation, 1.3 billion of the world’s population are still without electricity, with 45 per cent of the number living in Africa.

Ironically though, the African continent can boast of abundant renewable resources that remain untapped, due to the barriers of prohibitive cost, structural inadequacies, political regulatory and commercial risks.

Sharing his thoughts at the Africa launch yesterday, February 21, 2012 of the United Nations 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All in Nairobi, UN Under-Secretary-General and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said,  “Some 1.3 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity - and 45 per cent of those live in Africa. Yet the Continent has abundant renewable resources that, with the right kind of public policies in place, can unlock a new development future and light up the lives and the livelihoods of millions of people.”

“In four short months, world leaders meet at the Rio+20 summit in Brazil. Access to sustainable energy should be upper most in delegates minds as should the current barriers -ranging from fossil fuel subsidies to the need for up front financing - that to date have held back this massive potential in Africa and elsewhere,” said Mr. Steiner during the launch which coincided with the release of a new report from UNEP Finance Initiative, entitled Financing Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: Drivers and Barriers for Private Finance in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report recommends opening up energy markets to private sector investment through the introduction of smart government policies, which it sees as the key to unlocking Africa’s massive renewable energy potential.

UNEP’s new report maintains that in doing so, millions can be lifted out of poverty and the sustainable development potential of the continent far sooner realised, while this UN system-wide initiative aims to bring about concrete action to achieve universal access to modern energy services and double both the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in the global mix by 2030.

Meanwhile, experts estimate that unless stronger commitments are made to reverse current trends, half the population in sub-Saharan Africa will still be without electricity by 2030, and the proportion of the population relying on traditional fuels for household energy needs will remain the highest among all world regions, adding such a scenario would severely hamper efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The report further outlines how current obstacles to the scaling-up of sustainable energy solutions in Africa – such as the cost of electricity generation or difficult grid access - can be tackled, saying to meet the continent’s growing energy demands, the power sector in Africa needs to install an estimated 7,000 megawatts (MW) of new generation capacity each year.

Arguing that much of this can come from Africa’s wealth of untapped, domestic renewable resources, the report, based on a survey of 38 institutions, mostly from the private sector, which are all involved in energy infrastructure finance in developing countries, cites Cape Verde, Kenya, Madagascar, Sudan and Chad as having particularly significant potential in that direction.

Also, according to the African Development Bank Group, Mauritania’s wind energy potential is almost four times its annual energy need, while Sudan’s is equivalent to 90 per cent of its annual energy needs. This offers both opportunities to improve energy security and create regional markets.

But UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, believes “Accelerating and scaling-up sustainable energy for all will be key to realising a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient ‘inclusive’ Green Economy.”

UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All

On the other hand, to mark the just launched ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All’, Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General will throughout 2012, in partnership with the inter-agency group UN Energy, be coordinating activities to increase awareness of the importance of addressing energy issues, including modern energy services for all, access to affordable energy, energy efficiency and the sustainability of energy sources at local, national, regional and international levels, according to UNEP.

It says as part of these efforts, the UN Secretary-General, UN Energy and the United Nations Foundation are leading a new global initiative –
Sustainable Energy for All, which will engage governments, the private sector and civil society partners worldwide, to achieve three major objectives by 2030.

These are; ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

In the meantime, the UN Secretary-General has convened representatives from the private sector, government, UN/intergovernmental organisations and civil society to develop a global strategy and concrete agenda for action to reach the three objectives.

According to UNEP, the roadmap, which will build on the work of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, will be offered for consideration at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, with the high-level group co-chaired by Charles Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America, and Kandeh Yumkella, Chair of UN Energy and Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

New UNEP report suggests ways to overcome power generation barriers

A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative, titled Financing Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: Drivers and Barriers for Private Finance in sub-Saharan Africa, has identified three main barriers to electrical power generation in developing countries and proffered ways to counter them.

Listing them as cost, structure and risk, the study shows how policy incentives can help reduce the higher costs associated with electricity generation from renewables and improve the competitiveness of investments in the sector, versus traditional energy sources.

Giving examples of how such incentives at national and international levels are already making a positive impact in Africa, it says in Kenya, a government feed-in tariff introduced in 2008 to expand renewable energy power generation in the country, will incentivise an estimated additional energy generation capacity of 1300 Megawatts (MW) - more than double Kenya’s present capacity.

“The increased investment in renewables is also expected to trigger significant job creation through construction of power plants, grid connection and maintenance,” according to a statement from UNEP announcing the report.

It adds that Uganda’s dedicated renewable energy policy, has also been praised for developing an institutional infrastructure for management of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that has successfully led to a spurt in renewable energy activity.

“In 2008, Uganda had 550 MW of total installed capacity, of which 315 MW were hydro-based. By 2010 there were 300 MW of renewable energy in the CDM pipeline, including new terrain for Uganda in the area of biomass,” UNEP says.

The report maintains that among rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 2-5 percent of people are connected to the electricity grid, using renewable energy in the form of mini-wind, bio-energy or solar household systems to improve energy access can be more cost-effective than expanding existing grids.

To tackle a second major energy barrier, namely the structural inadequacies of sub-Saharan African energy markets, such as monopolistic ownerships with difficult market and grid access for new actors and innovation, the UNEP report says governments should reform the energy sector with policies leading to a higher level of decentralisation and easier market access for new energy producers.

“These reforms would encourage third parties and private sector independent power producers (IPPs) to enter the renewable energy market and contribute much needed specialised technical skills,” experts that worked on the report opine.

A third major roadblock to the development of renewable energy utilities, says the study, are the risks – political, regulatory and commercial – present in many sub-Saharan countries, adding, while complex, these risks can be abated and their impact lessened by the use of risk-mitigation instruments already available, albeit insufficiently, today.

The study thus recommends that the international community should put in place international risk mitigation instruments with an explicit climate change mandate.

For his part, Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Chair of UN Energy, said "Reaching the goal of sustainable energy for all in Africa - and beyond - will require action by all countries and all sectors to shape the policy and investment decisions needed for a brighter energy future".

"Industrialised countries must accelerate the transition to low-emission technologies. Developing countries, many of them growing rapidly and at large scale, have the opportunity to leapfrog conventional energy options and move directly to cleaner energy alternatives that will enhance economic and social development,” he added.

Also making a comment at the launch in Nairobi, Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), stated, "In this, the UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, many countries in Africa are already successfully testing the technologies and policies needed to bring energy to rural areas and growing cities".

According to him, "Innovative investment mechanisms and sharply falling manufacturing and installation costs of renewable energy technologies, including wind, advanced biomass, and solar power, are essential to further unlocking the continent’s vast potential,” while “Smart government policies can accelerate the quest for more sustainable sources of energy in Africa and improve millions of lives across the continent”.

Adding his voice, Erik Solheim, the Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development, stated, “Private sector development is essential to create more growth and less poverty. It will contribute to the huge need for investments in Africa. We must mobilise access to modern energy services, women’s participation in working life and economic growth”.

At present, eight African countries already have national renewable energy targets in place, including Mauritius (65 per cent by 2028), Cape Verde (50 per cent by 2020) and Cameroon (50 per cent by 2015), goals the UNEP report says are a “critical component” of any renewable energy policy package, as they provide clarity to private sector actors and can support the mobilisation of investment.

On the other hand, UNEP’s Green Economy report shows how the cost of renewable energy services would be even more competitive if the negative, indirect impacts associated with fossil fuel technologies were taken into account.

Currently, some African countries, including Kenya and Senegal, are devoting more than half of their export earnings to energy imports, but  the Green Economy report says scaling-up renewable resources that are available domestically, could enhance national energy security, while mitigating the public health risks caused by the mining, production and combustion of fossil fuels.

Such risks include the inhalation of smoke from traditional cook stoves used in households across Africa according to available reports which say these indoor emissions are responsible for an estimated 1.9 million deaths worldwide each year, while ‘black carbon’ produced by the stoves is also a major contributor to climate change.

Nigerian journalist wins UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award


A radio journalist from Nigeria has won the United Nations Environment Programme’s Young Environmental Journalist Award (YEJA), beating over 120 entries from reporters across Africa.

Ugochi Anyaka (28), hosts an environmental radio show "Green Angle" on ASO Radio, works as a producer, reporter and continuity announcer with the station, also writes an environmental blog,
Eco Nigeria, at and  lists her main interests as sustainable development and climate change.
Ms. Anyaka received her award at a special ceremony held during the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
As part of her prize, Ms. Anyaka will take part in a professional exchange visit to the United States, following a specially-designed “green itinerary”. Last year’s YEJA winner, Patricia Okoed-Bukumunhe of Uganda, took part in a week-long placement with Voice of America in Washington DC, spent time with National Geographic magazine, the US Environmental Protection Agency and attended an environmental journalism conference in Florida.
The winning report, entitled Saving the Trees for Paper Briquettes, was broadcast on ASO Radio in Nigeria, where Ms. Anyaka works as a journalist and presenter.

The radio feature profiled a project in a low-income suburb of Abuja that manufactures briquettes from waste paper, in order to provide an alternative fuel to traditional firewood.

The project aims to reduce the health risks associated with indoor use of wood fuel, reduce deforestation and provide a source of income for the briquette makers.

Ms. Anyaka’s report also discusses the role of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

“This story was done to show the opportunities in a changing climate - and not just the woes,” said Ugochi Anyaka.

“It also seeks to show the conflicting view points about the Clean Development Mechanism. But ultimately, it tells the story of what some Nigerians are doing to protect their vulnerable environment and save their very existence. Winning the UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award is the greatest moment of joy in my career. It is such an honour to be recognised in this manner,” she added.

The YEJA jury described Ms. Anyaka’s winning entry as a “well-researched report that clearly explained the essence of reducing green house gas emissions and the need for creating environmental development in Africa”.

The winner was presented with her specially-commissioned trophy by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, Joseph Murphy, US Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN-HABITAT and Patricia Okoed-Bukumunhe, the winner of last year’s Young Environmental Journalist Award

Commenting on the award, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said, “With less than four months to go until world governments meet at the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) in Brazil, raising public awareness of today’s environmental challenges is perhaps more critical than ever”.

“The large number of entries received from journalists from Cairo to Cape Town and Dar es Salaam to Dakar for this year’s award, showed that young journalists are becoming an increasingly vital voice for telling the story of Africa’s changing environment - and showing the many solutions that are available on the continent. On behalf of UNEP, I congratulate Ugochi Anyaka on her achievement and wish her continued success in her work,” he said.

Launched in 2010, the UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award aims to showcase excellence in the field of environmental reporting and nurture new talent that will help to shape opinion on the environment in Africa, and beyond, in years to come and is made possible through funding support from the US Department of State.

This year, a total of 127 entries were received (in English and French) from television, radio, online and print journalists in 28 countries. The diverse topics covered included the economic and environmental impacts of invasive species in Lake Victoria, efforts to reduce plastic bag use in Togo and the breeding of climate change-resilient chickens in Namibia.

The winner was chosen by the YEJA jury, which brought together four experts from the worlds of journalism, development and science. They were Amie Joof, Executive Director of the Senegal-based Inter-African Network for Women, Media, Gender and Development (FAMEDEV), Diran Onifade, journalist and manager with the Nigerian Television Authority and President of the African Federation of Science Journalists, Stanis Nkdundiye, Steering Committee member of the Federation of African Journalists and Sunday Leonard, Special (Scientific) Assistant to the Chief Scientist of UNEP.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

North Africa, Middle East receive training today on mainstreaming ecosystems and biodiversity into national planning

Experts involved in the study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) will from today February 21, 2012, to February 23, 2012, join officials in North Africa and Middle East responsible for national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), in a capacity-building, workshop, to understand the economic value of nature in order to integrate this into planning.
The three-day region-wide workshop that is being held in Beirut, Lebanon, is also intended to increase capacity in the use of valuation studies on the economic benefits of biodiversity in the decision-making process.
Commenting on the importance of the workshop, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “If we are truly going to mainstream biodiversity considerations into economic decision-making, we need to develop the capacity for economic valuation of ecosystem services. This workshop provides the model for this kind of training in support of sustainable development.”
For his part, Pavan Sukhdev, leader of the TEEB study, said: “TEEB provides economic analysis and policy tools to address ecosystem degradation, in order that national and local development goals can be met with the help of environmental security. TEEB also goes further than this and demonstrates, through the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity, that the value of a nation's natural capital is relevant across all government ministries, from the environment through to finance.”
Primarily, holding of the three-day workshop has been informed by the acknowledgement of governments in North Africa and the Middle East of the problem of biodiversity loss and ecosystem services and TEEB’s contribution in providing guidance for balancing economic and environmental concerns, according to a press release from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) secretariat announcing the event.
Further, although many countries, including those in North Africa and the Middle East, already use national biodiversity strategies and action plans under the Convention on Biological Diversity as a central framework for coordinating policy responses to biodiversity loss across sectors and policy areas, a 2010 gap analysis by the Institute for Advanced Studies of the United Nations University revealed, that existing national biodiversity strategies and action plans do not adequately address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss.
It exposes that in particular, the mainstreaming of ecosystems services and biodiversity into economic planning and sectors, as provided for under the new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 adopted under the Convention, remains a considerable challenge.
The TEEB Workshop for North Africa and the Middle East is thus the first region-wide capacity-building response to this challenge and expected to trigger regional efforts from various partners, elevate more studies in economic valuation of ecosystems and their services by experts from the region and bring it up to speed with global advanced efforts, including through more funding and integration of TEEB outcomes, into decision making and national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
The workshop is co-organised by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through its Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA) in close coordination with the Ecosystem Services Economics Unit in the UNEP Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) and the League of Arab States, in cooperation with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.
It has also been made possible with funds provided by the governments of Japan, Norway and Sweden, as well as the European Union, while regional organisations participating include the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Arab Center for Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD), Wetland International Mediterranean Programme Office, Global Mechanism, the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (NCSR), national authorities on protected areas, and indigenous and local communities (ILCs).
The workshop takes place under the ecosystem management sub programme of the UNEP programme of work 2010-2011, which seeks to enhance the “capacity of countries to realign their environmental programmes and financing to address degradation of selected priority ecosystem services” and to integrate ecosystems into financial sectors operations.
TEEB, which was launched in 2007 by the G8+5 ministers of environment under the Potsdam Initiative, and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has drawn attention to the global economic benefits provided by nature, highlighting the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and clarifying the link between nature, the ecosystem services it provides, and the role these services play in economies.
Following after this, in November 2010, the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for Environment (CAMRE), under the League of Arab States (LAS), recognised the need for valuation studies on the economic benefits of biodiversity and ecosystem services and their links to decision-making processes, and requested funding from international organisations to hold a training workshop for this purpose.
The regional conference “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: recognising and capturing the value of forest ecosystem services in the MENA region”, held in Tunis in June 2011, highlighted first valuation initiatives and innovative finance mechanisms with potential in the region.

Top scientists urge governments to replace GDP as measure of wealth to curtail major crisis

Top scientists will today 20 February, urge governments to replace GDP as a measure of wealth, end damaging subsidies, and transform systems of governance to set humanity on a new path to a better future.
To the top scientists, governments will risk climate, biodiversity and poverty crises that will spawn greater problems worldwide, if they fail to do so.
These and others are contained in a new paper by 20 past winners of the Blue Planet Prize, often called the Nobel Prize for the environment.
The paper will be presented today, to government ministers from around the world at the UN Environment Programme’s governing council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya by Bob Watson, the UK’s chief scientific advisor on environmental issues and a winner of the prize in 2010.
Commenting on issues raised in the paper, Watson said, “The current system is broken,” “It is driving humanity to a future that is 3-5°C warmer than our species has ever known, and is eliminating the ecology that we depend on for our health, wealth and senses of self.”
“We cannot assume that technological fixes will come fast enough. Instead we need human solutions. The good news is that they exist but decision makers must be bold and forward thinking to seize them,” he added.
Watson’s co-authors include James Hansen of NASA, Emil Salim, former environment minister of Indonesia, Susan Solomon of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and José Goldemberg, who was Brazil’s Secretary of Environment during the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
Meanwhile, the paper comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 1992 summit – the Rio+20 conference scheduled for June this year – when world leaders have an opportunity to set human development on a new, more sustainable path.
The paper among others, urges governments to replace Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as a measure of wealth with metrics for natural, built, human and social capital — and how they intersect, eliminate subsidies in sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture that create environmental and social costs, which currently go unpaid and tackle overconsumption, and address population pressure by empowering women, improving education and making contraception accessible to all.
The top scientists also advise governments to transform decision making processes to empower marginalised groups, and integrate economic, social and environmental policies instead of having them compete, conserve and value biodiversity and ecosystem services, and create markets for them that can form the basis of green economies and invest in knowledge – both in creating and in sharing it – through research and training that will enable governments, business, and society at large to understand and move towards a sustainable future.
Also sharing her thoughts on the paper being presented today, Camilla Toulmin, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development said: “Sustainable development is not a pipe dream,” “It is the destination the world’s accumulated knowledge points us towards, the fair future that will enable us to live with security, peace and opportunities for all. To get there we must transform the ways we manage, share and interact with the environment, and acknowledge that humanity is part of nature not apart from it.”
For his part, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, held that “The paper by the Blue Planet laureates will challenge governments and society as a whole to act to limit human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in order to ensure food, water energy and human security.”
He thanked Professor Watson and colleagues for eloquently articulating their vision on how key development challenges can be addressed, emphasising solutions; the policies, technologies and behaviour changes required to grow green economies, generate jobs and lift people out of poverty, without pushing the world through planetary boundaries.
The Blue Planet prize, an award presented to individuals or organisations worldwide in recognition of outstanding achievements in scientific research and its application that have helped provide solutions to global environmental problems, was established by the Asahi Glass Foundation in 1992, the year of the Rio Earth Summit.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ghana’s water coverage to hit 80% by 2015


The President of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, has expressed optimism that in view of the many interventions his government is making in the country’s water sector, coverage will increase by 18% in the next three years.
Delivering his 4th State of the Nation Address at Ghana’s Parliament House on Thursday, February 16, 2012, he said; “The many interventions that we have made are intended to ensure, that by 2015 we would have raised the current level of water from 62% to 80%.”
He listed some of the interventions made as, the Kpong Water Expansion Project, which is expected to add 40 million gallons of water daily to the Accra-Tema Metropolis when completed.
The President also stated that in fulfillment of the pledge of his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in its manifesto, to build and expand a number of water plants nationwide, many boreholes have been constructed.
“Since 2009, we have constructed hundreds of boreholes fitted with hand pumps, hand dug wells fitted with hand pumps and also piped water systems throughout the country. Several others have been rehabilitated,” he said, though he did not indicate how many in the past year or in what regions they have been constructed.
President Mills however disclosed that he has directed that 20,000 boreholes should be constructed in the country, though no details were given as to how the borehole construction is to be carried out nationwide and the number to be constructed per community, district or region.
“I have directed the Water Ministry to ensure that over the next four years at least we produce, we construct as many as 20,000 boreholes,” he said, adding, “The Government has absorbed the 5% contribution by rural communities towards the capital cost of constructing water in rural communities.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ghana Water Forum Committee holds inaugural meeting

The national committee constituted for this year’s Ghana Water Forum (GWF), has held its inaugural meeting in Accra, to plan the upcoming national forum tentatively fixed for September 2012.
The committee comprises over 25 representatives of water sector stakeholders, departments, agencies and organisations, who have been put in three major sub-committees - technical, publicity, sponsorship and procurement, formed for effective planning and execution of the annual forum.
Some of the organisations and agencies represented at the maiden meeting apart from the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing as well as the Water Directorate, were Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Ghana Urban Water Limited (GUWL), Ghana Watsan Journalists Network (GWJN) and Water Resources Institute (WRI).
Others were Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) formerly known as CREPA, World Vision International (WVI), Water Resources Commission (WRC) and International Resource Centre (RCN).
Deliberations during the inaugural meeting focused on a theme for the 4th in the series of the water fora which began in 2009, review of recommendations for the upcoming forum, responsibilities of the sub-committees, date, venue, sponsorship and budget among others.
In a short interview after the inaugural meeting, Chairman for the Committee, Mr. Harold Clottey, Deputy Director, Water Directorate, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, explained that the water forum is a forum where stakeholders in the water sector come to share ideas and formulate new ideas as to how to tackle issues concerning water supply and improve the delivery of water.
He said one of the areas the meeting deliberated on, was the issue of financing for the country’s water sector, which has seriously affected water delivery and supply.
“We are getting down to the real problem; that of sustainable financing that will make a real impact,” Mr. Clottey disclosed when asked how the upcoming forum will be different from the first three that have already been organised in the country over the past three years.
Expatiating on the reason for the new direction, he said; “The previous fora have concentrated on problems and problems and problems – now this is the time for us to act, we are going to address the issue.”
The next meeting of the committee will be held in the first week of March 2012.

GJA 2010 Award Winners

GJA 2010 Award Winners
Dzifa, Emelia and Gertrude

GJA 2011 Award Winners

GJA 2011 Award Winners
GWJN's 2011 GJA Award-Winning Team

New WASH-JN Executives

New WASH-JN Executives
They are from left - Edmund, Ghana, Aminata: Guinea, Alain: Benin, Paule: Senegal and Ousman: Niger

Celebrating Award

Celebrating Award
The benefits of Award Winning!

Hard Work Pays!

Hard Work Pays!
In a pose with my plaque