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East African Region Tipped on Water Projects Funding




Africa Development Bank remains committed to financially supporting regional member countries – partners in access to clean water.

Amandine Umukesha, Senior Water and Sanitation Expert at the African Development Bank (AfDB) – Rwanda Office said that at different scales, the Bank helps government institutions and the private sector by financing water related projects, and helps to invest in adaptation and resilience in a programmatic manner by supporting them to build their capacities to access climate finance, assisting in the process and sometimes applying on their behalf to increase the level of access.

Umukesha was on March 24, 2021 responding to a question on practical ways of increasing access to clean water to 2.2 billion people in need, an issue raised at WaterAid East Africa virtual expert panel to commemorate World Water Day 2021.

World Water Day brings attention to 2.2 billion people around the world who do not have a clean water source to rely on.

WaterAid East Africa’s theme was WASH at Crossroads: The nexus between climate change, hygiene and health. This theme anchored on the International World Water Day (WWD) 2021 theme “Valuing Water” and integrates WaterAid’s Global Advocacy Campaigns “Hygiene for Health” and “Water and Climate Change”.

In kickstarting the panel discussion, Maurice Kwizera, WaterAid Rwanda Country Director asked:

“How can we ensure that water availability and accessibility in Africa remains at the top of Africa’s development agenda especially during the recovery phrase of the pandemic an linked to hygiene and health we make it available and Africa’s top of agenda especially post Covid-19?”

In response to this demand Umukesha first highlighted that the pandemic has sharpened an already existing need to upgrade Africa’s water and sanitation infrastructure and to effectively manage water resources.

She proposed actions in addressing commonly shared regional challenges which include lack of infrastructure, funding and management strategy.

“The bank is ready to work with Development partners- WaterAid and others to improve, water, sanitation and hygiene delivery and water security. The level of funding will depend on what is needed on the ground and eligibility, but the bank is calling WaterAid to come around, so we can bring solutions to the people,” she said.

She however stated that there is a need to empathize with the reality of people affected by lack of water so that we bring real solutions forward and move away from discussions to actions.

“Leaders need to have a very good understanding of the Water situation, the large gaps in access, the disease burden and loss of lives due to lack of access; the importance of this sector for health and wellbeing, economy, agriculture and food security, ability to fight pandemics; and more. They have to make evidence-based decisions about water and cooperate to strengthen the sector and need to have clear road map to achieve access to clean water,” Umukesha said.

Using an example in Rwanda where the Bank is supporting the government through projects implemented by WASAC to bridge the infrastructure gaps but sometimes retarded by climate related disasters, Umukesha called on regional countries and partners in the sector to ensure designing and implementing projects taking into consideration climate variabilities by implementing specific measures of adaptation and mitigation to achieve targeted results and reduce the cost effects therein.

For this to happen, panelists agreed that it has to focus on gender equity, engaging youth, promote innovation and partnership, increasing finance, and community involvement in monitoring and management of water resources, water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs.

Christopher Tumwine, Community WASH Volunteer, Weyonje Campaign, in Uganda said that since childhood people have been taught how to wash hands, but this dies out in time yet if policy makers had emphasized it, the world would have a chance to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic which requires hygiene as a safety measure.

“Policy makers should redirect youth innovation towards WASH and Climate Change mitigation practices because youth are most energetic, innovative and have time to make enough impact,” Tumwiine said.

Adekemi Ndieli, UN Women Deputy Country Representative Uganda said that women and girls are disproportionately affected by water and sanitation issues as well as climate change issues.

Access to water is a human rights issues, all development actors should put measures in place to ensure fulfilment of this right. She noted that about 80% of households without access to clean water, depend on women and girls to collect water. When talking about water, we must go beyond youth to include gender lenses.

Olutayo Bankole-Balawole, WaterAid Regional Director (East Africa Region) said that right at the centre of any intervention is the young people and women driving the catalytic change we want to see. She added that we cannot stop innovating, we have to consistently challenge ourselves as a team and come together to partner, integrate and scale up innovations and build on lessons learnt around WASH and climate change, hygiene and health.

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DRC’s Conservation Chief Resigns From ICCN



Reports reaching Taarifa confirm that Cosma Wilungula, Director General of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) temporarily suspended by his supervisory authority, has just resigned from his post.

In a correspondence which he addressed respectively to the President and to the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Wilungula said his decision to resign was triggered by an unhealthy climate which has developed between him and his supervisers saying makes it impossible for him to serve his country.

“I note that by this unhealthy climate which is developing between this ministerial authority towards myself, I can no longer continue to serve my country in this post for the time being. That’s why, I personally judged to present my resignation to you as CEO of ICCN ”, he explained his decision.

Wilungula also returned to the accusations against him which earned him the preventive suspension.

“The serious breaches of regulatory duties and mismanagement are in no way justified because, in fact, during my mandate I have never been the subject of disciplinary action, let alone any disciplinary sanction whatsoever”, he noted.

In his letter of resignation, the director general still praises his sixteen years of management of this public establishment.

“I left the ICCN at the level where, despite sporadic state subsidies, but with the tireless support of partners, under my aegis, we achieved several records that there is no need for everything indicate here, but including the most recent for illustration, the electrification of a large part of the province of North Kivu, by the creation of four hydroelectric power stations and the removal of the Salonga National Park from the world heritage list in danger,” he said.

A few days ago, Eve Bazaiba, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, set up a joint commission to rule on the case of Cosma Wilungula, and later suspended him.

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Ecological Governance Boosts Fight Against Climate Change



The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I report, “Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis”, which was released on Aug 9, is the most authoritative study on climate change, and will help improve global environmental governance and prompt countries to negotiate climate treaties.

The IPCC report is expected to be high on the agenda of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in October-November.

Compared with the previous IPCC reports, the latest one emphasises that many of the impacts of human activities on climate change are irreversible, indicating that the global fight against climate change needs to be strengthened to prevent further damage to the environment.

Natural disasters and extreme weather events such as cyclones, unusually heavy downpours, record high temperatures and uncontrollable forest fires have become more frequent in recent years due to climate change.

To combat climate change, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Fiji and other economies have enacted climate change policies and set specific carbon emission targets.

On Sept 22, 2020, while addressing the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping said China will increase its nationally determined contributions (which according to the Paris Agreement embody a country’s efforts to reduce national emissions and adapt to climate change), and take measures to ensure its carbon emissions peak before 2030 and realise carbon neutrality before 2060.

Compared with other countries, China’s intervening period between peak emissions and carbon neutrality is shorter. So China has to make arduous efforts to achieve the two goals.

China has included the two goals into national development plans and policy documents, such as the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035; the Guiding Opinions on the Coordination and Strengthening of the Work related to Climate Change and Ecological Environment Protection; and the Notice on Implementing Pilot Environmental Impact Assessment of Carbon Emission of Construction Projects in Key Industries issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Also, some provinces have worked out road maps and action plans for reducing emissions. For example, Zhejiang province has devised a peak carbon neutralisation scientific and technological innovation action plan, Hebei province has worked out a plan called “Measures for Coordinating and Strengthening Work Related to Climate Change and Ecological Environment Protection”, and Chongqing municipality has made carbon emissions a part of the environmental impact evaluation and included it in the criteria to grant pollution discharge permits.

China’s national carbon emissions trading system, which officially started operations on July 16, has the potential to play a key role in achieving China’s long-term climate goals-of peaking emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060.

Under the guidance of the government, Chinese companies are making greater efforts to reduce emissions, with many companies in the energy generating and household appliance manufacturing sectors working out their road maps to achieve their respective targets of carbon neutrality.

And many retail companies and other organisations have introduced incentive plans to motivate consumers to buy energy-saving and low-carbon products to boost green consumption and encourage a low-carbon lifestyle.

All this in order to help the country achieve its climate targets as soon as possible.

To achieve “net-zero emissions”, however, China will need to undergo a profound economic and social transformation. And to choose the right path to carbon neutrality, China should reform key industries such as energy, transportation and construction, modify the production and consumption structure, and upgrade the technological standards.

As for specific measures, the role of the economy and the rule of law should be given full play by, for instance, improving laws, standard systems and government supervision, strengthening the market mechanisms including the green certificates and carbon emissions trading systems, and increasing publicity and education.

To better tackle climate change, we need the joint efforts of governments, NGOs, businesses, and people around the world. However, due to their different interests, political systems and technology development levels, many countries have not taken adequate, effective measures to combat climate change.

As Inger Anderson, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said at a news conference on Aug 9, only 110 of the 191 signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have submitted new or updated nationally determined contributions ahead of the Glasgow climate conference.

In addition, exchanges and cooperation among countries in terms of funding, technology and human resources related to climate change also need to be strengthened to boost the global fight against climate change.


Yue Xiaohua is an associate professor at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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Kenya’s Snake-Eagle Fight Ends Bitterly



In Kenya, a fight involving a snake and an eagle has ended bitterly with a government employee injured and fighting for his dear life.

According to a local publication The citizen, a struggle involving an eagle and a snake that eventually landed on the car of a Kitui County government employee minding his own business has left many tongues wagging.

David Musyoka, a driver attached to the county government said that he was driving towards Mwingi town when a snake freed itself from the talons of an eagle and dropped on top of his car.

According to Musyoka, before he could do anything, the snake found its way inside the car and bit his left arm.

He immediately stopped the car and jumped out with the snake still hanging onto his arm and called for help.

Nearby residents of Kwa Mbungu market rushed to his rescue and killed the snake then gave him first aid.

However, in a shocking turn of events, the residents said the eagle emerged out of nowhere again and picked the dead snake right back up and flew away with it.

The management of Mwingi Level IV Hospital, where Musyoka was admitted, has since said the snake bite has been fully treated and the patient is recuperating well.

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