The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday that four of Kenya’s most influential leaders are due to face trial on the charges of helping orchestrate the violence which killed more then 1000 people in the aftermath of the disputed 2007 presidential election. Two of the four men accused are this year’s presidential candidates: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Education Minister William Ruto.
At 2 am on the 2nd of November 2011, Sasha Hank set off on her final ascent to Lenana Point, the peak of Mount Kenya. In the darkness, she trekked through rock, sand and snow before she made it to Lenana Point – sitting 4,985m (16,355 ft) above sea level. Sasha and her companions reveled in their triumph as they sat among the clouds on the third highest peak of the tallest mountain in Kenya. Her accomplishments extended beyond the mountain for Sasha’s trek was one of dedication and commitment to the Green Belt Movement (GBM).
Late in December 2011 Edward Wageni presented a paper on the Green Belt Movement’s (GBM) grassroots experiences on sustainable development, agriculture and food security in a seminar hosted under the auspices of World Bank Development Leadership programme. The programme is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills to enhance sustainable development.
The UN climate change talks ended over a week ago in Durban. The talks over ran by 36 hours as governments struggled to find agreement. Many NGOs, including the Green Belt Movement, condemned the talks as too little too late to stop catastrophic climate change. According to science we are still on track to experience over 4 degrees increase in temperature which will be devastating for much of Africa. The deal done in Durban falls short of creating a mandate for emission cuts that is ambitious enough and also means the next commitment period will only come into force possibly in 2020. Countries including the US, Canada, China, New Zealand, Poland and India received Fossils for their poor performance in weakening the potential deal.
Prior to and during the recently concluded COP17, I attended many meetings on women, gender and climate change. Following climate change debates and getting a handle on all the players and issues involved in this complex topic is quite daunting. One of the issues still debated is a conceptual one; whether discussions should focus on women and climate change or gender and climate change. Both would take their place in climate change discussions, but they would require different approaches.
It is 5:30 pm in Durban on 6th of December 2011, the 9th Day of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP 7) to the Kyoto Protocol. The High-level segment has started and I am sitting watching the big screens in the second row in the King Protea Plenary hall, which is an overflow area from the main plenary hall- the Baobab hall. I am in the midst of the COP17 negotiations. Since I arrived in Durban for COP17 every morning I have taken a 25 minute bus ride from Umhlanga up the coast on the Indian Ocean, to the conference centre the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). At the start of the day I am very keen to get a copy of the daily programme to familiarize myself with the happenings of the day and a few documents highlighting the previous day's negotiation sessions. I am often torn between what events to attend as there is so much going on in various locations both inside the ICC and beyond and my day is spent attending negotiation meetings, that are open to observers and NGOs, attending official side events and press briefings. It is important to be up to speed with the current status of the climate change negotiations.
The support of SMART Agriculture and forests at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South African, in order to promote eucalyptus in the water catchment areas is of great concern to the Green Belt Movement (GBM).
The Green Belt Movement delegation has been in Durban attending the COP 17 for the past one week. Unfortunately, there has not been much progress at the negotiation front. We have been anxiously watching as the world leaders have started to arrive – hopefully to help resolve the outstanding issues, that include the post Kyoto Protocol commitments which expires in 2012 and the Green Carbon Fund, among others such as the issues related to equity, intellectual property technology transfer (IPRs) and trade.
A presentation at the climate change talks in Durban by GBM focused on our efforts to rehabilitate the Aberdares and Mt. Kenya water towers in Kenya. Senior project officer, Mercy Karunditu, highlighted the great importance of mobilizing community consciousness and action towards community-led adaptation and mitigation activities.
Last week the Green Belt Movement (GBM) and GBM’s technical partners Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) hosted panel discussion on the impact climate finance projects from a grassroots perspective.