Sunday, January 30, 2011

Farmers are key to climate change but poor policy is locking them out

Scola Kamau in the East African (Kenya): According to the Worldwatch Institute, a New York-based environment research organisation, there is an urgent need for sweeping policy changes on the continent to combat worsening weather patterns. Africa’s major focus is on adaptation, ignoring other factors, hence the sluggish progress in combating climate change.

Tree planting is a preferred initiative with the recent heads of state proposal to plant a Great Green Wall 7,100 kilometres long and 15km wide through the Sahara from Senegal to Djibouti and the World Wide Billion Tree Planting Initiative, facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme. Launched in 2006, the latter saw more than 7.4 billion trees planted towards a target of 12 billion trees.

According to the 2011 State of the World Report by Worldwatch Institute, such initiatives only solve part of the problem. “Tree planting is important but the reality is that only 10 to 20 per cent of planted trees survive more than two to three years, particularly in dry conditions,” says the report.

According to the report, the continent needs substantial financial resources, information systems, technical capacity, the right policies and institutions to successfully address the challenges of adaptation to climate change.

These adaptation policies should also address gender, equity, capacity building and distribution issues and build on local knowledge and emerging research and technologies while supporting farmers to diversify and build resilience under institutional and climate uncertainty….

Members of Nyawadhogwe community group planting vetiver grass in Kenya, shot by treesftf (, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: