OdikaOdi enters Strategic Partnership with AYPAD across Africa

photo.phpThe Executive Director (ED) of OdikaOdi , Emmanuel Ugochukwu,was happy to announce yesterday  that after extensive talks with Mr Salis Bangs- International Executive Director of African Youth for Peace and Development – that the two organisations had entered into a strategic partnership to mutually promote and partner with each other in a number of projects -starting with the Africa Landmark Challenge- across Africa.

The African Youth for Peace and Development (AYPAD) is a non-governmental organisation operating across 30 African countries. They promote peace and development among young people across the African continent by engaging in community-enhancing projects. These have included environmental programmes such as tree planting, stream restoration and waste management. AYPAD has also been working on energy related projects since 2007. In 2008,They were the National Energy Globe winners for Sierra Leone for a project on Wireless Communication and Energy for Rural Communities, and received their award at the European Parliament in Brussels

Although their primary focus is to promote peace and development among young people across our continent and around the world by engaging in community-enhancing projects, conferences, workshops and training they also work to create a culture of peaceful exchange and to transform the lives of young people living in difficult circumstances ,these have included environmental programmes such as tree planting, stream restoration and waste management.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees Mr Nnamdi Chukwu – Founder and President of OdikaOdi-said that this was a very welcome development and looked forward to a long and productive partnership between OdikaOdi and AYPAD over the coming years.

OdikaOdi Caption Competition ! Win an ONYIX designed Polo

OKO here’s a spontaneous competition for our loyal readers out there. The person coming up with the most original caption / slogan about friendship  will win a free limited edition T-Shirt (Polo) designed by our young 9ja based design sensation ONYIX.
Write your caption on our Facebook page or as a comment on our website here and then you can in- email:odikaodi.info@gmail.com your details .

Competition will close 28.4.2015 (2300hr GMT) .Good luck!!! folks.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner speaking at the 25th Session of UN-Habitat Governing Council

By 2040 it is expected that cities worldwide will generate about 75 per cent of global GDP; will be home to around three quarters of the world’s population; and will require for their growth more than 75 per cent of total natural resources consumed world wide – in the form of energy, food and material.

And as voraciously as cities will continue to consume, they will just as readily produce – green-house gas emissions, and waste. On the other hand, sustainable cities present an opportunity to become centres of resource efficiency – people living in greater concentration means shorter travels, more efficient transportation and infrastructure, better land use and fewer emissions.

Therefore, there can be no question that without a commitment to transition to sustainable cities, there can be no sustainable development, and no means of effectively implementing a new climate change agreement.

One has to look no further than the 17 draft sustainable development goals to see how imperative the cultivation of sustainable urban centres is to healthy, peaceful and environmentally restored societies.

From ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; and the building of resilient infrastructure; to ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, it is clear that much of the sustainable development agenda centres on the urban-environment nexus.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is why UNEP and Habitat have sought to build on the successes of the Urban Environment Partnership Framework which guided our collaboration between 2008 and 2013, and to revitalise our cooperation with the Greener Cities Partnership, launched at the World Urban Forum in Colombia last year.

That partnership, which will guide our two agencies’ cooperation until 2016, draws on the strengths of each, to create new standards for the development of greener cities – that include best practices, and the delivery of joint advisory services to national and local governments.

The Greener Cities regional partnerships will be carried out in Africa – on waste management in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya – and through a series of joint trainings on urban environment issues in 10 African cities as part of the Africa-China collaboration.

In Asia we are developing proposals for ecosystem-based adaptation in large cities in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines and Sri Lanka; and in Latin America and the Caribbean we are preparing a regional plan of action, which will include macroeconomic policy environment and investments for transitioning to green cities; urban planning and design for resilient and resource efficient cities; sustainable transport and mobility; and integrated solid waste management. And in the Pacific we are developing a four-country project on ecosystem-based adaptation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

How and where we live, work, raise our children, care for our sick, and spend our free time does not – as we know – exist in an environmental vacuum. The relationship between production and consumption patterns in particular – and the environment – is an increasingly important one to the sustainability of our planet, and one that can be transformed by a transition to sustainable and green cities.

This was recognized at Rio+20 when countries formally adopted the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns, which aims to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards SCP patterns in both developed and developing countries.

I say this because The Greener Cities Partnership holds as one of its main objectives the creation of more resource efficient cities. And there is no time to waste, because our global consumption is already exceeding the Earth’s carrying capacity by around 50 per cent.

Much of our consumption and wasteful use of resources – be it water, land, biomass, energy or materials – is concentrated in cities and undermines the ability of societies worldwide to meet the growing demands of rising populations and to reduce the poverty gap.

According to the UN Development Programme, if production and consumption patterns continue in the current mode, the global Human Development Index will plummet by 8 per cent in the best case scenario and 15 per cent in the worst case scenario by the year 2050, with much higher losses for the poorest regions: regions in which the growing urban poor will likely suffer some of the greatest hardships.

The issue of food loss and waste is probably the most striking example of our dysfunctional production and consumption patterns. Industrialized regions are responsible for almost half of the total food wasted, around 300 million tonnes annually, because producers, retailers and consumers discard food that is still fit for consumption. This wasted food would be sufficient to feed the estimated 842 million undernourished people in the world today.

The good news is that a shift in attitude is taking place. On June 5th we will celebrate World Environment Day, the theme of which will be resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production in the context of the planet’s regenerative capacity, as captured in the slogan ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’.

The 2015 global World Environment Day celebrations will be organised at the world famous Universal Exhibition, in Milan – one of Europe’s most industrialised cities. The exhibition attracts over 20 million visitors. The chosen theme reflects the growing belief in the benefits offered by sustainable consumption and production models in terms of economic opportunities, inclusiveness, employment, resiliency and quality of life.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Along with sustainable consumption and production, the Greener Cities Partnership will focus its efforts on developing more sustainable transport, and of course, on improved waste and waste water management.

As many of you may be aware, the UN’s latest report on water revealed that only 20 per cent of global wastewater is currently being treated, leaving low-income countries hardest hit by contaminated water supplies and disease.

Once again, it is urban populations that are being hardest hit – populations that the report estimates will double in the next four decades. And with low-income countries possessing only 8 per cent of the required capacity to treat wastewater effectively, the damage being done to ecosystems and biodiversity are, as the report says ‘dire’, with wastewater imposing increasing threats to human health, economic activity, and water security.

With improved waste water management in urban centres much of this threat can be mitigated. The UNEP and Habitat Greener Cities Partnership is striving to contribute to this effort.

In October, last year, high level representatives of environment and transport ministries, assembled right here, in Gigiri, established the Africa Sustainable Transport Forum. UNEP hosts the Secretariat for this initiative and is working with UN Habitat on its implementation.

The initiative is already benefiting its city of birth – Nairobi. UNEP and UN Habitat are working with the municipal and country governments here to introduce mass transit systems, ensure that all urban roads have walking and cycling infrastructure, and to shift to a city model based on people mobility rather than individual car use. These goals are reflected in the visionary transport policy recently adopted by Nairobi.

Collaboration between UN-Habitat and UNEP goes beyond the Greener Cities Partnership, to a co-leading of the development of an SD goal on sustainable cities and human settlements – Goal 11 – with inputs from the UN system and other international organisations under the Open working Group on SDGs.

We also continue our joint work on the UN-Habitat led Cities and Climate Change Initiative which provides direct support to cities in dealing with climate change, as well as the UNEP-led Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities which focuses on the integration of resource efficiency in city development plans and the development of tools and indicators to measure the resource efficiency performance of cities.

Finally, we are collaborating in the field of green buildings for sustainable housing, where UN-Habitat participated in the UNEP-Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative Task Force on Greening the Building Sector Supply Chain, and served on the Sustainable Social Housing Initiative project steering committee with pilots in Bangladesh and India.

But no discussion of sustainable cities and the environment would be complete without reference to the green economy transition.

Cities drive innovation, business development, and job creation. Higher densities that characterise most cities can combine greater productivity and innovation with lower costs and reduced environmental impacts.

While the aggregate resource use of urban areas and their ecological impact is a source of major concern, some well-designed and governed cities are making progress in setting ambitious sustainability plans for well-being and economic and social development.

For example, in Lingköping, Sweden, public transport is fuelled by waste; in Chennai, India, rainwater is harvested to enhance the city’s water supply; in Cape Town, South Africa, low-income housing is being retro-fitted for energy efficiency; while Medellin, Colombia, is building social inclusion with cable cars and San Jose, in the United States created a 15-year plan to address climate change and promote economic growth while enhancing citizens’ quality of life, through ambitious and concrete targets.

UNEP believes that influencing consumption and production patterns at the local level – especially in cities – would have a significant impact at the global level, because resource efficiency facilitates the transition towards a green economy and global sustainable development.

In line with the Post 2015 Development Agenda, and the emerging Sustainable Development Goals, it is important that the urban agenda recognizes the environmental dimension as a key and integral element to successful urbanization.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, let me reiterate how important inter-agency cooperation between UNEP and UN-Habitat is. As I know my colleague Dr. Clos will agree, there is much the development agenda can gain from such collaboration.

The mainstreaming of the environmental perspective into urban policy-making and planning is well under-way and is something both agencies are championing. Similarly, UNEP is working to bring an urban lens to environmental policy development and a clearer understanding of resource use and consumption as a result of global urbanization.

At the inaugural session of United Nations Environment Assembly held last June, the linkages between cities and the environment were unmistakable. From air pollution, and sustainable consumption and production, to the green economy, and plastics and marine litter, the role that cities must play in the creation of an inclusive, green and sustainable future was made clear.

The COP21 to be held in Paris, and the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals are important milestones in this process, which will culminate in the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) to be held in 2016, in Quito, Ecuador.

Cities are the spring of creativity, innovation and trade – and it is cities that hold the key to a new sustainable millennium.

Colleagues I wish you all the success in your deliberations. Thank you.

The $40bn canal project dividing Nicaragua

Supporters say it could lift country out of poverty, but opponents point to potential for environment and rights abuses.

The tiny town of La Junta, located near Rivas in southwestern Nicaragua, is home to nearly 100 families, most of whom have farmed their land here for generations.

Soon that will change. The community will be swarming with construction workers, and if all goes to plan, cargo ships float over what used to be cow pastures in a few years.

La Junta will be one of the first towns demolished to make way for a 300km transoceanic canal that will bisect Nicaragua.

The project’s backer, Chinese telecommunications mogul Wang Jing, expects to complete the $40bn project within five years.

Canal supporters claim that the project could lift Nicaragua – the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti – out of poverty, but opponents point to the potential for environmental and human rights abuses.

Though La Junta and nearby towns have been surveyed for construction, no one has come to tell the residents where they will go when the canal comes.

The people in La Junta say they woke up one day to a fleet of police and Chinese engineers in their backyards.

We believe in development, but we don’t see how this is going to bring benefits to Nicaragua. We are a country based on the agrarian movement and this project will violate that.

Silvia Gutiérrez, Sandinista Renovation Movement politician

“They came and started taking measurements of everything,” said Jenny Gutiérrez, 33, a lifetime La Junta resident. “They didn’t say a word to anyone.”

In the last 450 years, this is the 73rd plan to build a canal through Nicaragua. For many, the waterway’s completion would fulfil a national dream.

Land expropriation

The government says that by 2018, the canal will pull 403,583 people from poverty and 353,935 people from extreme poverty, double the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and triple the employment rate.

Though the government has not cited a source for the oddly specific statistics, Nicaraguan officials maintain that the canal will bring benefits to the Central American nation.

“The canal will not pass through an area with intense agricultural activity, it will not pass through critical coffee growing or ranching zones,” Telemaco Talavera, the spokesman for the Nicaraguan government’s canal commission has said publicly.

“It will only affect a small part of the country and will reinvigorate the rest.”

It is not only the government that backs the canal. A CID-Gallup poll from September 2014 revealed that 41 percent of Nicaraguans support the canal and 21 percent are somewhat in favour.

The majority of supporters believe the canal will help the country financially, but 55 percent of respondents admitted that they know very little about the project. Even the Sandinista government sometimes seems confused about the canal’s details.

In a recent trip to Spain, Talavera implied that he was uncertain about the canal’s final route after a Nicaraguan student asked him to address complaints from the 60,000 people she claimed would be displaced.

Talavera refuted her numbers, but offered few facts to assuage her concerns.

“That means someone has the route more clearly defined than we do,” he said.

So far, there is no official tally of how many will be displaced by the canal. Based on the route released by the canal’s development company, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment (HKND), various groups estimate that anywhere from 29,000 to upwards of 60,000 people will need to relocate.

Where these people will be sent or how they will be compensated still remains unclear.

Fishermen cast their lines into the mouth of the Brito River, the future start point for Nicaragua’s planned transoceanic canal [Lindsay Fendt/Al Jazeera]

Nicaragua’s Law 840, passed in June 2013, grants HKND the right to expropriate land anywhere in Nicaragua.

The company is required to compensate residents the tax-assessed value of their land, but residents say this is usually lower than the market price.

Relocation has not been addressed, and even if residents are compensated fairly for their land, many of those in the canal zone are farmers and worry that they may have to give up their crops and livestock to live in a city.

A betrayal

“The canal isn’t going to help any of the poor people at all. The benefits will all go to the rich,” José Franciso Espinoza, a 43-year-old farmer, told me as he scooped clay from the Río Brito, near the canal’s destined start point, to build a wall on his farm.

“To build yourself a home here, it is hard. To build up a farm here, it takes a lifetime.”

For many of these small landowners – the poor campesinos that made up the base of support for Nicaragua’s socialist president, Daniel Ortega – the Sandinista’s decision to grant the canal concession was seen as a betrayal.

“Here, in the pueblo, we don’t see him as the president, we see Ortega as a dictator,” Jenny Gutiérrez told Al Jazeera.

“He’s in power now and doesn’t think about the poor people any more.”

These sentiments have spurred continued protests throughout Nicaragua, with the most violent unrest in El Tule, on Lake Nicaragua’s eastern side.

The protests come with support from Nicaragua’s opposition parties, which also do not support the canal project.

“We believe in development, but we don’t see how this is going to bring benefits to Nicaragua,” said Silvia Gutiérrez, a politician with the Sandinista Renovation Movement, a party founded by Sandinista dissidents.

“We are a country based on the agrarian movement and this project will violate that.” According to Gutiérrez, it will also violate constitutional rights of indigenous groups.

HKND has already confirmed that the canal will affect the protected Bangkukuk Rama indigenous community in Nicaragua’s east.

One of the only Rama-speaking communities remaining, Bangkukuk will be fragmented and at least part of the village’s people will need to relocate.

Forced relocation violates the protections given to the Rama territory in 2009, and though the group has been in near daily contact with HKND, an agreement has not been reached.

“Indigenous land has no value and cannot be sold by law so there is no requirement for the company to compensate or relocate the people,” Claus Kjaerby, the Central American representative for Danish NGO Forests of the World, told Al Jazeera.

Changed forever

Aside from being protected, the Rama territory is also located in one of the most biodiverse parts of Central America. The nearly untouched forest serves as an important biological corridor for migrating animals.

Based on the route announced by HKND, the canal will slice through more than 405 hectares of protected rainforest and wetlands as well as Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking water reservoir in Central America.

A family takes a swim in Lake Nicaragua. Once built, the transoceanic canal will run through the lake [Lindsay Fendt/Al Jazeera]

Despite the potential ecological damage from the project, HKND has yet to release environmental impact studies for the canal.

According to Axel Meyer, a German biologist with more than 30 years of fieldwork in Nicaragua, the canal project has the potential to drastically damage Nicaragua’s biodiversity.

Scientists with the Nicaragua Academy of Sciences are also concerned by the project, warning that dredging Lake Nicaragua could turn the lake into an aquatic dead zone. But without proper studies no one can be sure.

“One would hope they at least considered the environmental and social impact of this, but no study was ever published,” Meyer said.

“One thing is for sure, this would undoubtedly change Nicaragua forever.”

But back in La Junta, residents haven’t fully accepted these changes as inevitable. They still hold out hope that the canal will somehow bypass their small community.

“We’ve been here for generations and generations,” said 41-year-old La Junta resident Armando Ruíz.

“We are just trusting in the lord that it won’t end up passing through here.”

Source: Al Jazeera

New sweet potato varieties from Latin America to improve Pacific food security

New ‪#‎potato‬ and sweet potato varieties to improve ‪#‎Pacific‬ food security

“The fast-growing and early-maturing sweet potato varieties are an ideal crop in disaster rehabilitation efforts and food security programmes.” SPC Genetic Resources Coordinator, Valerie Tuia. CTA under the Intra ACP APP Project is collaborating with SPC-Secretariat-of-the-Pacific-Community, the Land Resources Division to support food and nutrition security projects across the region under its different components. ‪#‎INTRA_APP‬

Find out more on the SPC’s Media Release: http://ow.ly/L58mz